The great event immediately after the last Newsletter was surely the Lay Leaders Conference of the Archdiocese of Johannesburg. On Saturday 29th, with Bishop Jan DeGroef, M.Afr. (Bishop of Bethlehem in the Free State), we met more than 300 lay people from all the parishes of the Archdiocese. We had one hour and a half to explain the missionary activity of the Church. “The Church, by her very nature, is missionary” (Vatican 2, On the Missionary Activity of the Church, 2). With a PowerPoint Presentation and a talk and a song, we try to show that it is not the Church who has a Mission, but it is the Mission of Christ which has a Church! Dillon Naicker, a young member of our Missionary Group gave a very powerful testimony of his conversion and how he became a missionary in working full time in Youth Ministry. He wanted to become a famous actor – he did it for a short while, appearing in the weekly soap Isidingo – then as he said, “the Lord came to pick me up from my miserable life… One day, when I saw the word MISSIONARY on the calendar of the Missionaries of Africa, I knew I had to become a missionary.” He is now a real missionary working full time at the Youth Office of Johannesburg Archdiocese. Our two Congolese candidates have arrived via Durban on Sunday 30th! Finally, they got their students’ visa! At the moment, they are 31 theology students. They are the most numerous of all the congregations studying at St. Joseph Theological Institute in Cedara. They are from seventeen countries, but so far none from South Africa! We still pray and hope that some generous young men will soon join us! On the same day, Sunday 30th, a group of almost twenty youths took part in the Vocation Discernment Day at the Cathedral. It was a lively group really eager to discover their vocation according to God’s will.
The greatest event in South Africa this month was surely the beatification of Benedict Daswa. I am sure you all know about his life, how he was a strong Catholic Christian, always helping the poor and the children of his school – he was the headmaster – and how he was killed by a mob because he had refused to pay R5 to help hire a sangoma in order to find the culprit who, the people said, had sent lightnings to burn some houses in the village. From Sunday 13th September 2015, we can pray Blessed Daswa to intercede for us to God. He can surely help us to follow his great example by giving our lives totally to God. Many newspapers, radio and television stations covered the event. Benedict was a young man of our time (43 years old): he died 25 years ago, not 200 or 300 years ago! And he is one of us, a real South African! Let us be proud of being Catholic and South African!
October is MISSION MONTH. We all are called to be Missionaries. The theme chosen by Pope Francis is “A PASSION FOR JESUS AND HIS PEOLPE”. As you know, our Pope often challenges us to go out to the peripheries and proclaim the Good News of Jesus to those who are far. Let us pray and reach out to others this coming month in order to live better our missionary vocation. Let us also pray for Pope Francis who is on a very important missionary journey in the USA, so that his message of peace and joy may be well received by the American people and by all the people of good will.
Fr. Michael Meunier, M.Afr