Bishop F. F. de GouveiaBishop writes...

Oudtshoorn, April 2017

Pastorale Brief oor Roepinge 2017
Vocations Pastoral Letter 2017


Liewe Susters en Broers in die Verrese Here,

Vir vanjaar se Wêreld Biddag vir Roepinge vra pous Franciscus ons om sendelinge te word. "Alle Christene word daartoe geroep om sendelinge van die Evangelie te word!" Hy sê verder dat ons Christelike verbintenis tot sending nie 'n las is wat by ons geloof gevoeg word nie. Die Doop maak van elke Christen 'n "Christoforus, 'n draer van Christus na sy broers en susters toe." By die beëindiging van die Heilige Mis stuur die priester ons weg met dié woorde: Gaan in vrede en verheerlik die Here met u lewe. Dit is wat dit beteken om gestuur te wees, om op sending te gaan.

Die pous sê daar is drie dinge omtrent sending wat 'n mens in  gedagte moet hou. Eerstens is Jesus deur die Heilige Gees gesalf en toe uitgestuur. Dit is liefde vir Jesus wat die Christen, wat ook gesalf is, aanvuur om aktief deel te neem aan Christus se sending. Net soos Christus, word elkeen van ons uitgestuur. As ons Hom liefhet, aanvaar ons sy sending blymoedig.

Tweedens sal Christus elke tree van die pad by ons wees. Christus sal ons te hulp snel net soos Hy die dissipels op pad na Emmaus bygestaan het in al ons oomblikke van vertwyfeling, swakheid en hulpeloosheid.

En derdens sal God ons ondersteun met sy onvermoeibare innerlike krag wanneer ons as sy sendelinge die Evangelie verkondig, maak nie saak hoe klein, ongesiens of onbeduidend dit mag voorkom nie.

In die Bisdom Oudtshoorn sien ons die vrug van die sending aktiwiteite in ons kinders en die jeug wat die jeugkampe bywoon. Hulle is bereid om die ekstra myl af te lê deur hul studie van die liturgie en die aanleer van 'n musiek instrument. 

Nog 'n voorbeeld van sendelinge in aksie is diegene op die Bisdomlike Kategese span en die kategete in ons parogies. Hulle reik uit na almal in ons bisdom en bied opleiding en geestelike ontwikkeling aan ons kategete. 

Die kore en musiekgroepe in ons verskillende parogies, met hul liefde vir die gewyde musiek en sang besiel ons liturgieë en weet hoe om ons in tye van smart by te staan en help ons om met vreugde die geheimenisse van ons geloof te vier. Deur hul bediening word die kerk op aarde en in die hemel in sang en lofprysing verenig. 

Hierdie is maar drie voorbeelde van sending aktiwiteite in ons Bisdom. Ons moet onsself egter ook afvra: Het ons dieselfde sin vir sending as dit kom om God te vra  vir priesterlike en religieuse roepinge en om onsself te gee aan dié sendingtaak? Ons Bisdom het net een seminaris! En dan het die Oratorium ook een. Beteken dit dat die harte van die gedooptes in ons Bisdom geslote is vir die Here se roepstem? 

Ek vra dat alle gedooptes in ons Bisdom dié kwessie vir die jaar wat voorlê sal opneem en vir roepinge sal bid. Bid tuis in die hart van die gesin, bid in die groepe waaraan u behoort, bid in die parogie vir roepinge. Bid dat God ons harte sal aanraak om net so vrygewig soos Maria, ons Moeder te wees, "laat dit met my gaan volgens u woord." 

Die uwe in Christus se sending.

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Dear Sisters and Brothers in the Risen Lord,

For this year’s World Day of Prayer for Vocations, Pope Francis asks us to be missionaries. “All Christians are called to be missionaries of the Gospel!”  He says that our Christian commitment to mission is not an added burden to our faith. Baptism makes every Christian a “Christopher, a bearer of Christ, to his brothers and sisters.” At the end of Mass, the priest sends us away with these words: Go in peace, glorifying the Lord with your life. This is what it means to be sent, to be on mission.

There are three things to remember, the pope says, about being on mission. Firstly, Jesus is anointed by the Holy Spirit and is sent. Love for Jesus urges the Christian, who is also anointed, to become an active sharer in the mission of Christ. Like Christ, each one of us is sent. If we love him, we gladly take on his mission. 

Secondly, Christ will be at our side every step of the way. In moments of bewilderment, inadequacy and hopelessness, Christ will come to our assistance as He did for the disciples on the road of Emmaus. 

And thirdly, when we proclaim the Gospel as His missionaries, no matter how small, unseen and at times insignificant it may be, God will support that proclamation with his own tireless activity in us.  In the Diocese of Oudtshoorn we see the fruit of the missionary activities of our children and youth who attend the youth camps. They are prepared to walk the extra mile by studying the liturgy and learning to play a musical instrument. 

Those on the Diocesan Catechetical Team and the catechism teachers in our parishes are another example of missionaries in action. They reach out to all in our diocese to work with catechism teachers, providing training and spiritual upbuilding. 

Choirs and music groups in the different parishes, with their love of sacred music and song inspire our liturgies, and know how to sustain us in in times of sorrow, how to rejoice with us celebrating the mysteries of the faith. Their ministry unites the church on earth and in heaven in song and praise. 

These are only three examples of missionary activity in the Diocese.  Yet, one has to ask: do we have the same missionary sense to ask God for priestly and religious vocations and to give ourselves to that missionary task? There is only one seminarian for the Diocese!  and one for the Oratory. Does that mean the hearts of the baptized in our Diocese are closed to the calling of the Lord? 

I ask that all the baptized in our diocese take up this concern for the year ahead: pray for vocations. Pray at home in the heart of the family, pray in the groups you belong to, pray in the parish.   Pray that God may touch our hearts to be generous to say, like Mary our Mother, “let it be done to me according to his word.”

Yours in the mission of Christ!

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