Ad Clerum 2/14

May 2014

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Ad Clerum
Easter Number 2/14

The celebration of Easter has been a joyous and fulfilling experience for us all. It
is a good thing to be utterly exhausted, but with a real sense of spiritual
accomplishment!

I would like to take this opportunity to thank you all for the intense and focussed
effort put into a successful Lent and a glorious Easter in your respective parishes.
Well done indeed! Your people have been blessed in the fine services that they
have received from you. You truly are faithful servants of Our Lord Jesus Christ.

I was most encouraged by the news out of our parishes and asked if any of you
had taken any photos of your Easter experiences. Here are a few for your
interest.

Palm Sunday, Maundy Thursday, Good Friday and Easter

The wonderful procession through Seshego by the people of All Saints Pro-Cathedral;
Note the traffic control by Palm Branch!




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A parishioner admires the Palm Sunday décor at St John the Evangelist, Soweto

Maundy Thursday
Christ Church, Brackenfell is a lively and growing parish. On Palm Sunday, the people of
the parish walked together from the local shopping centre to the church, letting the whole
community know of their presence as a Christian community.


The beautiful altar for Maundy Thursday at Christ Church, Brackenfell, Cape Town. The
jug and bowl for the Foot Washing Ceremony can be seen in the foreground.

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The Blessing of the Oils and Renewal of Priestly Vows took place at Holy Cross,
Pretoria. Many clergy attended and I thank you all for the messages sent from the far-
flung parts of the Diocese. We were able to pray for all our brethren not able to be with
us for the service that day. Holy Oils for Unction are available to all the clergy. Please
ensure that your stock is renewed. There is plenty for all.




Good Friday
Meaningful services, vigils and presentations took place throughout Southern Africa. Fr
Lionel Kuiper sent me the script of his well-prepared and moving addresses, whilst I
received reports of excellent services, with many of the faithful attending.

The lovely tableau for Good Friday at St Andrews, Mondeor, Johannesburg, showing
Pilate’s judgement seat in the foreground, the Last Supper in the background. It is
exciting to see God’s people being so creative in their churches.

Diocesan News:
Fr Mike Maseko has not been well and needs the prayers of the Diocese.
The recent operation on Fr Martin Magoleng’s eye has been successful, and he
has expressed gratitude for the prayers and support from people in the Diocese.
Fr Lionel Kuiper would be grateful for your continued prayers for his health.
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R.I.P The Rev Fr Phuti Joconiah Thopola (05/05/1932 to 10/05/2014)



Fr Joconiah Thopola in his beloved church, St Matthews, Hammanskraal, 2008


Fr Thopola has been a wonderful and innovative Priest. His work in the area of
Hammanskraal, North of Pretoria was energetic and innovative. His parish of St
Matthew’s was founded in two old busses welded together by Fr Thopola himself,
and his crèche and feeding scheme brought great relief to many in Mandela
Village, Hammanskraal. He had a great love of music and was a deeply spiritual
man of God.
In 2010, a fire devastated the St Matthews complex, and destroyed almost all of
Fr Thopola’s hard work. The fire damaged his already frail health, and he never
fully recovered from the shock of this event.
Fr Joconiah Thopola died peacefully on 10
th
May 2014.
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The St Matthew’s Centre Fr Thopola, Fr Mashiane and Fr Magoleng
survey the fire damage in 2010


Fr Thopola’s funeral was a wonderful proclamation of hope and love.


Many of his brother clergy attended Part of the large congregation





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Confirmation at St Martin de Porres, Ekangala took place on the Sunday after
Easter. The parish is showing real growth and Fr Sekoba is to be commended on
his work there. This vibrant and dedicated community will soon have to move into
larger premises.


Holy Baptism at Ekangala The group confirmed at St Martin de Porres

Project Soweto: St John the Evangelist.
This very exciting project is now ‘up and running’ in Protea Glen, Soweto.
Fr Edom has had a month of services and the people were able enjoy a full Holy
Week schedule. 30 people attended the first service and the numbers are
steadily increasing; there were 50 on Good Friday! Please pray for this new
parish and its success.


The inaugural service at St John the Evangelist, Soweto

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Some images of Holy Week at St John the Evangelist

Farewell to Fr Allen Smith.
After 13 years of diligent and highly successful ministry to the people of St
Andrew’s, Mondeor, in the Southern area of Johannesburg, Fr Allen Smith is
returning to England to retire. The parish held a series of farewell functions in
gratitude for his fine service to the church. We wish him and Sue every blessing
and know that they will continue to be a strong Christian presence wherever they
are found.
Fr Allen was a part of the parish from its time in a school hall until the present,
where the parish now has a beautiful and fully paid off building. Fr Allen has
exercised a caring pastoral ministry, has remained faithful to his calling, and he
can look back with satisfaction on a work of the Gospel that has borne its fruit,
even during his lifetime. From a small group of enthusiastic people, the parish
has developed into a dynamic Christian community, with good music, a
flourishing Youth Group and full participation from the laity.
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St Andrew’s is a truly ‘new South African’ parish, and the harmony and love
between members is an inspiring witness in the community.
Fr Allen can be truly satisfied with what has been achieved in Jesus Christ’s
Name. He has been a good and faithful servant of the Lord.
Please keep Fr Allen and Sue in your prayers as they relocate to England.


Easter at St Andrews – Fr Allen Smith’s last service with the parish


Church Warden Ross Shepstone thanks Fr Allen and Sue Smith for their fine work at St
Andrews, Mondeor.




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The Christian Priest and the path to holiness

The call to a holy life is basic to Christian living, and the development of a godly
and holy lifestyle is the responsibility of every individual Christian person, young
or old.


For the Christian Priest, a life of personal holiness and piety is absolutely
essential, as he is called to be the focal point of the worshipping community and
a living example to the Flock of Christ. Words spoken from the pulpit can have no
integrity without an accompanying lifestyle that compliments his Priestly ministry.
The Priest has the unenviable task of proving to the People of God that a godly
and holy life is within their reach. Perhaps that is why it is so difficult for clergy to
attain, for every Christian Priest that determinedly follows a holy life will certainly
find his efforts and his witness under attack from the evil one. The ‘world, the
flesh and the devil’ do not like to be put to shame by a godly and holy Priest!

Personal holiness is hard for any person to attain, given the stresses and strains
of daily life, but for the Christian Priest, it becomes an integral part of the daily
proclamation of the truth of his calling and so he may not fail. To be the image of
Christ at the Altar of the Lord requires a clarity of vision, a certainty of faith and a
visible holiness that can come only from the power of the Holy Ghost.

The path to holiness is a lonely one, for the ‘man of the world’ has no real interest
in either spiritual life or its accompanying values. Every person in the working
world is called to compromise at some level, and compromise is the enemy of
holiness. God’s holiness is something absolutely ‘other’ from our daily life, and
the Christian Priest is called to show his people that focus on God’s high
standards can and will make a difference for the good in ordinary daily living.

The ‘ordinary’ man or woman faces enormous difficulties in walking the path of
holiness. The pressures of family life and work mean that limited time is available
for deep contemplation on the things of God. The possibility of failure is always
present and its accompanying sense of guilt can demotivate and hinder their life
of faith. The example of a godly and holy Priest is a life-line to the person seeking
faith and meaning; an attainable level that he or she can see, and then hopefully
reach within their own faith experience day by day.
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So…how can I, the Christian Priest, attain holiness? There is only one answer,
and that by fully immersing oneself in the life of Jesus Christ, His methods and
His high standards. What was His method? It was the skill of being comfortably
alone with the Father. Jesus built into His whole experience of life a sense of
oneness with the Father that was intensely intimate, personal and open. His
conversation with the Father in Gethsemane, recorded in the Gospels, is utterly
open and personal; his confrontation of evil and temptation in the wilderness was
directly in accordance with the Word of his Father and the result of His oneness
with the Father through solitary fasting and prayer.

As social beings, we can say that we are comfortable with aloneness, but at the
same time we also crave acceptance and popularity. Christian Priests are no
different from other men in this regard. Perhaps our character type as pastoral
beings means that acceptance and popularity are more important to us than we
care to admit? There lies our greatest danger in the quest for holiness; and there
are the very temptations confronted and defeated by Jesus in the wilderness
during His Temptation. Many televangelists have indeed cast themselves down
from the spires of the Temple or endeavoured to turn loaves into bread in order
to fill their vast churches or TV ratings. Their fall has been inevitably spectacular.
Modernity and its trappings hold grave dangers for us; Social Networks and
communication can consume our time and our quietness; we must be careful
with our souls.

Brothers, hours spent in prayer before the Blessed Sacrament, searching the
Holy Scriptures, or contemplating the Love of God in deep prayer are never
wasted, but are, in reality moments well-spent. Solitude with God cannot be time
wasted; it is the development of our deep and lasting relationship with the One
we serve and seek to emulate in our life of ministry. Solitude with Our Lord is our
spiritual life-line as we give of ourselves in ministry. How can we speak of Him
we do not know as a true Friend and Brother? How can we follow in His holy
steps if we are ‘texting while we walk’? We will stand before the Judge of all men
and be measured, not by the hits on our websites, or our popularity in the
community, but rather by the quality of our life of faith. The Psalmist says, “The
Lord shall reward me after my righteous dealings, and according to the
cleanness of my hands, will he recompense me” (Ps18:20)… yes, I will be
rewarded according to the holiness (or cleanness) of my life.

Dedicate yourself afresh to that great quest, the quest for holiness, godliness and
goodness, as we did together on Maundy Thursday. You will then be the Priest of
God you have always ached to be…dedicated, disciplined, upright and.…..holy.

God bless and keep you.

In Christ
Bishop Michael
Southern Africa

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