Bishop Sipuka’s Address: Plenary, August 2021

On the first day of the Plenary meeting the president of SACBC Bishop Sipuka thanked the Apostolic Nuncio, Archbishop Peter Wells for conveying to the Holy Father the disturbing and life-threatening situations in the two Conference countries, eSwatini and South Africa, and the Holy Father’s subsequent message calling for peaceful collaboration in resolving these problems. Bishop Sipuka also welcomed and congratulated everyone in the SACBC in their new different capacities, this includes the new archbishops and bishops who have recently been appointed and took over their dioceses. The gratitude was also extended to the retired bishops.

Bishop Sipuka also noted the loss of a number of artists this year in South Africa, Sibongile Khumalo, Jonas Gwanga, Tsepo Tsola, Steve Kekana and recently a film producer Shona Ferguson. These artists with their gifts of singing and creativity helped us to give expression to our human emotions of joy and sorrow.

He also thanked the various departments of the Conference for the work that they have been able to do in these constraining circumstances of Covid-19. In particular the Denis Hurley Peace institute with the updates on the developments in Capo Delgado in Mozambique regarding political and social instability in that country. 

The Bishop said the plenary meeting is taking place in the context of unrelenting attack of Covid-19 infections, increasing unemployment, social destabilisation in South Africa and political revolution in eSwatini. Luckily, in Botswana there appears to be no crisis of pronounced nature yet.   On the side of the Church, its life and work has been going on but hampered by the situation of Covid-19.

He thanked all the Catholics in Southern Africa for keeping the faith during these difficult times, making use of possible means to keep personal relationship with God and the mission of the Church going. But Bishop Sipuka warned that people must not be totally content because he believes some Catholics so enjoy sleeping late on Sundays when Churches are shut that even when there is reprieve to go to Church they continue to sleep, under the guise of fearing to catch Covid-19, yet they go to malls and other gatherings.

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