SACBC Plenary day five

Reports on Saturday 22 January 2022 in the Plenary Meeting of the SACBC were given by the SACBC department of finance, communication office as well as the department of Christian formation and the department of formation, life, and apostolate of the laity.

The report from Finance department, headed by Bishop Peter Holiday of Kroonstad, covered a review of the Catholic Seminaries Fund and a report on the Roman Catholic Ecclesiastical Trust. That was followed by a review of the Lenten Appeal and the SACBC Foundation. The SACBC audited report was also presented together with the SACBC Aids Office’s report. There was also a budget presentation of the seminaries together with the ones for SACBC and Trusts and SACBC Offices.

That report was followed by the one from Communication Office, headed by Archbishop Buti Tlhagale, the Archbishop of Johannesburg. The Department of Christian formation whose liason bishop is Bishop Duncan Tsoke of Kimberly followed next. From this department Bishop Edward Risi, Bishop of Keimos, spoke about some of the liturgical practices that have raised some questions and have been brought to the attention of the conference, in particular a blessing at the time of Holy Communion and the question of the proper order of vesting for Mass. There was also a discussion about communion under both kinds at this present moment and also talked about ministries of lector, acolyte and catechists. In all these matters the decisions will be made known in due time. From the same department there was a presentation on Ubungoma Research by Fr. Thulani Skhosana. He stated that the rational for this is that many Catholics, including some priests and religious, are initiated into ubungoma, with some of them actively operating as fully-fledged instruments of ubungoma. Other Catholics, though not initiated into ubungoma, fully embrace it as part of their life-style. And so, it was concluded that this state of affairs is a rationale behind this necessary move toward an in-depth research.

Anne Baker of the Catholic Institute of Education made a presentation at the plenary. She said the Catholic schools are possibly the last visible public ministry in South Africa. Currently there are 325 catholic schools with over 172 000 learners. She noted that it’s a blessing for Catholics to be part of the largest education network in the world with some 220 000 schools with 62 million children and 6 million students in Catholic universities. She also spoke about the impact Covid-19 has had on schools and the matric results of 2021 where catholic schools are in total 6% above national average. The pass rate of catholic schools at matric in 2021 is 85.9. Anne Baker is concerned that Catholic Schools is Southern Africa are not being built anymore.

The afternoon session was taken by the department of formation, life, and apostolate of the laity to report and lay out their plan for the new year. This is the department responsible for the youth ministry together with marriage and family life and other groups like sodalities, associations and lay movements. It became clear from the discussions that there is a desire from both the bishops and department to regroup the youth in the Church who like many other social structures were interrupted by the covid-19 disruptions.

There are no plenary session on Sunday, the sessions will resume on Monday and the plenary comes to a close on Tuesday 26 January 2022.



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