Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Pray for Zimbabwe - Referendum

On 16 March the people of Zimbabwe will be voting - a referendum vote - concerning the the newly revised constitution of the nation. Let us pray for a successful referendum.May the Lord be with the people and may there be an environment of peace throughout the land of Zimbabwe for this to take place fairly. Pray for all who will be monitoring as well as the bishops and other people who will be observing this important event.In this picture we see the IMBISA bishops and personnel with the president.

2013 – Lent – Second Sunday of Lent :Year C

This is my Son,my Chosen,listen to him.


1. The Transfiguration of Jesus (which the Church celebrates also on 6 August every year) is a unique event which the three disciples experienced while at prayer with Jesus. It was clearly a Divine affirmation concerning the mission of Jesus who came to this world to fulfil the Law given through Moses and the prophecies given through the prophets of the Hebrew Scriptures represented by the prophet Elijah.


2. The Transfiguration is also an anticipation of the brilliant light of the Resurrection of Jesus from the dead. It points to the final Victory of God in the life and death of Jesus, of his Personal fulfilment of the Law and Prophets. In this sense it became a consolation, a reminder that the suffering and death of Jesus is not the end of the mission of Jesus. Jesus will rise from death and His humanity will be glorified and become brilliant like an eternal sun. And through Him,we who believe in Him,will

be able to receive the saving grace we need for our own lives and destiny in God. The suffering and death of Jesus cannot overshadow and extinguish His light and life. During Lent, while we reflect on the suffering and death of Jesus, we are at the same time always aware of His ultimate Victory.


3. We gather together in worship because we need the teaching, the saving words, of our Lord Jesus. During the proclamation of the Word from the Sacred Scriptures, in faith, we listen to words coming from Jesus Himself directly to each one of us. During the Eucharist and holy communion,in faith,we receive the actual Body and Blood from Jesus Himself in the form of bread and wine through the action of the priest. Each one of us is nourished directly by Jesus Himself. Each one of us is like a branch grafted in the Vine who is Christ because the Lord Jesus is not dead but risen and alive and active in our lives through the powerful love of the Holy Spirit. This is the only reason for being here today!


4. It is so important to evaluate our motives for worship – why we bother to worship together on a Sunday. Is it because of a genuine hunger for the Truth and for the Life of Jesus? Is it because we know that we need to help and encourage one another on this journey of faith and be instrumental in allowing the Lord Jesus to speak to us and to feed us? Many walk as the enemies of the cross of Christ says St Paul in today’s second reading. Join in imitating me says St Paul who witnessed to the cross of Christ in his life. This is a real challenge for us – to be a model of a genuine Christian who is not afraid of the cross, not afraid of making sacrifices for the sake of the Reign of God, not afraid of putting into practice in one’s own life what Jesus is teaching us directly  to do and not waiting for others to do this first. This faith is affirmed today in the Gospel when God says: This is my Son,the Chosen.This practice is put before us today when God says: Listen to Him. It is this faith and practice which makes us become transfigured spiritually in this life and ultimately enjoy eternal life beyond this present life to be face to face with the Lord Jesus and all the saints.


Bishop Joao Rodrigues

Tzaneen Diocese

Wednesday, February 13, 2013


Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ

We begin this season of Lent with the surprise announcement of Pope Benedict XVI’s imminent resignation from office. Suddenly the world’s media has turned its attention to the question of who will the cardinals elect as the new pope next month. For us  Catholics this is not a mere curiosity but a critical period of transition in the Church’s leadership for which we need to pray in sincerity of heart. I appeal for you to keep this intention continually in your prayers until the Lord blesses us with the new pope.

Christ the Lord was tempted and suffered for us. Come let us adore him. This verse is recited throughout the season of Lent. It invites us to be constantly aware that the Lord Jesus Christ offered up his suffering and death on the cross out of love for us, for our salvation, for all humanity, so that we can convert from our sins, receive forgiveness and live in God’s grace and love. It is only in this saving grace of the Lord that we are able to be reconciled and be at peace with one another as well.

The season of Lent is therefore not a time for pointing fingers at the sins of others nor for condemning others because of their guilt. On the contrary, we as followers of Christ,are called to remain in communion with the Lord who was tempted and suffered for us. In other words, grateful for God’s mercy in our own lives, we likewise pray for the conversion of sinners and offer up our difficulties in communion with the suffering of Christ in the firm hope that those who are in most need of God’s mercy may indeed experience the joy of conversion and reconciliation with Christ and his Church.

This spiritual warfare is not so easy for us to do. We are all naturally inclined towards praying for good people only and doing good only for people who deserve it. But the Spirit of the Lord Jesus in our hearts urges us to pray for the wicked man to turn from his evil and live (Ezek 18,32). Yes, we are called to pray for the conversion of those people who naturally repel us – people we would rather avoid and forget about like murderers, rapists, thieves, adulterers, drug pushers and addicts and all kinds of wicked people.

But it is only by remaining in communion with the Spirit of Christ who was tempted and suffered for us that we become people of real hope in a world that is so easily overwhelmed by wickeness and evil. It is so easy for us to internalise the violence in our society and world and to wish as much evil on others as we see being perpetrated in our midst. Let us unite in faith and fight our spiritual battle together with all the saints and martyrs in heaven and with our Blessed Mother Mary. Let us walk her path of faith to the foot of the Cross of Jesus and say: “Holy Mary, pray for us, and especially those sinners in the world who are lost in the darkness of their wickedness; pray for us now and at the hour of our death.”

God bless you all

Bishop Joao Rodrigues





Tuesday, February 12, 2013

On His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI’s resignation

Archbishop Stephen Brislin’s statement on His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI’s resignation


The resignation of the Holy Father was unexpected and has taken us by surprise. It is true that in recent months it has become evident that Pope Benedict was becoming more physically frail and in more need of assistance while walking. Nonetheless, his intellectual capacity has not been impaired at all.


It takes a great deal of wisdom and courage to make such a momentous decision as to resign from the Papacy. It is not the first time in history that a Pope has resigned and Canon Law makes provision for this. Pope Benedict himself has, in the past, alluded to the possibility of a Pope resigning.


I am sure that this has been a most difficult and agonizing decision for His Holiness. In his statement he refers to frequently examining his conscience on the matter, but feels that both strength of mind and body are necessary for the adequate exercise of the papacy and that his health has deteriorated over recent months.


We are grateful for the Pontificate of Benedict XVI. Since his inauguration on 24th April 2005, he has given firm and decisive leadership to the Church. He has reached out to leaders of other Christian Churches and to leaders of other Faiths. He has sought the forgiveness of victims of clerical abuse and has on a number of occasions met with victims. He has enriched the Church with his theology and incisive mind. He has spoken on behalf of the poorest and most vulnerable people in the world.


In making this announcement now the Holy Father is ensuring a smooth transition for his successor. We acknowledge his courage and wish him well that his retirement will bring him peace and rest.


Archbishop Stephen Brislin


Southern African Catholic Bishops' Conference




Issued on the 11th day of February 2013, at Cape Town

Monday, February 11, 2013

Pope Benedict XVI announces resignation

Pope Benedict XVI gave his surprising announcement on Monday 11 February 2011 saying that on 28 February he will be standing down from the Petrine Office and retire from public office because of his age and general weakening condition of health.

The conclave that will elect Benedict XVI's successor will have 117 members on the day his resignation becomes official, at the end of this month.There are 61 Europeans, 19 Latin Americans, 14 North Americans, 11 Africans, 11 Asians and one from Oceania among the voters. Benedict XVI will not participate in the conclave.
The country with the greatest number of cardinal-electors is Italy, with 21. Sixty-seven of the electors were created by Benedict XVI and the remaining 50 by John Paul II.
The conclave will proceed according to the rules of "Ordo Rituum Conclavis," established by Pope John Paul II's apostolic constitution "Universi Dominici Gregis."
During the time between the Holy Father's resignation and the election of the next pontiff, Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, as the cardinal camerlengo, will have the fundamental role in governing the Church.
While the conclave is ongoing, the cardinals reside within the Vatican. They are not permitted any contact with the outside world.
Jesuit Father Federico Lombardi, director of the Vatican press office, reported that Benedict XVI will go to the papal summer residence at Castel Gandolfo when he leaves office on Feb. 28. After that he will reside in a cloistered monastery within the Vatican walls.

We are now called to pray to the Lord so that this transitional period may take place peacefully and fruitfully especially during the time of the conclave in March. "Lord,you can read everyone's heart;show us therefore which of these you have chosen to take over this ministry and apostolate." Acts 1,24-25.

Saturday, February 2, 2013

Bishop's 2013 Programme

Year: 2013
First Week
Second Week
Third Week
Fourth Week
On leave:1- 12
Cape Town

In Office:13 - 19
Tzaneen Office:
20 - 22
SACBC meet:23 -26  Pretoria
 SACBC meet: 27 – 30.Malamulele Holy Rosary school -31
Tzaneen:1-2 Feb.
Sibasa: Daswa commemoration:3
Retreat at AMPC:4-8
DPC exec:9 at AMPC
Tzaneen:10 -15
Diocesan Priests:11
Finance Meet:12
AMPC: 17 -Education for Life celebrations.
Priests meet:19-20 at AMPC
Office: 24 -
Pastoral Workers meet at AMPC:27
Cat workshop at AMPC: 1-3 March
Cat workshop at AMPC : 3
CaSPA at Polokwane: 5
Dioc.Cat meet:6
Sibasa: 10
Joint Witness:11-13
 at Benoni
Zimbabwe:14-17 referendum
St Patrick’s at AMPC :19
Holy Week
Mass of Oils:26
Holy Thurs:28
Good Friday:29
Easter:30 -31
Province Meet at Gabarone:8-9
Consultors 25
Diocesan priests recollection at AMPC:29
Priests Meet:7-8
Daswa meet
Finance meet 9
Exorcism workshop at Bethlehem:13 -17
Finance Council:25 at AMPC
Johannesburg:27-29 on land reform
30-31 Office
St Brendan's:2
Office:4 -8 
Dwars River:9

St Schol:16
25-29 Office
Olifants River:30

On leave:1 - 16
Cape Town

In office:18-20
Office:23 -26
Mariannhill: 31
SACBC plenary :31 Jul – 7 Aug at Mariannhill
Tzaneen: 11
Office: 13 - 16
Pilgrimage at AMPC: 17-18
Office: 20 - 23

Cat wkp:30-1
DPC at AMPC:14
Dioc cat:25
Office:26 – 27
Province meet in Pretoria:2-3
Cat workshop at AMPC:4-6
Priests meet:8-9
Diocesan priests recollection:28
Pastoral workers:30
AGM at
St Brendan’s:3
IMBISA meeting in Botswana: 11 -15
Diocesan Finance Council:16 AMPC
Office:19 - 22
St Scholastica:24
Thanksgiving Mass for end of year: 5 at AMPC

In office:10-13
Office closes:13

Tzaneen:17 - 20
Christmas: 24 -25
End of year break.