1.Why is the cause going to be examined only next year – why such a long wait?This cause is one cause amongst thousands! According to an article in the catholicculture.org website published on 29 March 2008, there were 2 200 causes being investigated and most of these have not yet reached the stage for examination by the Congregation for the Causes of Saints’ theologian consultors.The decree by the Congregation for the Causes of Saints on the validity of the diocesan inquiry on Benedict Daswa was issued on 5 November 2010 and the copies of the actual Positio Book for examination by the CSS theologian consultors were handed in on 3 April this year. In fact October next year is not a long wait at all. On the contrary it is an unusually short wait for a cause such as ours. Unlike the globally recognised public figures of the Catholic Church such as Mother Theresa and Pope John Paul II for whom public calls of “subito santo” were made with the backing of all the important Vatican officials, Benedict Daswa in contrast was unknown by most of the world and was killed in a relatively obscure poor village in the north of Limpopo Province of South Africa. It is very encouraging for the Catholic Church of the SACBC region that such a relatively obscure cause has caught the attention of the Prefect of the CCS and that even Pope Francis is now aware of it!
2.What will happen between now and then?
We need to make this cause known among the faithful people throughout the SACBC region, in
3.How strong is the case?
The cause for Benedict Daswa to be recognized as a martyr of the Catholic faith in Jesus Christ is very strong. Many people knew him and the events that led up to his being killed have been recorded and explained by many credible witnesses. People of faith of all cultures who hear about his life and death for the first time are always moved – some are even moved to tears – and they sense an inner conviction that he is indeed a martyr and prophetic figure of faith for
Africa. I believe this is the reason why his cause has
reached this critical stage in which it can now spread through a concerted
prayer campaign throughout the SACBC region. God does not only choose the
well-known or famous people for sainthood but usually chooses the lowly and
unknown of this world to reveal God’s glory. It is up to the faithful of Southern Africa in particular to recognize this and to
testify to the world that God does indeed raise the lowly to the altar of the
saints such as we believe the Servant of God Benedict Daswa is.
4. What are the people of Tzaneen hoping for/doing – praying etc?
Many people of Tzaneen Diocese are very hopeful for the cause to succeed. The private devotion and interest in the cause continues to spread among young and old. Certainly it will be quite a challenge for the Diocese to take new steps in promoting the cause and this will also make new demands on the people of this diocese. Moving from a normally very localized and parish- driven memorial Mass to a Diocesan Event next year will be a big step.
Presently the diocese is in need of more funds for the development of a new pilgrimage centre where a special church - shrine will be built in honour of the Servant of God.
This plan will also mean that the mortal remains of Benedict Daswa will need to be authenticated and transferred to a more secure location. As the cause progresses there will be a need to choose an appropriate date of his feast day and to develop suitable liturgical texts of prayers. Finally there will be a need to prepare for the actual day of beatification at a venue where the faithful from
and beyond may be able to gather together and give thanks to God for the newly
acclaimed “Blessed” of God. These are some of the hopes of the Diocese of
Tzaneen concerning the cause. May God’s will be done.
Bishop Joao Rodrigues