Thursday, September 25, 2014

Frankfurt airport

Here I am with Dr Mokone at Frankfurt airport waiting for our connecting flight to Lisbnoon.

On board Flight LH573

Finally I'm on board the Lufthansa airbus about to fly to Frankfurt and then connect to Lisbon May we have a safe flight.God bless us all.


A cup of coffee before the flight

Monday, June 9, 2014

Sisters Servants of Mary of Boma

We are happy to welcome the Sisters Servants of Mary of Boma to the Diocese of Tzaneen.They are beginning their mission at Lulekani in the Parish of Phalaborwa. In the photograph we see Sr Helene (left) with Sr Viviane.

The Joy of the new deacon


On Pentecost Sunday 2014 Tebogo Thomas Modiba was ordained a deacon by Bishop Joao Rodrigues for the Diocese of Tzaneen in the Parish of Phalaborwa at his home church in Namakgale.Deacon Tebogo will be serving in the Parish of Nhzelele as he continues his preparation for the priesthood.Congratulations Deacon Tebogo.May God bless,protect and guide you on your journey to the Priesthood.

Thursday, June 5, 2014

A day to remember: 25 April 2014 with Pope Francis in Rome

Just before the official meeting of the group of bishops with Pope Francis,Fr Andrew Shingange who accompanied Bishop Joao Rodrigues to the "upper room" had the opportunity to greet the pope and receive the rosary beads.Yes this was indeed a day to remember with joy and gratitude as the communion between the Diocese of Tzaneen and the See of St Peter was confirmed.

New Priest ordained for Diocese of Tzaneen on 31 May 2014

It is with great joy that we announce that FR.ADRIEN NTWA ILONDO was ordained a priest by Cardinal Laurent Monsengwo Pasinya at Kinshasa in the Democratic Republic of the Congo on Saturday 31 May 2014.Fr Adrien completed his formation in the Diocese of Tzaneen and was ordained a deacon last year at the Cathedral in Tzaneen. He served as a deacon in the Parish of Modjadjiskloof. He will return to South Africa next month and continue to serve in the Diocese of Tzaneen.May the Lord bless him with wisdom and courage so that he can bear the fruit the Lord seeks from his ministry.We pray in a special way for the souls of his parents with gratitude for having raised such a fine son of Africa. AD MULTOS ANNOS.

Saturday, April 19, 2014


Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ

This Easter is a very special one for me and for all the Catholic Bishops of the Southern African region because we will be meeting Pope Francis in Rome and will be with him and thousands of Catholic pilgrims during the canonisation ceremonies of Blessed Pope John   XXIII and Blessed Pope John Paul II. I will also see Fr Andrew Shingange who is studying in Rome. I will certainly be praying for all of you at the tomb of St Peter and during our final Mass at the Basilica of Santa Maria Maggiore I will be praying for all South Africans in anticipation of the national elections.

This year, with the help of Fr Emmanuel and the Evangelising Sisters of Mary, we are renewing our efforts at promoting local vocations to the ordained priesthood and consecrated religious life among our younger Catholics.We are trying to cultivate in each parish,families and groups who will pray regularly for local vocations in accordance with the will of our Risen Lord. While we wait eagerly for Tebogo Modiba to complete his seminary formation in Pretoria this Easter, we realise that our two new young seminarians have only just begun their long journey of formation and studies. However it is with great joy to annouce that Deacon Adrien Ntwa Ilondo will be ordained a priest on 31 May in his home country in the Archdiocese of Kinshasa.He will then return to us and begin his priestly ministry in this diocese. Thanks be to God.

I encourage you to pray for our young Catholics this Easter so that the Holy Spirit of Pentecost may stir within their hearts the divine calling to be a priest or a religious sister or brother. Do not be afraid to identify and pray for specific young Catholics who you feel may be the very ones God is calling for such a life and mission.Do not avoid to pray for your own children. The Holy Rosary is a very powerful form of communal prayer which - if followed with an interior openess to the action of the Holy Spirit – God does answer. I encourage you to pray the Holy Rosary this Easter in your family or in family groups and small Christian communities. Medidate on the Glorious Mysteries and ask the Lord to bless the Diocese of Tzaneen with local vocations when you pray the Holy Rosary.

Blessings of renewed hope and joy during this Easter Season 2014 for all who put their trust in the Risen Lord Jesus,the conqueror of our sins and  the conqueror of our eternal death. Alleluia!

Bishop Joao Rodrigues


Wednesday, March 5, 2014

The late Archbishop Lawrence Patrick Henry

Archbishop Lawrence Henry passed away peacefully yesterday 4 March 2014. Born on 27 July 1934 in Cape Town,he was ordained a priest in 1962 for the Archdiocese of Cape Town where he served in a number of parishes until his episcopal ordination in 1987.He was appointed as the new Archbishop of Cape Town on 7 July 1990 and served in that capacity until his retirement on 18 December 2009. Archbishop Henry was a pastor at heart who knew and loved the people of God. He will be missed by the people of  Cape Town and by many other people all over Southern Africa and overseas.May God through the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ give his soul eternal peace,joy and love in the heavenly kingdom.

ASH WEDNESDAY, 5 March 2014: Belonging to Christ,Committed for Mission

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ
The Lord has given us a sacred time of 6 weeks before Easter for the renewing and purifying of our hearts and for learning how to live and serve in this passing world with a love which is fixed on eternity with God and all the saints.Because we live in a very complex and confusing world even our religious ideas and spiritual attitudes can become complicated and confusing and cause us to behave in ways that contradict the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
We need help to become more focused and true to our calling in Jesus Christ.It is the Word of God revealed in the Sacred Scriptures throughout the period of Lent that draws us to the essentials concerning our faith and way of life in Christ. With the help of the Sacred Scriptures we can examine our own lives and with God’s grace we are able to prune those things in our lives that contradict the teachings of Jesus Christ.The Daily Missal is very useful for a clear programme of Lenten Scripture readings.With the help of the Holy Sacraments – especially the Sacrament of Penance and the Holy Eucharist – we are able to deepen our personal love for Jesus Christ who loves us first and thus we can follow His way with a genuine hope and joy which his Holy Spirit inspires within us.
Lent is particularly important for the renewal of marriage and family life in Christ.If parents commit themselves with their children to pray and reflect on their faith together as a family at least once a week,God will surely bless the whole family with a deep communion and joy which the worldly cannot enjoy.Praying the way of the Cross,the Rosary and other community prayers for the  many needs which we are aware of  is important for a fruitful Lent.The SACBC booklet “Lenten Reflections 2014: Belonging to Christ,Committed for Mission,” is a useful booklet for families or groups to be able to reflect together and build one another’s spiritual life.
Lent urges us to be outward-looking. In particular we are called to recognise and serve Christ in the poor and needy who are often marginalised and neglected. We are called to offer the needy practical help and make this a priority during Lent.This includes visiting people who are confined within institutions because of illness or other reasons such as those in prison.Supporting financially the Catholic Church’s Lenten Appeal and other charitable projects in our diocese is a very practical way of expressing our solidarity with Christ in uplifting the poor and needy of our country.
In general however the best way to follow the spirit of Lent is to continue doing all the good that we are already doing in the duties of our daily life but to do it with greater compassion and with more honesty and personal integrity. And only the Lord can teach us and help us to do that. “Whatever your task, work heartily, as serving the Lord and not men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the inheritance as your reward; you are serving the Lord Jesus.” (Colossians 3, 23-24).
God bless you with the peace and joy of Christ

Bishop Joao Rodrigues

Sunday, February 23, 2014

HOMILY for the Holy Mass of the Vigil for Benedict Daswa Cause 16 Feb 2014

Brothers and Sisters in Christ

Let us listen again to the words of the Lord Jesus in verse 24 (Luke 4,24).

“Truly I say to you: no prophet is acceptable in his own country.”  

“Ngiqinisile ngithi kini: Akukho –mprofethi owamukelwa ezweni lakubo”

“Ruri, ke a le botsa,moporofeta ga a ke a thabelwa motseng wa gabo.”

The Lord Jesus was not only prophesing about himself in this verse but about the experience of the genuine prophets in the history of Israel (and he gives some examples of this in the Gospel account). Jesus was also anticipating what would happen to his followers after his death and resurrection.And again we read in the Acts of the Apostles and in many later church accounts, how Christians were often persecuted and even killed because of their faith in the Lord Jesus. This is still happening today in some parts of Africa and the world.

Why does this happen? The Lord Jesus gives us an insight to this question in verse 24 saying.”Truly I say to you: no prophet is acceptable in his own country.”  A prophet is a person who has been inspired in a special way by the Holy Spirit.The Holy Spirit enlightens the person in his mind and heart and a new vision and understanding about life opens up which is directed by God. He or she is urged by the Holy Spirit to speak for God, for God’s truth and revelation and to live accordingly.The prophet’s most important point of reference is no longer my people, or my culture or my friends or my nation but first and formost – God. Everything the prophet says and does begins and ends in prayer and worship of God.
 That is what a prophet is – one who speaks for God,who makes known God’s will for humanity and witnesses to this revelation in his or her personal life.And you know what? Anyone can become a prophet because everyone is called to become a prophet in Jesus Christ. And Benedict Daswa was one of those anyones!

Benedict Daswa  heard the prophetic call and answered by being baptised in Christ in the Catholic Church. He responded generously to God’s call and never looked back. He embraced the truths of revelation and lived accordingly with joy in the Holy Spirit. And he boldly made known to others – including his wife, his children,his friends,his co-workers,the learners at his school,his community and all -  the saving loving power and truth of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

“Truly,I say to you:no prophet is acceptable in his own country.”

People familiar with a prophet think they know him or her but in reality they don’t! People say: We know him.He is one of us.We grew up with him.He is from our village and speaks like us.We went to the same schools together. He is not special or unique. Who does he think he is? Does he think he is better than us?Does he think he knows more than us? The people do not understand that he is special and unique, that he is no longer simply one of them but first and foremost a child of God who can discern the difference between right from wrong, truth from lies,justice from injustice,peace from violence;who has been given the courage in God’s grace to speak out against injustice and lies and to resist the temptations that the “blind and slaves” put on him to give up on God’s way.

Indeed the people who criticise the prophet are the very people whom God is calling to listen to the prophet! These people are blind because they are deviod of the light of the Holy Spirit in their lives and they are slaves of sin because they are ignorant and deny that all people are called to follow the way of God. Those people who are still enslaved to a witchcraft mentality and live with superstitious fears, who are still ignorant of the laws of nature,who are still living with a fatalistic attitude to life blaming everyone else except themselves for the difficulties of life  are “the blind and the slaves” who need to be liberated by Christ.Those people who thought that Benedict Daswa was simply one of them and one like them were gravely mistaken.Benedict Daswa was a prophet of God following the footsteps of Jesus Christ. That is why he was killed by them.
Today we rejoice in God’s grace for and with the Servant of God Benedict Daswa.We rejoice and are glad for Benedict Daswa’s reward is great in the Kingdom of Heaven.Yes, we do not mourn or cry in sadness but give glory to God for having given us such a wonderful prophet. “Yes, rejoice in so far as you share Christ’s sufferings, that you may also rejoice and be glad when his glory is revealed. (1 Peter 4,13).

“Truly,I say to you:no prophet is acceptable in his own country.”
“Ngiqinisile ngithi kini: Akukho –mprofethi owamukelwa ezweni lakubo”
“Ruri, ke a le botsa,moporofeta ga a ke a thabelwa motseng wa gabo.”


(Homily by Bishop Joao Rodrigues,the Bishop of Tzaneen Diocese)

Over 3000 Catholics at Mater Dei Pastoral Centre during Prayer Vigil for the Cause of Benedict Daswa on 15-16 February 2014

The Night-Vigil of prayer at Mater Dei Pastoral Centre, Mokopane in the Diocese of Polokwane,asking God’s blessing on the Cause of the Servant of God, Benedict Daswa, went very well, thanks be to God. More than 3000 people were present from at least 8 dioceses of the SACBC Region – the Dioceses of Tzaneen, Polokwane, Pretoria, Johannesburg, Bloemfontein, Witbank, Klerksdorp and Kimberley, as well as individuals from other dioceses. Archbishop Jabulani Nxumalo OMI of Bloemfontein representing the Southern African Catholic Bishops Conference, and Archbishop William Slattery OFM of Pretoria representing the Metropolitan Region, were present and concelebrated the concluding Eucharistic Celebration with Bishop Jeremiah Masela of Polokwane who welcomed the people, and the two bishops from the Diocese of Tzaneen, Bishop Joao Rodgrigues and Bishop Emeritus Hugh Slattery MSC. The Benedictine Monks from Subiaco, many priests from various dioceses, a significant number of Religious Sisters from different Congregations together with large numbers of the Lay Faithful, many in Sodality uniforms, made up the congregation.
The eight adult children of Benedict, some with of their spouses, his two remaining brothers, some nieces and other relatives were also present. Benedict’s Mother who was 93 last December was not there as the long trip to Mater Dei Pastoral Centre followed by the night-long Prayer Vigil, would have been too much for her. She is, however, praying very earnestly to be alive for her son’s beatification. Mr Norman Servais from Metanoia Media who made the Daswa DVD, flew from Cape Town to record the Prayer Vigil.
Weather-wise, the night was clear with the moon shining brightly overhead. The Prayer Vigil which commenced about 6.30pm Saturday and ended 6.30am Sunday, was permeated by a very joyful yet really prayerful atmosphere. The Programme had been well-planned, was interesting, informative and inspiring. Many wonderful testimonies were given by people who knew and had worked closely with Benedict, including his eldest daughter, Helen,who gave a most touching personal testimony. This was for many people, the highlight of the Vigil. Helen spoke very courageously and simply about her father. She said that she was only 13 years old at the time of her father’s murder and was the last person to speak to and be spoken to by her father who had asked her to tell her mother that he would be a bit late home as he was going to drive an old man carrying a 12.5kg bag of mealie meal to his house. After dropping the man to his house, Benedict was ambushed on his way home by a mob of youths goaded on by some adult men, then stoned and finally bludgeoned to death. All this because he refused to give R5 to pay a sangoma to “sniff out” the supposed witch who had caused lightning to set alight a number of rondavels in the village the previous week.
To Bishop Joao and the people of the Diocese of Tzaneen, the success of this Prayer Vigil gave a clear indication that the Cause of Benedict Daswa is gaining wider recognition and support in Southern Africa. There is a definite sense among all who participated in the Vigil that Benedict Daswa is indeed a true martyr of the Catholic Church and at the same time, a very special intercessor for people in Southern Africa. It is vitally important to continue praying for his beatification in the hope that more and more people will do so and receive abundant blessings for their lives. Already there have been a number of favours attributed to the intercession of the Servant of God through praying the Novena and Prayer to Obtain Favours.
Naturally, as the Cause progresses the demands will increase. This is especially true with regard to the development of the Pilgrimage site and Shrine in honour of Benedict Daswa. As the costs are huge, so much will depend on the success of seeking and receiving many generous donations both from outside the SACBC Region and from within it. Bishop Joao has indicated that this Cause will be an important focus of the forthcoming Ad Limina visit of the Bishops of Southern Africa to the Holy Father in Rome this coming Easter.

 (This report by Sr Claudette Hoisan OLSH,Promoter of the Benedict Daswa cause:email:;   Photographs provided by Norman Servais of Metanoia Media)

Monday, January 20, 2014


Photos of the Main Entrance to Mater Dei Pastoral Centre


                            Diocese of Polokwane

P.O Box 3063, Mokopane 0600                          Pysical Address
Limpopo, South Africa                                        320 Naboomfontein

Phone: 015 491 5641                                              
 Mobile: 0783165084                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      

GPS Coordinates

S  24. 21. 531

E  028. 50. 261


1. The Pastoral Centre is located along R101 road

2. Those coming from Johannesburg or Pretoria they may use N1 going towards Polokwane.

3. After the third toll gate ( Kranskop toll plaza) continue about 30 kms on N1 and take exit number 289 that is to Mookgopong (Naboomspruit) along R 101 Road.

4. From the exit to Mookgopong town is about 8 kms. From this town keep going towards Mokopane about 23 kms and you will find the gate written Mater Dei Pastoral Centre on the left hand side.


1. Just remember that our centre is along R 101 Road. Come to Mokopane town

2.  From Mokopane town centre to our place is about 28 kms. You will find a board written MATER DEI PASTORAL CENTRE on your right hand side if you are from Mokopane.

3. Just before reaching our centre you will find a name THABA YA METSI country lodge on your right hand side. Mater Dei pastoral centre is after Thaba ya Metsi country lodge.


Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ

Blessings of peace and courage for this new year in the Lord Jesus.

Re:Prayer Vigil for the Cause of Servant of God Benedict Daswa at Mater Dei Pastoral Centre near Mokopane in the Diocese of Polokwane beginning on Saturday 15th February at 6 pm and ending on Sunday morning at 6 am.

The Diocese of Tzaneen is inviting all Catholics from Southern Africa to a Vigil of Prayer with Holy Mass for the cause of the Servant of God Benedict Daswa who we believe is a martyr of the Church.The Prayer Vigil and Mass will be held at Mater Dei Pastoral Centre near Mokopane in the Diocese of Polokwane beginning on Saturday 15 th February at 6 pm and ending on Sunday morning at 6 am.
The programme for the Vigil will include a Drama on the martyrdom of Benedict Daswa, personal testimonies by family members and friends who knew Benedict Daswa, highlights of his life with reflections on the importance of his life for our times and prayers will include exposition of Blessed Sacrament with Holy Rosary meditations on the mysteries of Light in relation to different aspects of Benedict Daswa's life.

The Eucharist will focus on the prophetic spirit in the life of Benedict Daswa.
The collection taken up during the Holy Mass will be for the support of the cause so please be generous.It is our conviction that God will answer the prayers we raise for the success of the cause.

For this reason we are also encouraging Catholics to pray the special Novena Prayer beginning on Thursday 6th February until Friday 14 February ie nine consecutive days of prayer before the Vigil. Parishes could include this prayer during the prayers of the faithful in the celebration of the Eucharist.I have attached a copy of the main novena prayer.The novena prayer booklets are available from Tzaneen Diocese at R5 each.It can also be downloaded from the website

If you have any questions about Mater Dei Pastoral Centre and wish to communicate with the Brother Raul who will be in charge of the centre during the vigil or if you need more information about Polokwane Diocese, please contact the following numbers: The contact number of the Secretary of the Bishop of Polokwane, Oupa Koma, is Email: Mobile: 0721591077 Bishop’s Office No: 015 2958156 or 015 2958152 Contact numbers for the Mater Dei Pastoral Centre:Bro. Raul at Mater Dei:  0603855455 ;     or 0769615678; Mater Dei Office: 015 491 5641. Attached is information on how to get to Mater Dei Pastoral Centre by car.

Please pass on this information to all the communities of your parish.We would like to know if there are any groups from your diocese participating in the Prayer Vigil.

God bless you with faith,hope and love in Christ Jesus

+ Joao Rodrigues

Bishop of the Diocese of Tzaneen

NOVENA PRAYER FOR THE CAUSE OF BENEDICT DASWA begins on Thursday 6 February 2014

We are all invited to pray for the success of the cause of the Servant of God Benedict Daswa during the nine days before the Vigil and Mass of 15th February. We will begin the Novena Prayer on Thursday 6 February 2014 and conclude the Novena Prayer on Friday 14 February. Then on Saturday 15 February many Catholics from Southern Africa will be gathering at Mater Dei Pastoral Centre near Mokopane in the Diocese of Polokwane for the all night Vigil of Prayer and Holy Mass which begins on Saturday 15 February at 6pm and ends on Sunday morning 16 February at 6am.

Below is a shortened form of the main prayer of the novena.The full Novena Prayer with the reflections on the life and death of Benedict Daswa can be read on line or downloaded from the website
Benedict Daswa A Saint for South Africa

Prayer to implore favours through
the intercession of the Servant of God
Tshimangadzo Samuel Benedict Daswa

O Blessed Trinity, you filled the heart of your Servant Benedict with great love and zeal in building up your kingdom. You chose him and gave him the courage and the strength to stand up for his faith without fear and bear witness unto death.

Loving God, like him, may I always proclaim the truth of the gospel by the witness of my life. Keep me away from all deeds of darkness. Protect me from evil spirits and all the powers of evil. Make me a true Apostle of Life in my family and in society.

Father, through his intercession, and according to your will, grant me the grace that I ask of you (…). I draw strength and courage from the life of your Servant Benedict and I hope that he will be proposed to the faithful for veneration and a model of holiness. Through Christ our Lord. Amen.

With ecclesiastical approval, 24 August 2013
+Joao Noe Rodrigues, Bishop of Tzaneen (South Africa)

Please send all information regarding graces and favours received through the intercession of the Servant of God, Tshimangadzo Samuel Benedict Daswa to: Diocese of Tzaneen, Cause of Benedict Daswa, P. O. Box 261, Tzaneen 0850, RSA.

Email address: