South Africa Mission Stories
By Fr. Kris Louis Aneke (Mission Superior)
In general, our major Apostolate is Pastoral Work with emphasis on primary evangelization. The MSP priests carry out their duties in a variety of settings e.g. Parish Centres, Outstations, and Farms (these are residential places for workers in Farm settlements in remote areas, owned by white farmers. These workers depend solely on their employers for housing and means of livelihood). Some of our outstations are quite distant, up to 60 kilometres away, requiring long driving on lonely and gravel roads.
All the parishes the MSP' are working are divided into Small Christian Communities (SCC) or Blocks through which we engage in collaborative ministries with our Lay Ministers and Married Deacons with prayer meetings and the celebration of the Holy Mass with the community living in these SCC's.
This pastoral approach focuses on the involvement and training of local talent, empowerment of the laity, development of the sense of belonging, liturgical understanding and full participation, and easy administration of the parish and churches. In some of these parishes, our priests have established the celebration of Masses in homes, at SCC and Blocks levels. Needless to state that Communion to the sick on a regular basis /monthly and sick calls are part and parcel of the pastoral apostolate we are engaged in due to the HIV/AIDS pandemic in South Africa.
PROJECTS RELATING TO OUR PASTORAL WORK:
In some of our parishes, our priests are actively engaged in Human development and Social projects. Some parishes are running computer literacy courses through which the low income workers, the youths and the unemployed improve their computer learning capabilities. The students sit for National Certificate examinations, because these computer satellite campuses are linked to the Government Colleges for the award of National Certificates in Computer studies.
One of our parishes run a humanitarian project that assist Orphan and Vulnerable Children and HIV/AIDS affected and infected persons through feeding schemes while other parishes have crèches (pre-school) specially among black communities where they work. In carrying out our apostolate, we make use of methods as workshops in training parishioners, the formation of catechists, youth ministry, care-givers in relation to HIV/AIDS, lay ministry, leaders of SCC/Blocks and Pious societies of Men and women (sodalities as it is called here in SA).
Other forms of apostolate in some of our parishes are Bible study, teaching of Catechism (especially Confirmation candidates). In the only mix-parish we are engaged in Pastoral work, we have made the break-through by bringing the Whites and blacks together, to belong to one parish Council, to participate in parish Liturgical celebrations and Fundraising activities. Some of our priests are Chaplains of Pious Societies in their Dioceses at both regional and Diocesan levels and One is the Diocesan Development Co-ordinator for projects (Skills, HIV/AIDS, Orphan and Vulnerable Children, relief Centre – Hospice where terminally infected patience of HIV/AIDS are cared for) in the Diocese he is working .
There has been a tremendous success in most of these projects because of the wonderful contributions and pastoral support by the MSP priests involved. This has been highly appreciated by both Diocesan Bishops and parishioners alike.