30 November 2022
30 Nov 2022

Superior General’s visit to Dehonians of RSA province, an occasion of unity and gratitude

From Oct. 30 to Nov. 15, the Superior General's visit to Dehonians in the Republic of South Africa took place. In 2023, 100 years of Dehonian presence will be celebrated: a way of unity and appreciation of cultural diversity.

by  Chris Grzelak, scj

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The RSA SCJ Province had been privileged to host the General Superior, Fr Carlos Luis Suárez Codorniú SCJ and the General Councilor, Fr Charles Aime Koudjou SCJ from 30 October to 15 November 2022 who came to South Africa with their canonical visit.

The Province, which was formally established on 02 February 1995, has already been operating for the last 27 years. The fact that despite its challenges and shortage of membership, the entity has progressed over the years is a sign of God’s blessing and relevance of the South African SCJs to the local church and society. In recent years, the Province has organized its life around three centers: Aliwal North, Pietermaritzburg and Johannesburg and consolidated the existing SCJ communities. Father General and his Councilor focused their visit on those communities which to a certain degree remain “fragile” but the SCJs living in them decided to go deeper into the quality of communal life.

In Johannesburg, the visitors had a chance to speak to various confreres and participate in the liturgy of St Anthony’s Parish (Randfontein) ministered by Fr J. Mpiti and go to see the associated two other ecclesial communities. From there, Father General and the Councilor moved to Pietermartizburg, to the International SCJ Formation House that forms young SCJ scholastics from all over Africa and sends them for philosophical-theological studies to St Joseph’s Theological Institute at Cedara (near Pietermaritzburg). The formation project has already been operative for the last twenty years and remains successful thanks to the generosity of the German benefactors and financial support of the German Province. At present, in the formation program, there are 25 scholastics from Africa and Madagascar.

Besides the SCJ presence in Pietermaritzburg (Archdiocese of Durban), the South African SCJs are also living and working in De Aar and Aliwal North being mainly involved in pastoral ministry. In Aliwal North, there has been recently established the Pre-noviciate program (with 5 pre-novices) run by Fr N. Bambatha and there is also a community of SCJs engaged in pastoral ministry in the Aliwal Cathedral and St Pius X Parish (Frs P. Surdel and Z. Tembo). On one of the Sundays, Fr Tembo (who was ordained to priesthood on 22 October this year) celebrated his thanksgiving Eucharist to the community of St Pius and our visitors had a chance to participate in it. The guests also went to De Aar to meet Bishop A. Musialek (SCJ bishop) and see a charitable project “The Divine Marcy Centre”, run by the diocese, to which also the US and the German Provinces contributed financially. Archbishop Z. Mpabani SCJ, bishop of Bloemfontein, was another person with who the visitors spent time.

During the canonical visitation, the Province held its scheduled election of the new provincial administration for the next three years and chose its leadership: Fr P. Surdel (Provincial) and Frs J. Mpiti; A. Maslowski; Z. Tembo; and K. Gabryel (Councilors).

The visit of the General Superior, Fr Carlos and the Councilor, Fr Charles had been fraternal, fruitful, much appreciated, and encouraging, especially that the Province will celebrate the centenary (100 years) of the SCJ presence in South Africa in 2023. Together with the visitors the South African SCJs realized that there is much to be grateful for, particularly for the historical SCJ contribution to the South African society and the church and for the entity’s promising future since it experiences an influx of vocations at present (5 pre-novices and 7 scholastics). With God’s blessing and the lapse of time, the character of the Province will inevitably change becoming more African, with the young generation of the African SCJs open to new areas of pastoral involvement and new territories of specialized ministry.

Nevertheless, growing in numbers always requires improvement of interpersonal relationships within the Province, especially that its members come from many and diverse cultural backgrounds, which naturally calls for deeper and mutual understanding, appreciation, and unity. Thus, on the foundation laid and contribution made by the German, American, Polish, and Indian missionaries and the South African confreres, there will hopefully continue to grow the SCJ Project started hundred years ago. The visit has been seen as success and the South African SCJs thank God for it.


Post-Visitation Reflection
(30 Oct – 15 Nov 2022)

By Fr. Chris Grzelak SCJ

The RSA SCJ Province had been privileged to host the General Superior, Fr Carlos Luis Suárez Codorniú SCJ and the General Councilor, Fr Charles Aime Koudjou SCJ from 30 October to 15 November 2022 who came to South Africa with their canonical visit.

The Province, which was formally established on 02 February 1995, has already been operating for the last 27 years. The fact that despite its challenges and shortage of membership, the entity has progressed over the years is a sign of God’s blessing and relevance of the South African SCJs to the local church and society. In recent years, the Province has organized its life around three centers: Aliwal North, Pietermaritzburg and Johannesburg and consolidated the existing SCJ communities. Father General and his Councilor focused their visit on those communities which to a certain degree remain “fragile” but the SCJs living in them decided to go deeper into the quality of communal life.

In Johannesburg, the visitors had a chance to speak to various confreres and participate in the liturgy of St Anthony’s Parish (Randfontein) ministered by Fr J. Mpiti and go to see the associated two other ecclesial communities. From there, Father General and the Councilor moved to Pietermartizburg, to the International SCJ Formation House that forms young SCJ scholastics from all over Africa and sends them for philosophical-theological studies to St Joseph’s Theological Institute at Cedara (near Pietermaritzburg). The formation project has already been operative for the last twenty years and remains successful thanks to the generosity of the German benefactors and financial support of the German Province. At present, in the formation program, there are 25 scholastics from Africa and Madagascar.

Besides the SCJ presence in Pietermaritzburg (Archdiocese of Durban), the South African SCJs are also living and working in De Aar and Aliwal North being mainly involved in pastoral ministry. In Aliwal North, there has been recently established the Pre-noviciate program (with 5 pre-novices) run by Fr N. Bambatha and there is also a community of SCJs engaged in pastoral ministry in the Aliwal Cathedral and St Pius X Parish (Frs P. Surdel and Z. Tembo). On one of the Sundays, Fr Tembo (who was ordained to priesthood on 22 October this year) celebrated his thanksgiving Eucharist to the community of St Pius and our visitors had a chance to participate in it. The guests also went to De Aar to meet Bishop A. Musialek (SCJ bishop) and see a charitable project “The Divine Marcy Centre”, run by the diocese, to which also the US and the German Provinces contributed financially. Archbishop Z. Mpabani SCJ, bishop of Bloemfontein, was another person with who the visitors spent time.

During the canonical visitation, the Province held its scheduled election of the new provincial administration for the next three years and chose its leadership: Fr P. Surdel (Provincial) and Frs J. Mpiti; A. Maslowski; Z. Tembo; and K. Gabryel (Councilors).

The visit of the General Superior, Fr Carlos and the Councilor, Fr Charles had been fraternal, fruitful, much appreciated, and encouraging, especially that the Province will celebrate the centenary (100 years) of the SCJ presence in South Africa in 2023. Together with the visitors the South African SCJs realized that there is much to be grateful for, particularly for the historical SCJ contribution to the South African society and the church and for the entity’s promising future since it experiences an influx of vocations at present (5 pre-novices and 7 scholastics). With God’s blessing and the lapse of time, the character of the Province will inevitably change becoming more African, with the young generation of the African SCJs open to new areas of pastoral involvement and new territories of specialized ministry.

Nevertheless, growing in numbers always requires improvement of interpersonal relationships within the Province, especially that its members come from many and diverse cultural backgrounds, which naturally calls for deeper and mutual understanding, appreciation, and unity. Thus, on the foundation laid and contribution made by the German, American, Polish, and Indian missionaries and the South African confreres, there will hopefully continue to grow the SCJ Project started hundred years ago. The visit has been seen as success and the South African SCJs thank God for it.

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