‘We are all asked to be committed to the mission given to us’
January 29, 2018
By Bp Sithembele Sipuka
On Sunday 28 January 2018, the bishops of the Southern African Catholic Bishops’ Conference gathered at the Catholic Church of the Beatitudes (Archdiocese of Pretoria) to celebrate the 200 years of the Church in Southern Africa.
Below is Bp Sipuka’s homily
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Some years ago Archbishop Slattery, then bishop of Kokstad and I attended a SECAM theological colloquium at St. Augustine, with very high-powered figures, Cardinal Pengo, Cardinal Tumi, and other priests theologians from the continent, and he also delivered a paper there.
Unsurprisingly, he started with a story, which I cannot hope to retell with the vividness and the punch that only Archbishop William can, but let me try. There was this man who experienced great floods in his village, so that for the rest of his life and everywhere he went and with lot of seriousness, he told people about these floods of great magnitude. Eventually he died, and at the gates of heaven he met St. Peter, and before Peter could say anything to him, he started narrating this unforgettable experience of great floods, and Peter listened for 2 hours to the story of the great floods, and after he had given Peter 2 volumes of the books he had written on the floods, and was being let in to heaven, Peter said to “look please take it easy with your story of the floods because there is Noah here”.
With so many learned people among you about the 200 history of the Church in Southern Africa that we are celebrating today, and with some of you have lived almost half of these 200 years, I will take it easy on the history of 200 of Church in Southern Africa, and share instead on what the readings today might be suggesting for the present and the next 200 years.
So what are the readings suggesting for this celebration of the 200 years of Church existence in Southern Africa?