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