October 23, 2017
Hey, it is more than a month that has gone by already and lots of things to share. Well, let’s get started. On the 18th of Sept. I collected my new passport. Hooray. Next is to get to Home Affairs to have my permanent residence stamped in my new passport. I dread it. It probably means the whole blessed day. But….. I also went to the Catholic Bookshop and picked up 5 copies is The Joy of the Gospel, and Laudato Si, the two latest encyclicals of Pope Francis for the novices because I will be giving them classes on those two in November.
I did some home and hospital visiting that week and wound up with two masses on the 23rd, one for the postulants (the like to sing and me too) 6am, and an evening mass at 5:30pm at a mostly Indian parish. They are nice because the appreciate my jokes.
I wanted to take Shirley to lunch for her birthday (long past, Aug. 17) on the 28th, but she got terribly sick and fell down (She was 83 then) and was taken to the hospital by her son. She was bleeding internally and they couldn’t find it. But, after some time, a few days, the bleeding stopped by itself. The scan showed no sign of anything ever being wrong. We had been putting off her birthday lunch for at least three of four times so I told her that next week Friday, in October now, either she is well enough to let me take her for a birthday lunch or we just forget the birthday this year and catch it next year. She agreed to come for the lunch. We both love curry and it was so delicious that she ordered a sea food curry to take home with her as well.
The day before, on the 5th of Oct. a friend had organized to take me to one of his friends at a further away Home affairs office. Ha. We left at about 10am, got there at about 11:10, and by 11:50 we were finished, including an application for a new South African ID (mine is shredding). Holy Moses. A miracle. Others could hardly believe my luck. Thanks to those who organized it. I felt a bit ashamed when I saw all the others there, some mothers nursing babies, waiting and waiting, but my shame wasn’t powerful enough to stop me from being the favoured one that day.
Earlier in the week, on the 2nd, I took the car to Urban Radio, because they had installed the alarm system, and the automatic locking mechanism, after the car had been broken into twice. The automatic locking mechanism stopped working so one had to lock by hand. They discovered that the small motor that operated the locks was dead so they replaced it without and argument since I had the original receipt with me. It was only a few months old.
On Sunday, the 8th of Oct. I took the place of one of the neighboring priests who was in the hospital. At Mass, we celebrated a 25th anniversary of Marriage of a couple, a 13th birthday of a young lady, and then, after the Mass and Brunch at the 25th anniversary couple’s, I went back to Savannah Park to join in the celebration of the marriage of Mark and Dolly, parishioners of Savannah Park. The marriage was performed by the real parish priest (not by me, the mercenary).
I helped out with confessions at St. John’s parish (the Indian parish) as people were getting ready to be confirmed and wanted to be in good spiritual shape.
On Saturday I had the closing Mass of the Catholic Schools Office at 10am. The run courses (some of which I give) during the year, to increase and deepen their knowledge of the faith. I also had another evening Mass at St. John’s parish, and got invited by my friends Estie and Rami to come and have supper with them. MMMM delicious. Curry.
Somewhere in there, one Sunday, there was a terrible storm in Durban, like a mini-Irma. On the main highway going down the coast, cars were underwater up to their roofs. In the low lying areas of town, it was the same. Cars washed away, people drowning in the rushing water, rushing down the street and at the bottom, no place to go but to get caught in the water running from the side and swept away. Holy Moses. There was also a terrible wind that destroyed buildings and tore off roofs, and damaged many homes. Sink holes that swallowed up cars. A nightmare. And then it was over. We here at our place felt the wind but no damage. However in the township next to us, there was plenty of wind and water damage.
On the 15th of October, the team that is going to help us get the church built (project manager, fund-raising committee, The guys who do the measuring, the architect, and the priest who is helping us by contacting all his friends, were there to meet the community and explain that they were willing to help but that the community had to help in its way too. Tickets had been printed for a dinner dance to start the ball rolling, R150 covering a meal, music, healthy exercise (dancing), and for a good cause. A normal restaurant will charge more than that just for the meal so it is a good deal, but out of the generosity of one of the team who owns the restaurant which will be the venue. I took ten tickets.
Tuesday, 17th, we had 7 bishops and a host of volunteers to pack food parcels for starving children here in KZN. They discovered that there are close to half a million kids who go to bed every night hungry. I stayed for a while, helping with the packing, but then left to attend a lecture in town, I was told that they packed 10,000 food parcels that day.
I had lunch with a friend from Germany at a beautiful restaurant which overlooks trees, streams, flowers, etc. Helps the digestion. He works for Pfizer, the pharmaceutical firm, and because of the extreme pressure of work, when he gets a chance, he comes down here for a break and for some nicer weather and the sea. That was on Thursday the 19th.
On the 20th, my friend and mechanic, Musa, checked my car to see if all was well (it hasn’t been checked since the accident back in June) and, after tightening up a few loose things, he gave it a thumbs up.
Saturday, the 21st. was a very interesting day. I was to take a funeral at 11am at the mother church from our branch at Savannah Park. I like to be a bit early just to make sure. I was there by 10:20. I found ladies cleaning the church who knew nothing about a funeral. Hmmmm. The sacristy was open but I couldn’t find any books or hosts or wine or whatever. Eventually I found a chalice and one big host but there was not water or wine or small host. By this time it was almost 10:45. So I told them I was going back to the Monastery to fetch my things (always have some water and wine and hosts and chalice, etc.) realizing that I should have done that in the first place. By the time I got back it was 5 past eleven and the casket had already been taken into the church. But then, lo and behold, another hearse pitches up and disgorges another casket. Now what. Two funerals. I use my wine and water and holy water because there isn’t any at the parish but, thank God, the catechist is there. So we go to plan B. He know who is in the one casket and I know who is in the other so we just forge ahead. I was proud of our small but powerful choir from Savannah Park. There can never be a service without singing.
After the Mass, we go to the cemetery. There is no road near the graveside, so the old men have to carry the coffin on a very rough hilly and pot-holey ground for about a football field away. Some day I will describe how an African is buried, but I will jump over that for now.
After the filling in of the grave we all go to the house for a meal and to meet some of the family of the deceased. I finally came home late in the afternoon and I am beat.
But, all this time, I say Mass every morning at the hospital and do lots of things like cutting the grass with the weed eater so the time is filled in completely. Since I had 10 tickets, I started to email, what’s app, and sms people and managed to sell all ten.
Now it is Sunday, yesterday, the 22nd of October. I had two masses in Zulu, one at 8am at Savannah Park, and another at 11:30 at the Pinetown parish, not far away.
After mass at S. P. I debate whether I should go home for a bit or go straight to the other church. I decide to go to the church. I look at my watch and I think it says 10:45. There are still lots of cars from the previous mass filling the parking lot and I park mine in one of the few empty places. I head for the sacristy and start looking for the mass books in Zulu and can’t find them. Also I am worried again about the sacred vessels, water and wine and tabernacle key, etc. Not it is 10 past 11 (or so I think). At 25 past 11 (or so I think) I am panicing, and am asking were are things and were are the people who are supposed to be running the show. Ha. They say, Father, it is only 25 past 10. You are more than an hour early. Ha. Old bloody age.
Although the sacristan for the English Mass told me that there were not so many Zulus at the Zulu mass, I found the church to be pretty full, and, of course, the music was, as always, outstanding.
After Mass, it was about 1pm (I missed lunch at our house which is at 12 noon on Sunday), so I gave in to temptation and drove by the McDonald’s on the way home and took with me a Quarter Pounder with Cheese. Ha. Decadence.
I was tired and sat in my recliner chair for a while trying to decide what to do next. I wanted to visit a sister I know who had a stroke and was learning how to walk again. I had seen her twice in the hospital and heard that she had been discharged. When I phone her convent, I was told that she was taken to their home quite far away for recuperation. In the neighbourhood, was a friend who had said that she would take a ticket for the dinner dance so I phoned and told her I would bring the ticket. As it turned out, her daughter and son-in-law also took two tickets. Since I was on the way to that part of town, I contacted another friend and went over to his house. After catching up on each other’s lives, he said that he would take 4 tickets. Hey, great! His sister, who live clear the other side of town also had said that she wanted some tickets so we phone her and told her I would be coming. I had left home at about 2:30pm and got to her house at 7pm (on the road the whole time.). She, praise the Lord, took 6 tickets. By this time I was poohed out and headed for home and was in bed by 9:30 to be up at 4am.
Today, after Mass at the hospital, I contacted some more people and wound up selling another 7 tickets. Good day.
I filled the back of the car (seats down) with the old clothes that we will take with us to the village near Mthatha and filled the tank with petrol and we are ready to head for Mthatha (a six hour drive with my little thing) first thing in the morning,after Mass at the hospital and breakfast.
Whew, why do I wait so long to keep the blog updated. Now I have to do some packing. Good night. Cas