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Tuesday, August 12, 2014

BLOG-AUG. 12, 2014

 Aug. 10, 2014
What a delightful day. I was asked, at the last minute, to take another Mass at 8:30am last Sunday. I already was going to Savannah Park at 10am but, knowing that African time is very flexible, I agreed. But I didn't know how to get to the place so I asked for someone to show me the way. I would follow
    so that I wouldn't get lost. Holy Moses. We went up hill and down dale and around curves and just meandered all over the place till I thought we might just be on the outskirts of Detroit. We finally got there about 8:15 (in Africa that is still more than reasonable). And it was a huge crowd, and very animated and joyful, especially the primary school children. They must have been primed. The singing was marvelous. However, I was a bit nervous because it is the custom to sing all 50 verses of every song, and there are many songs, but I just let loose the reins and let it happen. We enjoyed each other. I would estimate that there were maybe 400 or more people as the church was packed and even some outside, mostly men. The men don't want to risk catching some terrible disease by stepping inside a church you know.
     Then, I was shown the way to Mass number two at SP. Maybe 20 people. The choir tried, but there was only a handful of choir members. There was something going on at the mother church and many went up there for that special service. Instead of shaking hands with the little kids at the greeting of peace I just grab a bunch of them and we have a great group hug. I hope that they get the message that they are really and truly loved, not just by me but by the one whom we are celebrating each Sunday, their great friend Jesus.
     After that we took communion to two sick members, one a real old gogo (granny) and the other just too sick to go out of the house. They were so grateful to know that the community hasn't forgotten them or written them off. Then we went to Mike's home for bite to eat and a slowing down. Mike's wife is one of those women who have at least 5 over-active thyroids, and she just slipped and banged her right foot against a mean, dirty old steel leg of another machine. And it did some serious damage so she has to wear a boot in the hope that it can heal on it's own. If now, it means an operation. We will wait and see. Her name is Net (short for, I believe, Annette)
    Then Mike Pillay, (the same Mike) the leader of this community asked to be dropped off at the mother church to be with those who went for the special service. When we got there and went to the priest's house, I was greeted with shouts and hugs " Fr.Cas, are you still alive!!!" I used to help out there when I was at the retreat house at Mariannhill and got to know them well. We love each other. It was nice.
     Then, there is another old gogo whose husband passed away a few years ago and who lives nearby. So I figured that as long as I am so close I may as well drop in and say hi, which I did, and, of course, she was very happy. Any good Zulu Catholic woman won't let you out of the house without food and a blessing. Since I had just come from a full meal, I managed to beg my way out of the food part, and the blessing was fine for me.

Dikonia Council of Churches—1) Diakonia lecture award to Rochard Trevor Dobson, architect, working for the city of Durban. Aug. 11, 2014

2) Speaker for the evening—Jim Wallis president of Sojourners—HOPE TO A DIVIDED WORLD

Here are some notes that I took at that lecture which was excellent for being applicable to us here in South Africa which, I believe, was his focus.

*One of the main issues that must be on evryones’ agenda is definitely gender justice.

*We approach everything through our Christian Faith which means that we believe in the Incarnation, so that the incarnation becomes contextual—bringing God to the streets (not up in the sky somewhere)

*When he asked some 14 yr. olds in Soweto about the challenges of rape, abuse, corruption, etc., seemingly hopeless, their response was “ we will see to it!” (e.g. full of hope)

* He received a letter from a prisoner in Sing Sing prison asking him to come to talk to them about hope in a pretty hopeless situation. He came. They discovered that most of them came from the same 5 neighborhoods. It was as though they all got on that same train that led straight to Sing Sing. After their conversion, they were determined to “ stop that train.”

* Love God with all your heart and all your soul and all your strength, and your neighbor as yourself. He said that he only realized the specialness of love when his two sons were born. He would do anything for them. To love your neighbor, then, was to love other kids as much as you love your own kids.

*Youth are not so interested in church these days but they are attracted (Pope Francis is living proof) by Christians doing what the youth think Christrians should be doing.

* The turning point for many is that text from Mt. 25 “ whatever you do to the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you do to me.” He said that the evangelicals are finally getting it together.

* Here in South Africa it is clear that after the elections in 1994, and Mandela as president, it is not “ mission accomplished”.

* The new generation asks lots of questions, and he says that is good, they should ask questions. Skepticism is not cynicism.

* Hope (hope for a divided world) in not a feeling, it is a decision that comes from our Faith. Believing in spite of the evidence to the contrary—and then watching the evidence slowly but surely change.

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