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Monday, February 20, 2017

Feb. 20, 2017
Wow! Again. Where does the time go!!! Almost two months. Holy Moses. Well, lets’ try to summarize.
   Aside from the grass cutting, lots of requests for help have come in…repairing or building a house, school fees, other needs for school, emergencies for people, school debts that have to be cleared up before their test results will be released, grannies trying to support the grandchildren that have been left to their care (many are the children of parents both of whom have died), etc. etc. etc. I am keeping track of what went where and to whom and, if I get around to it, a kind of profile of people we have been able to help because of the contributions you made for just that.
     I was really caught off guard when a friend whom I have known as a teen ager and who has been looking after my vehicle needs passed away suddenly. I was with him and his wife one Wed. evening, discussing family things when I remembered that someone had pointed out that one of my brake lights wasn’t working. When I mentioned that to him, he immediately jumped up out of his chair, took a look at the lights and replace a burnt out bulb with a spare that he had at home. When he finished that we went back into the house and continued our conversation. I left there about 9:15 at night. The next morning, after cutting the grass for most of the morning when my phone was on my desk, I checked a message and was told that he, Neil, had passed away at 6am the next morning, about 8 ½  hours since he put in the new globe. Never been to a doctor or hospital. Never sick. Wow, what a shock. Now next Sunday I will celebrate a memorial Mass for him and the family on the 40th day since we took him to the crematorium.
    I have been saying Mass every day, Mon. to Fri. at the hospital to claim our space there. Sometimes there is no one there but mostly a few of the staff come to get nourished for the day’s work in the hospital.
     Fr. Macarius, who is now almost completely blind has been suffering terrible itching so I took him to a dermatologist, Dr. Reddy. She was very kind and prescribed for him all kinds of creams, especially for his back. He seems to have gotten a lot of relief from that, but he still, from time to time has problems and he thinks that it has something to do with what he eats that he may be allergic to.
     From the 18th to the 25th, I was in Cape Town. Our travel agent was so kind as to offer to pay for the flight as a kind of gift. It was a beautiful gift and I was able to connect with many old friends that I hadn’t been able to see for years now. Being near the Atlantic, I ate a lot of fishy stuff. Ha. I am a carnivore, but I want to support local industry. I  put up at a friend’s place, a fellow retiree, and he was so kind as to cook for me regularly when we didn’t go out for a bite. He spoiled me, but I am not complaining. It was great to be with him. We concelebrated almost every day at a convent where he helps out regularly during his retirement. How does a priest retire???
     A few days after I returned from C.T. I headed off to Mthatha for our Provincial Chapter ( a meeting of all the Mariannhill guys who belong to the Mthatha province, like me, to get reports on who is doing what and to tackle problems and make plans for the coming year…things that have to be done, etc. ) It was hectic and the days were full as the meetings lasted for the whole day for two days. The last day, Feb. 2nd, is our Feast day, the Presentation of the Lord. It is the day when we re-present ourselves to the Lord by renewing our vows. It was also the 50th anniversary of priesthood for one of our confreres, Fr. Winfried, and I was given the honor of presenting the homily for him . He had asked me not to canonize him that day so I told him we would put that off till the next day. Ha. I had also been asked by the Provincial to get him the gift of a book. I phoned him to ask what kind of book he would like. He said, “history”. I pushed him further and then he said something about Trump. So I got him something about Trump that is very recent, 2016. I hope it helps him to understand what kind of person the world is having to deal with…some call him a serial liar… others say he is a psychopath…other have other ways of describing him, so, maybe the book helps him to understand who he really is and where he is coming from and where to he is taking.  Us and the world to.
     The next happening is that I was invited, some time back, to give the homily (sermon) at the memorial of Archbishop Denis Hiurley’s 12th anniversary of his passing. Many people say that he is the best Cardinal that Africa never had. He was an icon and the foremost fighter against apartheid (among us Catholics) here in South Africa. A truly great man, head and shoulders above any one else in our Catholic clan. I was scared thinking that for a man of such stature, they should have a Cardinal or at least an Archbishop to do that job, but the ones responsible for organizing insisted that my name was top of the list so I reluctantly, and hesitatingly, and scarily, agreed. I preached at all 4 masses, 3 in English and one in Zulu. Ha. My Zulu. I even go to tell a joke that he told long ago to emphasize that he had, among other things, a great sense of humor. The first mass was on Saturday at 5:45 after the opening or the Denis Hurley Museum, and the Cardinal was there as well as the main celebrant. I had to laugh because it is the first time that he had to listen to me preaching. Usually it is the other way around. The Sunday Masses, 7:45 (English), 10:00 (English and Zulu) and 12:00 (Zulu) were packed. I didn’t sit down from about 7:20 as I got dressed for the first Mass till 2pm when finally all was over. I was exhausted, but very happy to have this honor, privilege, event behind me. I thought that now I could relax but that very Sunday night, or early Mon. morning my car and three others , was broken into (again) and the radio and hands free were stolen as well as the spare tire (which we later found abandoned in the bush). They got into the car by smashing a small window in the back and using that way to pull up the locks and get into the car and open the boot (trunk) to remove the spare wheel. Of course that meant police report, insurance report, replace the broken window, run around getting quotes, all of which took most of the week, with the normal stuff squeezed in between. I have to go now as we are being called to lunch. See you  a bit later
    I am back and it is about3 hrs. later…8:30pm.
I continue to get up at 4am every morning and go to the hospital for a  6am Mass. We just want to claim our space. I usually visit the patients to whom I bring communion and have some interaction with some of the other patients as well.
    I get back to MD (Mater Dolorosa… the name of our Old Folks home…for breakfast and, if it isn’t raining, I work outside in the garden for a bit. In the morning, watch the news at 10am (What nonsense did Trump get up to since yesterday, always entertaining) and have lunch and a nap (usually a half hour to an hour) and then tackle things here at the computer.
     I seem to have the housewife’s syndrome, e.g. I am always tired. Ha. It has been really hot (in the 90’s) for most of last week, and it drains the energy out of one. I have visited a few homes, and kept myself busy on the whole but in the evening, I had even given In to the urge to jump into the fart sack early, even as early as 8:30 sometimes. What is happening to me!!!
    Hey, I just got a notice from the insurance company that they will pay to replace the car radio that was stolen so I went and picked it up. Now it has to be installed and I don’t have a clue.
    I also have to renew my passport which will expire in October this year after 10 yrs. That also means that I will have to go to Home Affairs to have my permanent residence permit transferred over to my new passport, when ever I will get it.
    Tomorrow I will be trying to help a lady get her child into St. Francis College. The child has severe diabetes and the least change in her diet brings on almost coma-like collapses. She would like for her to study here but the hostel is full. The secretary said it might be better to try to get her in as a day student. There are quite a few who come from the middle of Durban Central, where she comes from, so it is possible and maybe even a good thing is they travel together just in case she needs some help. And mom and watch the diet better than a boarding school can.

So, I say, good night and I would like to promise that I won’t delay so long next time but I have tried that before, promising myself and now it is almost 2 months. Sorry about that. Pray for us old buggers. Love and Peace, Fr. Cas.

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