"The Catholic Church in the 21st Century" (Diocese of Manzini)

Financing the formation of the diocesan seminarians is never easy. If it is heavy on any diocese, much more on the Diocese of Manzini that has to send them to South Africa (adding study permits from the SA government, health insurance...).

Bp Ncamiso Ndlovu OSM (who died last year) always tried to raise awareness among the people of the diocese that the time had come to 

At the end of 2012 a "Seminarians Education Fundraising Committee" was born at the end of a breakfast meeting on this matter. Soon after that they presented the idea of having a fundraising event at diocesan level, inviting a speaker to talk on "The Catholic Church on the 21st Century".  The idea was to link the event to the "Year of Faith" called by Pope Benedict XVI last year and to the preparation for the centenary celebrations in the Diocese next January 2014.

The idea was welcomed. At the same time there was some "fear" regarding its success. Would the people respond to it?

Tickets (from 50 to 200 Emalangeni) were sent to be sold in the parishes. Then came the first unexpected news: people were not so much interested in the 50 Emalangeni ones but wanted the 100 Emalangeni!

The chosen speaker was the archbishop of Johannesburg: Buti Thlagale OMI to whose Metropolitan Province the Diocese of Manzini belongs. He immediately accepted the invitation even though he is in a sabbatical year. 

Arriving in Manzini on Friday evening he met the members of the Committee for supper at the Bishop's house and made himself available to share on the experience of the Archdiocese of Johannesburg.

Saturday was the day! 

The weather was not the best. The temperature had dropped, it started raining... but the people did not disappoint the organisers. The big hall was practically full showing the commitment towards the financial support for the formation of the diocesan seminarians.

Archbishop Thlagale did not disappoint. In his usual clear and direct style he spoke for more than an hour starting from the resignation of Pope Benedict XVI and Pope Francis' new approach to the laity, women in the church, priests' struggle with alcohol and sexual abuse, Pentecostal churches, inculturation...

Time had been set aside for questions but having seen how vast and clear he was it was then decided there was no need for that. Instead another collection was done to which people, once again, responded generously.

Different Catholic choirs provided the entertainment of the day. They were all excellent. Below... a taste!


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Bishop of the Diocese of Manzini (Swaziland)

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