Our day "officially" starts at 7.00 am with the celebration of the Mass but bishops are in the chapel much earlier than that. It is seen at every plenary session.
Our morning Eucharist is never done in a hurry and it is always very well prepared. Each "Metropolitan Province" (Bloemfontein, Cape Town, Durban, Johannesburg and Pretoria) is entrusted one day of the plenary session with the leading of all the prayers.
The working session normally starts at 8.45 with morning prayer and finishes at 6 pm with evening prayer.
"The joys and the hopes, the griefs and the anxieties" (these were the first words of the pastoral constitution "Gaudium et spes", 1965) of the people in our dioceses and all over the world are always present in our prayer: being Botswana, South Africa, Swaziland or Iraq, Gaza...
|(From left) Bishops Sandri (Witbank), Masela (Polokwane), Rodrigues (Tzaneen)|
The "restructuring" of our Bishops' Conference has been given plenty of time as, having been working on this for more than a year, we feel it is time to implement it. It will hopefully also change the content of our meetings, giving less time to matters of "administration" and more space to reflection and discernment.
Our days are always packed with matters we need to talk about together. In the last two days, together with "restructuring", we also spoke about the coming extraordinary synod on family, the year of religious life (being launched at the end of November by Pope Francis), catechetics, liturgy, permanent diaconate, finances (of course!) and we had the launched of two publications (but I leave this for another post!)...
Many times, the different Metropolitan Provinces meet in the evening for a while. Being together, it is a good opportunity to catch up with matters without having to call for another meeting.