Last Sunday, women members of the sodality of St Anne, travelled from their dioceses in South Africa and Swaziland to Sabie (Mpumalanga Province) in the Diocese of Witbank for their "bi-annual inter diocesan convention". They will stay there until Friday.
This morning we travelled with Fr Ncamiso Vilakati and Fr Giorgio Massa IMC to Sabie to join them for the celebration of the Mass to be presided by Bishop Jan de Groef, bishop of Bethlehem.
Impressive. At least 1500 women had registered since Sunday. As today's dress code was "traditional" it was very easy to identify the delegation from the diocese of Manzini (most of them in the photograph above).
The theme of the convention is "Women of St Anne's as sowers of hope".
It reminded me that some months' ago, young people in the diocese of Manzini thought of "hope" as their motto. The interesting thing is that for them "hope" meant: "Hold On, Pain Ends".
For us, "hope" is "a person". Hope is the child born for us, the one we are preparing to celebrate at Christmas. Hope is that Jesus who promised to be with us always.
At the same time, it is also true that for many people, "hope" includes a "p" of pain and that is why during these days, the members of St Anne will also reflect on "human trafficking" and on "holding the family together in these challenging times”.
So, when they will be "sent" again (they will be reflecting on Jesus' words in the Gospel of John 15:16 “…I have sent you forth to go out and bear fruit…”), they will have to combine going out towards others and going back home where Jesus, our hope, needs to be daily at the centre of our lives.
|About 40 priests were present at today's Mass|