The Church of St John’s is based in North Riding, Johannesburg, a warm and welcoming Catholic community.
Mass Times & Confession:
(During Ordinary Time)
Public Holidays: 8:00am
9:45am (From 14 February 2016)
Saturday: 10:00am – 11:00am
Prayed prior to the Mass on Monday, Wednesday and Friday at 8:30am.
Benediction & Mass every 1st Friday of the month from 7pm to 8pm.
A Perpetual Novena in honour of Our Lady is prayed at every Wednesday Mass
A Pastoral Letter of the Catholic Bishops of Southern Africa to the Catholic Community and all People of Goodwill.
Dear Brothers and Sisters,
“…Remembering the mercies of God … let the renewing of your minds transform you, so that you may discern for yourselves what is the will of God – what is good and acceptable and mature.” (Romans 12:1-2)
In this spirit, we pray that the upcoming Elections will constitute a further step both in bringing about the kind of society God desires for us and in giving us leaders, men and women of integrity who will build that society.
Twenty-five years after the memorable elections of 1994, we celebrate that we have been able both to defend and to develop our democracy. We are grateful to good and honest people who have worked heroically and selflessly in the service of the nation. We are thankful also that the foundational institutions of our democracy have stood the test of time.
Sadly, we have also come to see a darker side of political life. Recent Commissions of Enquiry have and are exposing individuals in both the political and corporate sectors who have tragically betrayed the public trust and placed their own self-interest ahead of the common good of the country.
The General Election of May 8th presents all South Africans with the opportunity to renew our vision for South Africa. We have the power to choose the direction our country will take. It is imperative that we choose wisely and courageously and not be distracted by false promises.
Tough questions that seek honesty and truth
Our primary concern as your spiritual leaders is that we choose leaders who will promote the good of all by living the values of the Constitution in the light of the Gospel. Pope Francis urges us to look for “politicians who are genuinely disturbed by the state of society, the people, the lives of the poor!” (Evangelii Gaudium, 205).
In this context we ask you: who do you think would –
- eradicate corruption more effectively?
- provide realistic programmes to overcome unemployment and poverty?
- appoint selfless public servants as leaders at national and provincial level?
- effectively reduce the level of violence tyrannising our people?
- transform those attitudes and practices which underlie the violence against women and children?
- respond effectively to the aspirations of our youth?
- fulfill the promises they make rather than disappoint us?
- protect our democracy and its institutions?
In short, who do you think would make us proud to be South Africans? Each one must answer these questions according to their conscience. We are challenged not to vote only to advance our own personal interests, be they interests of race, ethnic group or social and economic class. Rather we are called to vote in a way that will promote the common good.
Let us keep in mind the poor, the unemployed and the disadvantaged – it is Our Lord who reminds us that, whatever we do to the least of His brothers and sisters, we do to Him. (Mt 25:40)
A call for peaceful, free and fair elections
We each have a grave responsibility to create the environment of tolerance and acceptance which enables every South African to support and vote for the party that they choose, without fear of violence and intimidation. While this responsibility falls heavily on the political parties and the media, we urge the organs of State to proactively ensure the safety of all.
It is also the responsibility of each one of us to work for peaceful and free and fair elections.
We therefore urge political parties:
- to refrain from inflammatory, intimidating and inappropriate statements;
- to take visible, decisive action when candidates and their supporters are involved in acts of intolerance, intimidation, harassment and disturbance;
- to respect the election results;
- to do everything to ensure that the rule of law is respected.
We call on the media:
- to refrain from sensationalism,
- to report appropriately and responsibly for the benefit of the common good.
We call on you, Dear Brothers and Sisters, to assist the Independent Electoral Commission, to monitor these elections by doing the following:
- volunteering as observers,
- assisting with conflict management.
A call to prayer
Let us pray for peaceful elections that produce leaders who will always act justly, love tenderly, and walk humbly with their God (Micah 6:8).
We invite you to recite this prayer in your families and parishes as we prepare for the elections and also during the elections:
Almighty Father, As we approach the elections, grant us the wisdom and courage we need in order to make the right choices. Help us to carry out our duties as responsible citizens with respect for the rights of others. By voting in a spirit of humility and service, may we bring hope to the poor, unity to all our people and a more secure and peaceful future for our children. Father, do not allow us to become discouraged, Inspire us to contribute to the rebuilding of our country with vigour and generosity. Amen.
Recalling our opening words from Scripture:
“… let the renewing of your minds transform you, so that you may discern for yourselves what is the will of God – what is good and acceptable and mature…” (Romans 12:1-2)
We invoke God’s blessing upon you all and upon our nation.
Your Bishops, gathered at Mariannhill Retreat Centre, in Plenary Assembly, 12 February 2019.
Names of the Bishops:
Archbishop Buti Tlhagale OMI – Johannesburg
Archbishop Coadjutor Abel Gabuza – Durban
Archbishop Jabulani Nxumalo OMI – Bloemfontein
Archbishop Stephen Brislin – Cape Town
Archbishop William Slattery OFM – Pretoria
Bishop Adam Musialek SCJ- De Aar
Bishop Dabula Mpako – Queenstown
Bishop Duncan Tsoke- Auxiliary of Johannesburg
Bishop Edward Risi OMI – Keimoes-Upington
Bishop Graham Rose- Dundee
Bishop Jan de Groef MAfr- Bethlehem
Bishop Jeremiah Masela- Polokwane
Bishop Joao Rodrigues – Tzaneen
Bishop Kevin Dowling CSsR – Rustenburg
Bishop Mlungisi Dlungwane – Mariannhill
Bishop Peter Holiday – Kroonstad
Bishop Sigfried Jwara CMM – Ingwavuma
Bishop Sithembele Sipuka – Mthatha
Bishop Stan Dziuba OSPPE – Umzimkhulu
Bishop Thaddeus Kumalo – Eshowe
Bishop Victor Phalana – Klerksdorp
Bishop Vincent Zungu OFM – Port Elizabeth
Bishop Zolile Mpambani SCJ – Kokstad
Cardinal Wilfrid Napier OFM- Durban
THE STATEMENT OF THE ROMAN CATHOLIC CHURCH ON THE RECENT VIOLENT ATTACKS ON FOREIGN NATIONALS.
The Southern African Catholic Bishops’ Conference has observed with sadness the outburst of xenophobic violence in Durban which the Catholic Archbishop, Cardinal Wilfrid Napier has already condemned.
Our charter, the bible, is very clear “When a foreigner lives with you in your land, don’t take advantage of him. Treat the foreigner the same as a native. Love him like one of your own. Remember that you were once foreigners in Egypt. I am God, your God”. (Leviticus 19:33-34)
We understand the anger that the people may be feeling towards the foreigners for various legitimate reasons. However, we are a nation of peace; we are a rainbow nation. We conquered apartheid with very little use of violence and a settlement was reached peacefully. The same principle of Ubuntu needs to be applied in order to calm the recent spates of violence and unrest.
While we acknowledge that the utterances by His Majesty, the king of the Zulu nation, never meant nor intended this violence, we believe that he should categorically condemn this violence and publicly propagate the value of hospitality entrenched in the Zulu worldview “isisu somhambi asingakanani singangenso yenyoni ”. This would amplify his influence as a peacemaker and a loyal leader of the soil.
We commit ourselves to pray to God for this situation to be resolved and to be available as agents to broker peace. We also commit financial support from the SACBC Foundation for the displaced people.
We urge the foreigners and expatriates to avoid being involved in any unfair labour and illegal business practices. We also exhort them to expose those who are here illegally and report any criminal elements among them. This is to be expected of every responsible citizen, both foreign/expatriate and native.
We urge our society to avoid irresponsible use of social media. Many graphics and verbal postings do very little to change the situation but exacerbate the violence. Before posting, always ask yourself if it will bring any good or if it will fuel the conflict.
Finally, we urge the government to take leadership in this matter. Leaders of this violent movement should have been identified and confronted for dialogue and accountability. Issues that provide a context for this horrible violence need to be addressed immediately.
May all South Africans remember that “whatsoever you do to the least of my brethren, you do it unto me” (Matthew 25:40) and that the Freedom Charter (1955) says “South Africa belongs to all who live in it.”
Released by : Archbishop William Slattery, the Spokesperson of the SACBC
Enquiries : Fr S’milo Mngadi, SACBC Communications Officer
Tel : 012 323 6458
Cell: 072 110 8613
BENEDICT DASWA – Soon to be our South African Saint
Innocent Daswa was born in 1946 in South Africa and was a member of the Lemba tribe which followed Jewish rituals and laws. Daswa had three younger brothers and one sister: Innocent. Daswa worked as a herd boy before he attended school at Vondwe Primary School in 1957, followed by secondary school at Mphaphukli High School. When his father died, it fell to him to provide for his siblings. He did this by paying for their education while in the workforce.
Daswa was exposed to Catholicism through a friend he met in Johannesburg. He learnt about the Catholic faith and after two years of instruction, was baptized. He took the name of “Benedict” as he was inspired by Saint Benedict of Nursia.
Daswa converted to Catholicism in 1963 and became an active member of the church. He served as a teacher and catechist as he worked with adolescents and assisted families that endured economic hardship. Daswa was a highly respected individual in his local community, known for his honesty, truthfulness and integrity. He later helped to build the first church in his area and later became the principal of the school that he taught at.
In November 1989, storms plagued the area not seen as a natural phenomenon. When his village suffered strong storms in January 1990, the elders decided that they occurred due to magic and thus demanded a tax from all their residents to pay for magic to counter the storms. Daswa refused to believe this and said they were just a natural phenomenon and would not pay the R5.00.
On 2 February, after dropping a man home, Daswa found his path blocked by fallen trees and he was ambushed by a mob. When he got out of the car to remove them, a mob of young boys and men came from behind the bushes and began throwing large stones at him. Bleeding and injured, he ran across a soccer field hoping for assistance from a nearby Shebeen. Seeing an open door at the kitchen he ran straight in to hide and save his life. The mob who quickly chased after him, asked the woman there where Benedict was hiding, threatening to kill her if she did not tell them. Pointing to where Benedict was hiding, she pleaded, “Don’t kill me. He is inside”. Two of the mob entered and pulled Benedict out. Hugging one of them, Benedict pleaded, “Please, spare my life!” The youth responded, “OK. Let me go, we’re not going to kill you.” Believing him, Benedict went out.
Benedict could not escape, so seeing one of them coming with a knobkerrie, he knelt and prayed. The man hit Benedict on the head with his knobkerrie, crushing his skull. Benedict fell to the ground. Boiling water was then poured over his head, ears, nostrils and other injuries. His final words were, “God, into Your hands receive my spirit”.
The burial Mass was concelebrated on 10 February 1990. The priests wore red vestments because they believed that Benedict had died for his faith. It was his stance against witchcraft which had brought about Benedict’s death.