SOUTH AFRICA: Use Home time to Deepen Personal Relationship with God, Bishop Sipuka Urges

MTHATHA, APRIL 7, 2020 (CISA) – Bishop Sithembele Sipuka of the Catholic Diocese of Mthatha has called on Christians to use the time on lockdown to reflect on their relationship with God at a personal and family level.

“Most people are rightly concerned about not being able to attend church, particularly during the Holy Week leading to Easter. It feels awkward as priests not to be able to minister, say Mass and administer sacraments…It has also been noted that painful as this inability to worship in a normal way, it is a providential time to get to the heart of religion, namely to make religion serve a transformative personal contact with God instead of fulfilling a social expectation,” he said in his April 2020 reflection.

“This period, can be profitably used for reflection, prayer, self- examination, for reading those books that one has been postponing to read, for resting and above all to unite oneself with this global pain and anxiety in prayer,” he noted.

The bishop encouraged clergy to make up for lack of contact by keeping in touch with the faithful through phones and those who can, by live streaming daily  Masses.

The bishop also noted with concern that people who live by vending and doing piece jobs are struggling to fend for their families due to the 21-day-lockdown in the country.

“We pray to God that the lockdown will bring the desired effect and people can get on with their ways of making a living. What can we do for these people now, I ask myself because we are not able to go out, even if we could help some with food parcels? What shall we do when the lockdown is over because the indications are that the situation will get worse economically; if the recent 3rd junk rating of our economy is anything to go by? More and more people will not afford the basics,” he posed.

“It looks to me that we will need to continue in an intense way with the programme of feeding the hungry. Possibly this situation may call on us as clergy and religious to share our own food because resources from the faithful only will not be enough,” he noted.