Following is the Lenten Appeal Message from the National Director of the Southern African Catholic Bishops’ Conference (SACBC) Lenten Appeal from Bishop Ashley Tillek, OFM.
Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
As we begin this Lenten Season of 2022 with Ash Wednesday, we give thanks to the Lord for this opportune time and pray that He will guide us during this season of Lent. The past two years have been very challenging with the pandemic that has kept us indoors and away from our parish communities.
Now as we are returning to our parish communities, to the new norm, we would like to begin this season with the news that we have a new Liaison Bishop, Bishop Duncan Tsoke the bishop of Kimberley. We take this moment to welcome him and thank him for his spiritual and mutual support in the Bishops Lenten Appeal Office. We welcome you aboard Bishop as a member of the Bishops Lenten Appeal team, and we are looking forward to working with you during this period, you are therefore most welcome.
The Popes this Lenten message this season really challenge us to change our ways. That is what Lent is about. We focus our lives on the three pillars of Prayer, Fasting and Almsgiving. As this Lenten season begins, we start off with the pillar of Prayer. Let us in a special way pray for our local church as we return to normal after the pandemic. But also let us pray for the greater Church especially the people in the Ukraine and Russia, to allow the spirit of peace to come down upon them.
Fasting is an important part of Lent. This gives way in our lives to let go, of those things that complicate our lives. Let us listen to what our Holy Father says we need to do this season, and that is to renew ourselves and our communities. This will help us to understand the Paschal Mystery as we are preparing for the Resurrection of the risen Lord.
The last pillar is that of Almsgiving. This is a time we ask the faithful to give generously and open-heartedly. You give through the regular Sunday collections; our envelopes are available and these you know and are familiar with. The bishops kindly ask that you support the poor and the needy and the works of the Church during this period of the Church. Please my brothers and sister open your heart, it is only during Lent that the Church won’t be asking for any other special collections. The six weeks of Lent is set aside for the Bishops Lenten Appeal.
Due to the pandemic the last two years we all felt the financial strain, so much so that we could not reach as many people who needed our help. Our offices in the bishops’ conference also had to cut down on staff. Because of these lower collections, we could not support the Church as we wish to. Our prayer today is that our local clergy will also encourage the faithful to give more freely to the Bishops Lenten Appeal.
I repeat the message of the Pope for 2022, “St Paul speaks of a Kairos: an opportune time for sowing goodness in view of a future harvest.” Let this Lenten season be an opportune time for us to give freely.
In conclusion, please read the Pope’s message this year and use it to assist you in the spirit of prayer, fasting and almsgiving. Please find the Pope’s message on the www.sacbc.org.za website.
May God bless you
Bishop Duncan Tsoke Br Ashley Tillek, OFM
Liaison Bishop for BLA National Director for the BLA