Archbishop Abel Gabuza: New Graduates be the ‘Light of the World’
BY KATLEHO MOHANOE – South Africa’s bishops are depending on the country’s priests to help implement their new pastoral plan, to be released this year, according to the coadjutor archbishop of Durban.
Addressing the 14th graduation ceremony of St Joseph’s Theological Institute (SJTI) at Cedara, KwaZulu-Natal, Archbishop Abel Gabuza told the graduates: “We will need your skills, we will need you to help us in implementing the pastoral plan.”
Besides Archbishop Gabuza, notable guests included Archbishop Buti Tlhagale OMI of Johannesburg, who is the grand chancellor of SJTI, and Cardinal Wilfrid Napier of Durban.
In his keynote address, Archbishop Gabuza congratulated the graduates and emphasised that the bishops are counting on them and other priests to truly effect the new pastoral plan.
“You know quite well that organisations have many wonderful documents; the challenge is how to implement them,” he said.
The archbishop called on the graduates to serve the Church, and to remember that every Catholic, by virtue of baptism, is called to be an evangeliser; noting that this is not a role belonging only to priests and bishops.
He quoted the pastoral plan document: “We, the Church, the family of God in Southern Africa, commit ourselves to working together with others for the good of all, responding to the cries of the poor and the cry of the earth.
“We will do this through worship, proclamation of the word of God, formation, advocacy, human development, marriage, family, youth, justice, peace and non-violence, healing, reconciliation, and care of creation.”
Archbishop Gabuza said his passion is to give local Catholics a sense of ownership of, and belonging to, the Church, and asked the graduates to help ensure this is realised.
“I appeal to you, graduating students, to become part of this collective effort. I appeal to you to become the light of the world,” he said.