Retreat Helps Ease Rural Priests’ Isolation
By Selby Makgotho – Priests in rural areas are often isolated from one another, so it is important that they come together from time to time, according to the bishop of Polokwane diocese.
Bishop Jeremiah Masela led priests from his diocese at the Mater Dei Pastoral Centre outside Mokopane on a week-long retreat.
The retreat included reflections, sharing of experiences, common prayer, and mutual encouragement.
“Priests are often alone in their parishes, busy leading and guiding their parishioners, and so at times, they need to come together,” Bishop Masela explained.
“Our diocese is vast and mainly rural, and so we encourage priests to share and reflect on their different experiences, so they can learn from each other to develop and help to grow the Church,” he said.
“Together we are aiming to assist each other in overcoming challenges. The experiences differ from one parish to another, and this is the reason we need to be together at times to confront the challenges of poverty and violence in our society,” the bishop said.
Bishop Masela said he was pleased with the journey undertaken in one week.
His message to priests was simple: “Let’s pray together to uplift our communities.”
The bishop said priests left the retreat “fully recharged” and “with a new sense of vigour, strength, and courage”.
“We are pledging to work together to pray for the many social ills confronting our communities,” he added.
Meanwhile, the Polokwane Diocesan Procession, a gathering of all Catholic parishes in the diocese, will take place on September 22 at Mater Dei, starting at 07:00 and culminating with a Mass.