On the 14th of May 2014, at St John Vianney Seminary, we had the pleasure of celebrating the installation of the students who are in the second year of their Theological studies as Lectors. The Ministry of Lector marks an important stage in the journey of those preparing for the Priesthood. The celebration commenced at 17h00 with Holy Mass, presided over by Bishop Peter Holiday of the Diocese of Kroonstad, with some 18 Priests concelebrating. At the start of Mass the Rector of SJV, Fr Molewe Machingoane, welcomed the Bishop, as well as the student masters of different religious congregations, and all present at this special occasion.

Before the homily, Fr S’busiso Sithathu presented those who were to be installed as Lectors to the community of SJV and to the Bishop. In his opening words, the Bishop said, “it is a good evening, an evening of joy” and then he spontaneously intoned the song “thulela moya wa hao Jeso, dipelong tsa rona Jeso thulela moya wa hao” (Jesus pour your Spirit into our hearts), which was welcomed with great enthusiasm by all of those present, joining him in singing. Thereafter he mentioned that SJV was also his home, and that it felt good to be back home.

During the homily he told us about the recent ad limina visit to Rome where the Bishops of Southern Africa had the great privilege of meeting with Pope Francis, telling us how the Pope warmly welcomed them with a smile, and described him as a truly holy man with great humility. As it was the Feast of Matthias the apostle, he told the students that they must be dedicated to the gospel as Matthias was, because we can only take the step that we have taken through a loving relationship with Christ because Christ is our friend. In formation, academics plays a role, for as we read the teachings and documents of the Church, we come to know more clearly what the Church expects from us. However, it is not only academics that are important, but also, vitally, growth as a human person, because through personal and spiritual growth, we become friends with Jesus and those around us. As Jesus said in the Gospel “love one another as I have loved you.” It is important to have Lectors in the Church because they bring the good news to the people of God. Bishop Peter also reminded us that Vatican II calls Lectors to be mindful of the ministry that they have undertaken, and to stay with the Lord and remain always in His presence. He further reminded us that Pope Francis says God is calling all in ministry to serve out of love of service, “putting on” Christ, who came to serve and not to be served, and to be aware of the simple life that we are called to live, constantly being at the service of others.

What was touching is that after the homily the Bishop called those who were to be installed ‘sons’. It was a good feeling and I am sure that our new lectors saw that our Bishops really do love them, and us as seminarians, and that they are always there for us as students and spiritual sons.

It was indeed a memorable day in the life of the SJV Community!

By Tshepo Maseko