It was with great sadness that the Staff and Students received the news that Fr Stanley Masilompana passed away on 13 March after a time of illness. Fr Stanley, from the Archdiocese of Johannesburg, was a visiting lecturer who lectured Canon Law at SJV since 2012. A number of members of staff and students attended his Funeral held on 21 March at Christ the King Cathedral in Johannesburg, while we gathered as a community in the SJV Chapel on the evening of 26 March 2014 where a memorial Mass was held to remember and celebrate the life that Fr Stanley lived before he passed on.
The mood and atmosphere in the chapel was quite moving, as if seminary was celebrating the Funeral Mass for the deceased priest. The Mass was presided over by Bishop Dabula Mpako, the Chairman of the Seminaries Commission, with Bishop Joao Rodrigues from Tzaneen Diocese, and Fr Malesela from the Archdiocese of Johannesburg, together with the rest of the formation staff of St. John Vianney Seminary as the concelebrants. In his welcoming address, the Rector, Fr Molewe Machingoane reflected on the commitment and dedication that the late Fr Masilompana had shown towards his work as a lecturer at the Institution. The Memorial Mass then proceeded with graceful and moving songs sung by the seminarians. In his Homily, Bishop Mpako alluded that Fr Stanley’s sudden death could teach us to “stay ready” and to “live in the now” so as to prepare ourselves for the end of our earthly life just as the deceased did while he lived through the untiring commitment he showed towards his ministry which was evident to those people who still hold him dear to their hearts.
Towards the end of the Mass Bishop Mpako blessed the Plaque on the Memorial Board, whereafter a tribute to Fr Stanley was given by one of the students, Boshom Mpetsheni (see below the text of this tribute). Thereafter, in his address, Fr Malesela highlighted his closeness to Fr Stanley since from schooling age until they were both priests. Finally, a vote of thanks on behalf of the seminary was given by Fr Masilo Selemela (Vice Rector) where he presented a specially prepared memorial candle and sympathy card, signed by all staff and students, to be given to the family of Fr Stanley. May he rest in peace!
By: Gabriel Caleni
BOSHOM MPETSHENI’S TRIBUTE TO FR STANLEY
Allow me to share this great man whom I knew with you! I never thought the death of someone unrelated to me by blood, would crush me as yours did, FR Stan, T – Man.
In the silence of my room upon receiving the news of your departure, I did not know how to react, it was so unbelievable! Yet I knew you were sick.
With a heart full of pain I gazed on my friend, Abel Maluleka’s eyes, and immediately I recalled the day when we first met you.
It was just immediately days after your Priestly ordination in year 2007, when you were appointed an assistant parish Priest to the Late Fr. Lionel Sham, in Westonaria.
O death, why! Firstly it was Fr Lionel, now so soon it’s you Fr Stan. O death, why!
But I guess you have done your part, in serving the Lord at his altar as a Priest, a ministry you admired and valued above all else. An insight which you shared with me this very year in January when I and the other brother seminarians from the Archdiocese of Johannesburg went to visit you, but I did know that the time we left you was the last time to see you in this world.
I recall how you so wished to return to the seminary and teach Canon Law, a discipline which you loved with all your heart. And indeed you were an intelligent man, a gift which was so vivid in your utterances. While you were so strict, you always spoke the truth, something that we don’t always want to hear. With your words of wisdom you always knew what to say to every person of any kind.
Your homilies and your style of preaching, penetrated right in the core of one’s heart. You knew how to arouse the inner hunger for God in persons whom you encountered.
You were a man of a strong moral character, a priest who loved the Church, a priest who was effective in his ministry, a mentor, a friend, a brother, a colleague to others, an inspiration, but now you are no more of this world. O death, why!!
With these words I do not mean to glorify you, nor to open up wounds of those who dearly held you in their hearts, but simply, to give testimony to a life which touched the lives of many peoples. Perhaps this is why I was so broken when I heard about your passing on, there is so much to say about you, but brothers and sisters this is a man I wanted to pay tribute to, Rev Fr Stanley Setlakala Masilompana. May his soul rest in peace!