Graduation 2018. Keynote Speech: Prof Paul Henry Gundani (Ph. D.; LL. B.) [gview file="http://sjv.ac.za/wp-content/uploads/2018/11/KEYNOTE-SPEECH-DR-P.-GUNDANI.pdf"]
The celebration of the vespers of the feast of St. John Vianney.
The feast of St John Vianney is marked by a solemn celebration of the vespers on the evening preceding it. This year the vespers were characterized by excellence. The celebration was well prepared for, from the singing of the psalms to the meal afterwards. The psalmody was sung in a harmonious way and the Presider, Rev. Fr Lubabalo Mguda gave a moving homily on the life of St. John Vianney. He Began his homily by pointing out the ambition every seminarian, assistant priest and a parish priest has, the ambition of transforming a simple parish into living, vibrant and God fearing parish. He pointed out the fact that St. John Vianney exactly did that with his simple life. Fr. Mguda reflected on the life of St. John Vianney and related it to us, telling us that we share the same ambition of bring people closer to God.
He brought the life of the saint into the contemporary world, in today’s life and time. He reflected on how we should also desire to be the tools that bring people closer to God. In doing this, he made an example of the three things the saint was known for – the tools he used. His first tool was the Eucharist, his devotion to the Blessed Sacrament gave him the ability to connect to God and, being close to God, he was able to draw people to the source of life. His second tool was noble simplicity. That is, his ability to move people. Although he was a priest, he was a simple person and his simplicity brought humility. His third tool, was the sacrament of reconciliation. He brought hope to people after the revolution by helping them reconnect to God through this sacrament. He took a rural parish he worked at and turned it into a world pilgrimage site using these three channels. The homily was centered on how God made St John Vianney outstanding in his priestly zeal and concern for the people who were entrusted to his care.
The celebration of the vespers in this solemn manner, and the reflection on the life of the saint really gave us courage to be like this great saint. It gave us the courage to use his life as an example and, in prayer, to ask God to enable us to win our brothers and sisters, for whom we work, by the love of Christ. It inspired us to try to become like the good shepherd that lay down his life for his sheep.
By: Thabo Mifi