Friday, November 25, 2011

Living the Faith

I went with friends to visit an Anglican church called St. Augustine’s.  The church is located in a township neighborhood that suffers from poverty, high levels of violence and crime, and high HIV/AIDs rates.  In response to the hardships that surround the church, St. Augustine’s runs a feeding program five days a week in which they provide meals for vulnerable children and those living with HIV/AIDs.  On top of this, members from the congregation make home visits around the township to identify those suffering and at-risk.

St. Augustine’s is by no means a wealthy parish.  In fact, compared to many of the churches in the United States, it would look as if St. Augustine’s were in need of help.  Yet, during the week, St. Augustine’s functions almost as a non-profit social service center for the neighborhood.

During our visit, I leaned into my friend to try and describe St. Augustine’s commitment and devotion to helping the poor, sick, and those who truly are in need.  As I struggled to find words, my friend looked at me and simply said, “They are living the faith.”

Friday, November 4, 2011

Something to Sing About

A couple of weeks ago the Minister General for the Society of Saint Francis stayed at the monastery.  After his stay he wrote a reflection in which he described the work the brothers at the Mariya uMama weThemba Monastery are doing:

“I’m staying with some friends, the monks of the Order of the Holy Cross at Mariya uMama weThemba Monastery. They sing all the time. The songs get in your brain: antiphons, hymns, choruses. Moreover, these song-filled men live courageously. They are building a school for 60 local children in Grahamstown, South Africa. Sunday Mass is full of neighbors, black and white. They are creating a community based on justice; Gospel values of hospitality, care for the poor and following the way of St. Benedict.  As Gandhi advised, they are being the change they want to see in the society around them. It’s their answer to the corruption and violence around them, and I think it is something to sing about!”

Here is the link for the most recent issue of Uxolo, the monastery newsletter: