Welcome to the website of the Catholic
Diocese of Johannesburg as constructed by the Department for Evangelization. We appreciate
your visit and trust you will find here information which is relevant and challenging.
Back in 1975, Pope Paul VI wrote the
following in which is probably his most famous letter "Evangelization in the Modern
"Our century is characterized by the
mass media and the proclamation of the faith cannot do without these means. When they are
put at the service of the Gospel they are capable of increasing almost indefinitely the
area in which the Word of God is heard; they enable the Good News to reach millions of
people. The Church would feel guilty before the Lord if she did not utilize these powerful
means that human skill is daily rendering more perfect. It is through them that she
proclaims from the housetops the message of which she is the depositary. In them she finds
a modern and effective version of the pulpit'.
These words were written before the advent of fax machines,
e-mail, videos and the internet. Who knows what communication media will become available
in the years beyond 2000. But for the present it is with a degree of excitement that we
begin to participate in the Internet and use it as a tool for evangelization.
If you surf the net you will find information on
practically every subject imaginable including information on all kinds of religious
topics and it is imperative that the Church too has its voice heard. Locally in
Johannesburg we would like that our point of view, ideals, policies and practices be
publicly aired not only for our own members but for the world at large. We have compiled a
directory of other Catholic Church websites which are
currently available. To view these and other websites visit our online Christian Directory.
However the primary purpose of this website
is to promote, encourage and support renewal and evangelising initiatives within the
Diocese of Johannesburg in accordance with the above mentioned letter of the Pope Paul VI,
as well as the thrust given to this by the present Holy Father in his letters "Mission
of the Redeemer" (Redemptoris Missio), "The Vocation and Mission of the Lay
Faithful', (Christifideles Laici) and naturally
"The Third Millennium" (Tertio Millennio
While not really expecting people to read
the full documents mentioned above, the main thrust of renewal in the Diocese of
Johannesburg can be described as efforts at collaborative ministry and empowerment of the
Empowering the laity means giving them the
tools (formation, training, skills) to enable them to be involved in the mission of the
Church and collaborative ministry implies creating opportunities for the laity in which
they can exercise their "empowerment'.
The basis for all this is the fact of their
Baptism and subsequent Confirmation (cf Vocation and
Mission of the Lay Faithful 14) which gives them the responsibility and the right to
witness to the Lord as members of the Church.
In practice this has involved the training
and formation of Pastoral Councils to help them move from focussing on the 'running of a
parish' to promoting evangelizing initiatives among the parishioners. This is a major
paradigm shift in pastoral thinking both on the part of pastors as well as laity. There
are a number of programmes and courses currently available in the Diocese with this in
Apart from the training and formation of
Pastoral Councils there is the newly established Bible College at Rosettenville
(435-7997), there are the Bible courses offered by Fr. Austin (788-8401), there are Life
in the Spirit Seminars (453 7201) and there are the Alpha
Courses (see this Website). This is not all, but they are enough to make the point
that there is a new life in the Church in Johannesburg. Of course, the whole country not
just Johannesburg is following closely the preparations for the Jubilee
2000 as outlined by the Holy Father.
The message is getting through that the
Church exists to evangelize that all of us are the Church, and that the mission of Jesus
is our mission: that is, to help people to renew and personalise their relationship with
I trust that you enjoy your time surfing
God bless you.
Father Barney Mcaleer
Department of Evangelization
Diocese of Johannesburg
4 July 1999