Pastor’s Corner for the Thirteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year A, by Fr. Bruce Botha SJ

July is Safeguarding Month


During the month of July, the Archdiocese of Johannesburg focuses on safeguarding and our safeguarding committee has decided to use the opportunity to present information to us which we may not always be aware of. At the end of each of the first three masses of July, the committee will take 5 minutes to address the following questions:


1st Sunday: What is abuse?

2nd Sunday: What are the goals of the archdiocese safeguarding policy?

3rd Sunday: What is the role and responsibility of the parish safeguarding committee?


On the 4th Sunday of July, the monthly parish faith talk will be given by our director of music, Mr. Cameron Upchurch, on the general topic of eucharistic devotion and the liturgy. This is to tie in with Pope Francis’ prayer intention for July:


We pray that Catholics may place the celebration of the Eucharist at the heart of their lives, transforming human relationships in a very deep way and opening them to the encounter with God and all their brothers and sisters.


It is fair to say that when anyone of our members is wounded, the whole body is wounded. In baptism and in the eucharist we become part of one body, and that body is Christ’s. This means that the wounds inflicted on each other are also wounding the body of Christ, the Church.


The 5th Sunday of July is both our parish celebration of the feast of St Ignatius of Loyola and the Archdiocesan celebration of Safeguarding Sunday. During mass, we will take up a second collection for the work of safeguarding in the Archdiocese. Instead of a homily, we will have a short, guided reflection as we consider our own personal wounds and also the wounds which we may have caused others. I and other priests will then do an anointing of all those who desire it. This is not only for those who may have been abused but for all people who have experienced some form of wounding in their lives which calls out to the lord both for healing and for forgiveness.


There will be two counsellors in Trinity Hall after both morning masses should anyone need to have a conversation about their experiences or feel that they need help.


Both safeguarding and healing are journeys that we make, firstly as a community but also as individuals. As a parish community, we have begun that journey, trying to make our parish a safe and welcoming space for all people. We also want to reach out to all of those who may have been hurt, to journey with them towards a fuller healing.


Fr Bruce Botha SJ