The celebration of the
Solemnity of St. John
on Sunday, 22nd June 2008,
at Blessed Gérard’s Care Centre,

09:30 High Mass

Main celebrant: His Excellency, Bishop Xolelo Thaddeus Kumalo, the new Bishop of the Diocese of Eshowe

Our members John Schnell and Caroline Clark represented the Most Venerable Order of St. John

(left) Our member Johan Viljoen, the project coordinator of the HAART Programme of the South African Catholic Bishops' Conference
(right) Celicia Serenata, the
Treatment Advisor of the Care and Treatment Branch of the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)

Brother Bernard Pachner O.S.B. celebrated his 50th jubilee as a missionary in South Africa on this very day with us!

Bishop Xolelo Thaddeus Kumalo delivering his sermon: "The Brotherhood of Blessed Gérard plays a prophetic role in our country..."

Father Bishop Kumalo blessed the membership medals for the new members of the Brotherhood of Blessed Gérard
after the sermon.

The new members were solemnly received and presented with the membership medal (in the picture: Mr Victor Himunchul, the Vice Principal of our Children's Home.)

Then Father Bishop blessed all new members.

The festive assembly

Our administrator Susanne Stauffer during the prayer of the faithful

Blessing and opening of the major extensions to Blessed Gérard’s Care Centre

Bishop Kumalo blesses a room in the extension of the Children's Home

the new board room

the new study room of the Children's Home

the new play room of the Children's Home

and the new dining room of the Children's Home.

11:00 Festive function

Father Gérard welcomed our new bishop Xolelo Thaddeus Kumalo and congratulated him for his appointment as Bishop of Eshowe. He vouched allegiance that we as a catholic association will carry on being an instrument of the Church to make Christ’s love felt through our charitable work. Father acknowledged the great honour that just a few days after having been ordained as the new Bishop of Eshowe he already comes to us. Speaking on behalf of the entire Brotherhood he wished him God’s blessings.

Father presented Bishop Kumalo with a statue of "Our Lady of Africa" (uMama waAfrika).

A special Welcome was given to Celicia Serenata from the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), who had joined us as an active member after years of supporting us financially out of her private pocket.

Then Father Gérard welcomed the 20 new staff members since Blessed Gérard’s Feast on 14. October 2007  (who enabled us to effect a major restructuring and improvement of organisation): Hlengiwe Nyakeni (Caregiver – Children's Home), Pretty Thabile Sithole (EN – Residential Care, Hospice), Thamsanqa Jeffrey Gumede (Bookkeeper), Sr. Fikile Doris Buthelezi (RPN – Residential Care, Hospice), Nkosingisizile Lorraine Mbatha (Receptionist), Cebile Linda (Kitchen Assistant), Dr. Sikhumbuzo Khayelihle Nzimande (Medical Practitioner), Buhlebuyeza Brenda Mthethwa (EN Home Care Programme – Hospice), Thokozile Promise Mnguni (EN –Residential Care Programme - Hospice), Hlaleleni Betrina Biyela (RPN – Training Programme - Hospice), Victor Martin Himunchul (Educator & Vice Principal – Children’s Home), Mlungisi Mthokozisi Xulu (Maintenance Assistant), Fred Norris (Maintenance Technician), Sr. Mirriam Makhoba (RPN – Home Care Programme – Hospice), Duduzile Primrose Mchunu (EN – Residential Care Programme – Hospice), Nkanyiso Fire Mlotshwa (Caregiver – Home Care Programme – Hospice), Hlengiwe Precious Dube (Social Worker), Nozipho Monica Mkhwanazi (Laundry Assistant), Lindiwe Cynthia Vilane (Child Caregiver – Children’s Home) and Fanelesibonge Cynthia Ndwandwe (Crèche Assistant).

Father Gérard congratulated our benfector
Br. Bernard Pachner he celebrated the 50th anniversary of his missionary assignment today. Br. Bernard had passed on the gifts for his jubilee to us!

Abbot Godfrey Sieber O.S.B. will celebrate his 40th anniversary of missionary assignment later this year! Our congratulations and good wishes!

A belated birthday wish to our member Father Albert Herold, who turned 80 in February 2008.

Reason and purpose of building the extensions:

Blessed Gérard’s Children’s Home looks after and gives a home to children, who are in need of a home, since 2000. Prior to building our extensions it was full to its capacity of 40 places. Up to eight children had to share a bed room (i.e. in the babies’ room). We built a first extension to enable us to provide double-bed-rooms for our older (secondary school age) children in a family-type setup, where they can grow up as they would in a real family getting introduced to “real life” by participating in cleaning, shopping, cooking, washing dishes, washing and ironing their laundry etc. This will increase our capacity by 10 places. A second extension provides a larger dining room, a play room and a larger study room for the younger children. We would love to build a third extension providing 28 more places – exactly in this room, where we are sitting now - (for primary school age children), but whether or not we can do this will depend on the success of our fundraising.

We started Blessed Gérard’s Hospice HAART Programme in 2003. It provides Highly Active Anti Retroviral Therapy (HAART) for poor AIDS patients free of charge – through the generosity of the people, government and presidency of the United States of America, who initiated PEPFAR, the US President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief in Africa. They channel their support for our programme via the Catholic Relief Services (CRS) to the South African Catholic Bishops’ Conference (SACBC), which maintains the largest non-governmental AIDS-treatment-programme worldwide. We are proud that we were the third of all 24 treatment sites, which got involved in the programme.

It was our member Mr. Johan Viljoen, who had invited us in 2003 on behalf of the South African Catholic Bishops' Conference to become part of the programme. He is the project coordinator now and we enjoy his most friendly and helpful patronage.

Our HAART Programme used the facilities of the Inpatient unit of Blessed Gérard’s Hospice until now. We constructed a new HAART Clinic to create more privacy for our AIDS patients and better consulting rooms for our doctor and nurse and safe storage for the antiretroviral medication.

We provide our services to the people free of charge as they would have no means to pay for them anyway and therefore we are most grateful to all our donors:

We thank all donors who enabled us to build the extensions:

  1. Sternstunden e.V. (1.6 Million Rand) enabled us to build Extension No. 1 to Blessed Gérard's Children's Home.

  2. Herzenssache e.V. (1.3 Million Rand) enabled us to build Extension No. 2 to Blessed Gérard's Children's Home.

  3. RHI Refractories (220,000.00 Rand) + promised 222,000.00 = 442,000.00 Rand enabled us to build new offices & staff accommodation.

    Mr. Albert Render, the managing director of RHI Refractories in iSithebe had proposed our cause to his headquarters and presented us with the first installment of their donation earlier this year.

  4. Mundo Compartido (149,461.61 Rand) + promised 274,012.95 = 423,474.56 enabled us to build our new HAART Clinic.

  5. The Diocese of Regensburg/Germany promised 373,654.02 Rand.

  6. The Archdiocese of Paderborn/Germany (247,857.17 Rand).

  7. Manching Parish/Germany via Aktion Dreikönigssingen (184,713.50 Rand).

  8. Malteser München/Germany (62,275.67)

  9. Anonymous donors (40,000.00 + 21,000.00)

  10. And many many more

A special vote of thanks was given to the builders: Mastercraft

Gregory Meyer & his team: Jayson Pillay, Shashin Seonath & Ernest Luhlongwane

The professional building team: Harry Ramsunkar – architectural draftsman, Rowan Shuttleworth – civil & structural engineer, Alan Mckay & Alison Stewart of Walker Mare – Quantity surveyor and all the subcontractors: SEC Electrical, Ideal Airconditioning, Lenkru (Ironmongery), etc.

We commemorated 15 years of operation of

Blessed Gérard’s Relief Fund: We help people in our area in genuine cases of immediate need, for example food aid, clothing, re-construction, counselling.

Blessed Gérard’s Bursary Fund: We give bursaries to poor pupils and students from our local community. We spent > 600,000.00 in these 15 years.

Blessed Gérard’s Malnutrition Clinic: We run a clinic, where we examine, treat and feed malnourished infants and teach their parent or carer in proper baby care. We spent nearly R 500,000.00 and fed countless children in these 15 years. Many of those would otherwise have died from starvation.

Special thanks to Sister Nokuthula Thabethe, who has run the clinic since its inception.

Blessed Gérard’s Friendship Club: We organise meetings to enable the elderly to get out of their isolation and socialise with others. Mrs Yvonne Renaud had started the Club, Mrs Margarete Hawthorn took over from her and Mrs Joyce Buss is in charge today.

Present the President’s Award of the Brotherhood of Blessed Gérard for 2008

The President had to make an exception to the rule (that the Award is given to the one who has most excelled in loyal service): If he had given the President’s Award to the person he first thought of, it would not have been right to do so disregarding the other person he was thinking of as well. These two persons come in a double-pack anyway and would well serve as an example of undivided existence. Therefore The President's Award of the Brotherhood of Blessed Gérard for the Year 2008 was presented to […] for their three year full time voluntary service as Active Members of the Brotherhood of Blessed Gérard, their dedication to look after those entrusted into our care, especially in our hospice and our children’s home, their valuable involvement in our pastoral work, leadership, public relations, maintenance and hospitality. Signed at Mandeni on the twenty second day of June 2008

And the two recipients of the one award are: Reverend Deacon Thomas & Mrs. Angelika Müller.

A final Thank you was given to Susanne Stauffer, Caroline Beaumont & Carolyn Nunn, who had shared the main load in the preparations for this wonderful celebration.

12:00 Lunch, refreshments and entertainment.

Father Bishop says grace

Children from our Pre-Primary School & Crèche

Children from our Children's Home

and other singers

and dancers enjoyed everybody.

This page is part of the Newsletter No. 28 of the Brotherhood of Blessed Gérard

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This page was last updated on Tuesday, 15 January 2013 12:50:21