Catholic Schools Should Be Communities of Faith, Learning: South African Bishop

Bishop Duncan Theodore Tsoke of South Africa's Kimberley Diocese. Credit: SACBC

The Catholic Bishop of South Africa’s Kimberley Diocese has said that Catholic schools as communities have a responsibility of upholding and promoting faith and learning as two natural partners that cannot be separated.

In his Wednesday, February 16 homily at St. Boniface High School opening Holy Mass in Kimberley Diocese, Bishop Duncan Theodore Tsoke explained that mathematics and science subjects seek the truth about the physical world while languages and music are about understanding people and their cultures.

“Catholic Schools are still called to be communities of faith and learning. Faith should not take the place of learning; neither should learning push faith into the background. Faith and learning are natural partners,” Bishop Tsoke said.

The South African Bishop said that faith is beyond the material world because it seeks the truth that gives meaning to the universe and to the existence of humanity. He said the truth sought is God himself and that no one can survive without God.

“Sometimes we ask why things are going wrong out there. It is because we abandoned God. We have even pushed God in our schools; we have pushed God in our families and we wonder why things are going wrong in this world,” he said.


Bishop Tsoke underlined the importance of prayer in one’s life and encouraged the young people to take prayers seriously saying that praying should never be perceived as a waste of time.

He cautioned against excessive use of social media and urged young people to be prayerful and to make it a habit every morning even if it will mean just making the sign of the cross.

“The first thing you should do when you wake up in the morning, you should not be browsing twitter, Facebook, WhatsApp…All that you need to do when you wake up is to make the sign of the cross,” the South African Bishop said.

The Local Ordinary of Kimberley Diocese challenged young people in the Southern African country to be ambassadors of change describing them as future leaders who need to be well equipped on how to handle challenges of life.

“As we need young people who are concerned about what is happening in our society, we want young people to do something, to bring about change. This world is about you; you are future leaders, but you are leaders of today; we need young people who are very active in ending violence in our society,” Bishop Tsoke said.

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He encouraged the youth to be courageous and hopeful and also to live the Catholic faith in their daily undertakings for the rites performed during the Holy Mass to have meaning in life.

“As a Catholic school, our faith is about what we say, for our rituals to have any meaning or value must influence the way of our lives or the way we live. Christ Jesus is a light for our footsteps. My dear young people, again I want to say to you, do not be afraid, have courage, have faith,” he said.

He explained, “As learners, it is of paramount importance that we develop this attitude or this characteristic to enable us to find favor in everything we do, as learners, the skill to listen should be our priority in our lives, for he who listens always has a better chance to understand and listen to others.”

The 57-year-old Bishop spoke further about prayer saying that most prayers go unanswered because people of God do not understand that prayer is not just pouring problems before God, but it is about listening.

“Prayer is not just saying a word. Prayer is listening to what God is saying to you. Sometimes we wonder why our prayers are not answered and yet what we do is to bombard God with words without giving him a chance to respond to us,” Bishop Tsoke said.


The South African Catholic Bishop who has been at the helm of Kimberley Diocese since April 2021 encouraged learners to embrace the word of God and use it to counter the challenges they face in their studies and general life.

“Let the word of God guide us in our lives; some of you will go through frustrations, intimidations, difficulties in your studies, fear, loneliness, rejections, procrastinations but do not be discouraged rather be encouraged by the word of God, which will encourage you during trying times,” Bishop Tsoke said.

“I am appealing to each one of you, open your hearts, Jesus is free; you are not paying anything. Whatever is bothering you, please put it on this altar, leave your troubles and problems here. Ask God to give you courage, ask God to give you wisdom to change your life for the good,” he said.

He further spoke to the learners of St. Boniface High School about the need to be ambassadors of hope saying, “Jesus is offering much hope; today I want to appeal with each and every one of you, wherever you are please be the prophet of hope; give people hope; do not be a prophet of doom.”