Pilgrims gathered for a paraliturgy which was led by Fr Solly Mphela OFM at St Therese, Edenvale, to start their journey for the commemoration of the Hyams Cause Launch anniversary. The official opening of the Diocesan Inquiry was on 10 April 2021.

The official process for declaring someone a saint is called the Cause of Beatification and Canonisation. The first stage of the process begins with the official opening of the Cause by the bishop of the diocese where the servant of God died and the appointment of a postulator to assist in its promotion. Prior to the presentation of the Cause to the Holy See’s Congregation for the Causes of Saints, verifications of whether the candidate enjoys a true and widespread reputation of holiness and of intercessory prayer was done.

The cause for the beatification of Domitilla and Danny Hyams is special as they are a couple. “Their married and family life is one of the many aspects that made them, to be seen worthy for sainthood.” said Fr Phuti Makgabo as he was addressing the pilgrims. “A canonized couple is venerable, just like any other couples the Hyams faced problems and challenges in their lives but is is how they dealt with them in a Christian way that we can learn something from them. If it happens that the Domitilla and Danny be canonized it would mean that they would be the third couple in the church and the first in Africa to have that honour.” he added.

One of the reasons the pilgrimage started at St Therese, Edenvale despite being the parish in which the couple both attended is that it is one of the petitioners of the cause together with Little Eden and the Archdiocese of Johannesburg. Initially the couple was buried at Bapsfontein in Pretoria and they had to be exhumed and their remains had to be placed in a crypt at the parish. As one of the requirements is that the remains of the candidates must be in the diocese in which the cause has been enquired hence the transfer.

Concluding the paraliturgy Fr Solly Mphela OFM said a prayer of blessing pilgrims before they departed for Bapsfontein. The arrival of the pilgrims at Little Eden Society Home, Elvira Rota Village, Bapsfontein started with a walk into the chapel while praying the rosary.

The holy mass was presided by Bishop Masilo John Selemela, auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese of Pretoria with Fr Solly Mphela OFM and Fr Tshepo Duik concelebrating. The choir of St Philip Neri, Moletsane led the singing.

In his homily the bishop highlighted that pilgrimages are important in the tradition of the church. “People go to sanctuaries and holy places with the aim of encountering God. These become places of renewal where the spirit of God is felt. Through the intercession of Domitilla and Danny the servants of God and their prayers before Him you will be internally renewed, rededicated and re-encounter God in a special way.” he said.

“This place will soon become a sanctuary where miracles will take place provided we are open to that because having received the grace of God we ought to be sanctuaries and be a blessing to other people.” He added. Looking at the life of the Hyams he said, “There is a relationship between our spiritual life and the apostolic zeal. Since Danny and Domitilla experienced a God who is loving, merciful and none judgemental. They were eager to return these values by welcoming people whom society have abandoned and fear. They saw it fit to create an environment of compassion and mercy where the dignity of humanity will be valued.” Emphasizing the quote of St Teresa of Calcutta when she said ‘If you judge people you will have no time to love them.’ the bishop elaborated, “when we judge we miss out on the opportunity to love, we lose out on a whole lot of experience to get to know a person better and when you open your heart to love we grow into holiness. We must love Jesus and put him at the centre of our lives. Prayer changes situations and if fervently do so, God will answer us.” He concluded.

During the sign of peace, the bishop blessed all the children of Little Eden who were present at mass. After mass pilgrims had lunch and had an opportunity to explore the labyrinth and visit a set of chimes built near the wetlands and sensory garden where they were able to have private devotions and prayers.