We have around 30 Priests half of whom belong to the Diocese, some are on loan from other Dioceses and others from Religious Orders. We also have two Hermits! The Diocese is supported by 8 Religious Congregations of Sisters. We presently have eleven Seminarians at various stages of formation for the Priesthood.
There is an estimated number of 7% Catholics in South Africa. The Diocese of Dundee is largely rural with two or three medium-size towns. The Diocese covers some 52,000 sq. miles! The predominant indigenous language is Zulu while English is the public language in the country as a whole.
Much time is spent with the 35 Parishes. Besides this “maintenance” work, the Parishes have many “outstations”. If we can speak of the ‘more Churchy’ Missionary activity, then it is in the outstations that the ‘social mission work’ is mostly done. Having said that, much work needs to be done especially with the Youth. With the ongoing Covid-19 lockdown we are having to re-think the way we function and are beginning to put more emphasis on the Family and the local Small Christian Communities within the Parish.
Some of our most significant work is being done in the ‘more social’ mission area. Increasing hunger and the need to support undernourished children has always been with us, however, the situation has worsened with the advent of Covid-19. Our Caritas Organization oversees a sizeable number of our social projects. Besides the established institutions like the larger Orphanage, a Home for the Aged, the small Crèches and a Clinic, there are four important projects that are reaching to people in great need. They are;
- uMusa woMsinga (meaning the grace of the area called Msinga): The Augustinian Sisters and the Community have reached out to many Orphans due to AIDS. Collaborating with others they have started a computer center and built 250 small houses for these most vulnerable children.
- The Franciscan Minoresses work with abandoned and neglected Children in a location east of our main town of Newcastle. In this work they are collaborating with the local Chief who supports them. The Sisters have two places where they care for these Children, ensuring that they get one good hot meal a day. They also help them with their school work.
- The Yakhumndeni Project (“Build the Family”) also cares for Children and Orphans. It is being relocated to the old Bishop’s House by the end of February. We are excited about this development which is long overdue.
- In the north of the Diocese, we have renovated an old Pastoral Centre and are literally one month away from opening St Joseph’s Centre. Initially the project will accept Intellectually Disabled Children between the ages of 6 and 12. The process of Registration has been very onerous, but we now have the Certificate from the Department of Social Development. We are happy that it is happening in the year dedicated to St Joseph.
The Catholic Church is highly respected for the contributions to the community, work that we do with respect, reverence and gratitude.
The Diocese of Dundee is assigned to Our Lady of Perpetual Help, Lakeside for Missionary Cooperation Plan 2021.
By Bishop Graham Rose, Diocese of Dundee