(Province of Bloemfontein)
PATRONS: The Immaculate Conception
St Francis de Sales
BISHOP EDWARD RISI, OMI
Appointed 5 July 2000 and consecrated 14 October 2000 at Upington
PO Box 323
Tel & Fax: (054) 461 1846
History of Diocese
Formerly part of the Central Prefecture, the Missions of Namaqualand came under the care first of the Missionaries of Lyon in 1872 and then of the Oblates of St. Francis de Sales in 1882. In 1884 the territory was established as a separate Prefecture Apostolic and became the Orange River Vicariate in 1898. The name was changed to Keimoes Vicariate in 1940.
On the establishment of the Ecclesiastical Hierarchy in South Africa, 11 January 1951, the Vicariate became known as the Diocese of Keimoes. Canonical possession of the new See was taken on the 10 July 1951. The name of the Diocese was changed to Diocese of Keimoes-Upington by the Sacred Congregation for the Evangelisation of Peoples in 1985.
This Diocese is bounded on the West by the Atlantic Ocean; on the North, by Namibia and the Republic of Botswana; on the East, by the eastern limit of Gordonia and Prieska districts; on the South, by the southern boundaries of Prieska, Kenhardt Williston, Calvinia, Van Rhynsdorp, and Vredendal districts.
Former Bishops: Bishop John Maria Simon, OSFS, consecrated 21 September 1898, Titular Bishop of Thaumacos, died 21 November 1932. Bishop Odilon Fages, OSFS, Titular Bishop of Mulia, consecrated 30 September 1928, died 14 October 1939. Bishop Henry Thünemann, OSFS, Titular Bishop of Coridala, consecrated 3 October 1940, named first Bishop of the Diocese of Keimoes 1951, retired due to ill health 12 September 1962, nominated Assistant at the Pontifical Throne 16 May 1965, died 18 August 1965. Bishop Francis Esser, OSFS, consecrated 30 March 1949, named Co-adjutor Bishop to ailing Bishop Thünemann 1956; succeeded to the See of Keimoes 12 September 1962, died 8 December 1966. Bishop John Baptist Minder, OSFS, consecrated 10 January 1968, resigned 5 July 2000, died 14 August 2009.
Area: 272 265 sq.km.
Total Pop: 331 980
Cath. Pop: 60 501
Bishop’s Coat of Arms
Explanation of the symbols:
- OMI Emblem: The Bishop’s Religious family
- The Open Bible: The poor have the Good News preached to them
- Figures with bow and arrow: The first people who lived in the area of the diocese
- Palm trees: The Cathedral Church at Pella
- Plants next to the palm trees: Signs of life in the desert
- Two persons touching the Cross: The people of God embrace the Cross
Motto: “Die Kruis: Bron van onse Lewe” (“The Cross: Source of our Life”)