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St Theresa Church

This church started in the 1950s when a church leader named Simeon Seherrie use to travel every Friday after school by bicycle from Middelburg to Noupoort to visit the parishioners and conducted classes for them.

Father Benedict Gasiorowski, SCJ, together with Simeon visited the parishioners in Noupoort and the farms once per month and returned after Sundays.

Holy Mass was celebrated once a month in the house of Frans Mauts because a church had not yet been built. During the other weeks in the month, Simeon Seherrie conducted the word service in the absence of the priest.

As the members started to increase in number, the first church was eventually built near the railway lines in the old blockhouses. The management of the Railways instructed all those churches that were built in that area to move out and find places elsewhere for their buildings. The Roman Catholic Church was the first church to go and erected another building in New Brighton Location which is today known as kwaZamuxolo. The building was used for fundraising activities. By then, Fr. Aloysius Dettmer SCJ was in charge of Noupoort and also used to come and show movies (bioscope) to the people for entertainment.

Simeon Seherrie and his family moved to Noupoort and he was sent to Mariannhill to be trained as a catechist and later received a medal and a certificate. He passed away in 1969.

Sr. Odalinde Heiss OP from Middelburg was one of the sisters who used to come every week on Wednesdays at 3 p.m. for catechism classes during Fr. John Strittmatter’s (SCJ) era.

Sr. Imeldine Witteven OP, who was also coming from Middelburg to come and help with catechism also stayed in Noupoort in one of the houses that were bought by Bishop Joe Potocnak. She organized a choir and introduced the English hymnbook during the time of Fr. Colin Bowes.

Other sisters who were also coming from De Aar to work with the Sodality of St. Anne and the youth were Sr. Joy Mathaha OP, Sr. Christine Seruwe OP and Sr. Pauline Makunyane OP, and Sr. Joy Mathaha OP, who later also stayed in Noupoort in order to render assistance at the hospice.

There were many priests who served the parishioners of St. Theresa in Noupoort who ensured that the people of God participated in the Holy Mass during the week and on Sundays. Some of them stayed in a house that was built in Reguit Street No. 5 before it was demolished.

The following is a list of priests who served the community. Fr. Baaij SCJ (bishop of Aliwal North), Fr. Bernard Zicke, Fr. Joseph Nugent SCJ,  Fr. Kevin McInnis  SCJ, Msg. Aloysius Dettmer SCJ, Fr. John Strittmatter SCJ, Fr. Joe Potocnak SCJ (bishop of De Aar), Fr. James Howley SCJ, Fr. Mokesh Morar, Fr. Adam Musialek SCJ (bishop of De Aar),  Fr. Colin Bowes and presently (2017) Fr. Paul Kościelny SCJ.

In the late ’60s, Dick Soto and Knox became the leaders in the parish and became members of the Sacred Heart Sodality with another group of men.

Dick Soto was sent to Lumko in 1974 to be trained as a catechist in Lady Frere. He was helping Fr. Joe Potocnak SCJ in visiting farms for Holy Mass accompanied by his wife, Ria and children to help with prayers and singing at Poortjie, Oorloosgpoort, Jakkalsfontein and Hantam.

In the diocese of De Aar, there were music competitions organized during the Diocesan Day and in 1975 in October, St. Theresa Parish won the competition singing “Amazing Grace”.

Dick Soto also worked with Fr. Colin Bowes and then the other leaders like Mr Madjan, Kaki Stofile, Sipho Magungu, Klaas Jacobs, Alfred Jacobs, Philip Thomas, all of whom are deceased, were trained. The leaders who continued to serve with Fr. Colin Bowes as ministers of the Eucharist were Gilbert Phantsi, Errol Thomas and Marcel Barendse.

The parish has a parish council who received training and who, from time to time participate in retreats.

The Sodality of St. Anne’s, St. Vincent de Paul, Sacred Heart and Catholic Women’s League were also functional in the parish.

Fr. Colin Bowes built a hall for the parish and extended the sacristy.

Fr. Paul Kościelny SCJ is now in charge of this parish after Fr. Colin Bowes retired to do pastoral work in Noupoort.

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