About Diocese

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 About our Diocese

The Catholic Church throughout the world is divided into administrative units called dioceses. Each diocese is headed by a bishop. In some cases (as in South Africa) those dioceses which are of greater political importance are called archdioceses and are headed by an archbishop. In South Africa there are four such archdioceses, one of which is Cape Town.

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Because Cape Town is the seat of parliament and the legislative capital of South Africa, it is ecclesiastically known as a metropolitan diocese - with the dioceses of Aliwal, De Aar, Oudtshoorn, Port Elizabeth and Queenstown as its suffragan sees.

These other dioceses rely to some extent on Cape Town for ecclesiastical support, although they are in no way subordinate to Cape Town.

The territory of our present diocese (formerly included in the Aliwal Diocese) came into existence on March 24th 1953. On that day it was made a Prefecture and entrusted to the missionaries of the American Province of the Priests of the Sacred Heart. The Rt Rev Mgr AJ Dettmer SCJ was appointed the first Prefect Apostolic.  By decree of the Holy See, dated April 13th, 1967, the Prefecture was elevated to the status of a Diocese.

The boundaries of the territory of De Aar Diocese are: Aliwal Diocese to the East, Kimberley Diocese to the North, Keimoes Diocese to the Northwest, Oudtshoorn to the Southwest, and Port Elizabeth to the South. 

The diocese comprises Britstown, Colesberg, De Aar, Graaff-Reinet, Hanover, Hopetown, Middelburg, Murraysburg, Noupoort, Petrusville, Philipstown, Richmond and Strydenburg districts.


Area: 67 248 sq km.           Tot Pop: 164 000               Cath. Pop: 5 786


PATRONESS of the Diocese is Our Lady of Assumption 



Read about the Patroness on the Cathedral page 



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