De Aar - St John's Mission
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De Aar – St. John’s Mission
A bit of history
On the first February 1924 Rev. Father W. Hauer was appointed priest-in-charge of De Aar town, Mission and district. On the same day the Holy Cross Sisters arrived to conduct a European school in town and to start a Native school in the Location. It was with great difficulty that a room in the Location to serve as a temporary school was procured and on the opening day, 26 pupils presented themselves.
The Catholic population of the Mission numbered 25 Coloureds and 13 natives, all of whom attended Divine Service in the town chapel. Britstown, Carlton, Hopetown, Middelburg, Naauwpoort, Rosmead, Colesberg, Douglas and Burgherville-Road werealso served from De Aar and the amount of work which they entailed soon called for the services of a second priest. In May Rev. Father A. Maennersdoerfer was, therefore, appointed to assist Rev. Father Hauer. Later the district was divided. Father Hauer being entrusted with Naauwpoort and Rosmead, and Father Maennersdoerfer being placed in charge of De Aar Mission.
All efforts to acquire a piece of land in the Location on which to erect a school proved for a time to be fruitless. Providence then came to the aid of the Mission and in 1924 Mr Appavoo, a De Aar merchant, made a munificent gift of a large and very suitable piece of ground to the Mission. Rev. Father Maennersdoerfer, who had just been given charge of the Mission supervised the erection of a church and Priest’s house, school-rooms and Sisters’ apartments. On the 14th March 1926 Rt. Rev. Monsignor F.W. Demont blessed the new church and the school whose numbers had by then risen to 60.
In 1927 Rev. Father P. Platten took over the care of the Mission and was succeeded in 1930 by Rev. Father V. Wamhof who, in turn, was succeded by Rev. Father C. Holzenkamp. From 1927 to 1935 the Mission flourished and the numbers on the school roll rapidly increased. 1935, however, marked the beginning of a period of great difficulty for the whole Vicariate including De Aar. The Vicariate could no longer support the Mission and the school was not government aided. A time of privation and sacrifice ensued and the Mission was almost on the point of closing down. Again Providence intervened. After much negotiation, a government grant was obtained for the school.
In September Rev. Father Holzenkamp was appointed Superior of the Priests of the Sacred Heart in the Vicariate and had, therefore, to take up residence in Bethulie. For a year Father Maennersdoerfer returned to De Aar Mission but was later replaced by Rev. Father C. Rosenbaum.
The church had by then become far too small for the congregation and a new one was an urgent necessity. Its erection was the work of the boys of St. Joseph’s Trade School under the capable supervision of Rev. Father T. Demont. The beautiful church was opened in October 1942 by His Lordship Rt. Rev. Bishop F.W. Demont.
In 1943 a crèche was built by the same architect and masons. The number of children daily cared for in the crèche rose from 25 in 1941 to 80, the number present at the opening of the new building. A period of progress again set in and soon the class-rooms were inadequate for the many children desiring admission to the school. Visibly God’s blessing was on the Mission. In 1946-47 a new spacious building was erected which included four class-rooms, a dispensary and a kitchen for the requirements of the government feeding scheme.
In January 1947 Rev. Father Rosenbaum was called to St. Joseph’s Trade School and Rev. Fathers Schultz and Bea were put in charge of St. John’s Mission.
The Patronal Feast:
Liturgical celebration: December 27 – feast.
About the Patron of the parish
St. John, the Apostle
One of the first disciples of Christ, son of Zebedee and brother of James the Greater, he became the beloved disciple, the only disciple at the Crucifixion, where He accepted the care of Mary. After the Council of Jerusalem he went to Asia Minor, where he took care of Mary before she died. Later he traveled to Rome, escaped martyrdom from boiling oil, and lived in Patmos. Returning to Ephesus, he penned the Fourth Gospel and three Epistles. Because of his theological brilliance he is symbolized by an eagle in art.
(taken from: Dictionary of the Liturgy by Rev. Jovian P. Lang, OFM)
Priest in charge:
Fr Albert Post
De Aar 7000.
Tel: 053 631 1149.
The time of services:
Holy Mass: Sunday:
Outstations: St Ann’s – Hanover,
Christ the King of Peace - Richmond,