Parish of Maria Ratschitz, Dundee, South Africa
Twinned with The Parish of Brentwood
Maria Ratschitz Parish - Crimmond Church
Maria Ratschitz – Our Twinned Parish
The Diocese of Brentwood is twinned with the Diocese of Dundee, South Africa and so each of the parishes of the Diocese of Dundee is twinned with a parish in the Diocese of Brentwood.
Our Cathedral parish is twinned with the parish of Maria Ratschitz, which is in the KwaZulu-Natal province of South Africa. The centre of the parish is at the Maria Ratschitz Mission where Fr Tom, the parish priest is based. However, the parish extends many miles over rural areas and has a number of outstations, the most significant being at Matiwane.
The past year has seen a re-newed focus on Maria Ratschitz. It started in July 2009 when a meeting was held in the parish hall, to which all parishioners were invited to attend. The aim of that meeting was to gather ideas on how we could strengthen the bond between our two parishes. Naturally, there was a focus on what their needs are and how we can help them.
The meeting was well attended and there was a great deal of enthusiasm to build relationships with Fr Tom and his parishioners. However, practical difficulties regarding language and communication mean that is has been difficult to progress a number of the suggestions. We are hoping to enhance the communication links and, ideally, looking for someone to visit Maria Ratschitz to bring back first hand experience. This would really help to build rapport between the parishes and enable our parish to engage more fully with the project.
Despite these practical difficulties we have found ways in which we can build the bond between our parishes. In particular, we now have two retiring collections each year (May and November) for Maria Ratschitz.
In 2009 we raised £3,511.28 of which £3,000 has been used by Fr Tom to supply a water borehole in Matiwane (the largest outstation in the parish). We have received some wonderful photographs from Fr Tom showing us the joy that the borehole has brought to the people of Matiwane!
The New Water Tap
Fr Tom has told us that:
“I wish you could have witnessed their joy and excitement when we opened the tap and water came flowing out”
Our next project is to raise funds to build secure accommodation for Fr Tom at Matiwane. At the last retiring collection in May we raised £658.52 towards this project, which together with the amount carried over from last year means we currently have £1,169.80 to make available to Fr Tom.
We regularly pray for our twinned parish in our bidding prayers and in May 2010 we were delighted to welcome Bishop Graham who celebrated Mass at the Cathedral and brought us news of the Diocese of Dundee.
The challenges for the year ahead are to continue to raise the profile of Maria Ratschitz throughout our parish and to galvanise support within our parish for Maria Ratschitz.