Anamulenge Pastoral Region
(Report by Fr. Jose Thomas Mamalasseril msfs)
St. Peter Canisius
Parish Anamulenge is situated in the northern most part of Namibia bordering
Angola. It is about 900 km from the capital city, Windhoek. Strictly speaking it
is not a parish, it is a pastoral region (District) consisting of 10 parishes
with 42 communities under its pastoral care.
almost 30,000 (thirty thousand) Catholics in this region under our care. The ten
parishes have parish leaders who are either from the laity or married deacons.
Once in two months we have the meeting of parish leaders and community leaders
to discuss the problems and plan out the programmes of the pastoral region.
This is one
of the oldest missions in the northern most part of Namibia which is also called
Owamboland, as this areas is inhabited by Owambo tribe, the biggest in Namibia.
This mission was
started in 1927 by German missionaries and later on the OMI congregation took up
the mission and worked here until 1999. From the year 2000 -2003 it was under
the care of Ugandan and Rwandan priests appointed by the Archdiocese of
Windhoek. In 2004 it was handed over to the MSFS with the appointment of Fr.
Jose Mamalasseril msfs and Fr. Baiju Kurian msfs as parish priest and assistant
To mention a few
good things that happened in the pastoral region since we took charge, 5 new
stone churches were built and blessed, confirmation of 866 candidates in 2005,
hundreds of baptisms at various age groups, many church marriages, rectification
of many marriage cases, bringing back to the catholic fold many who were not in
full communion with the church. The pastoral region also had the joy of thanking
the Lord when one of its son’s was raised to the Sacerdotal Priesthood in the
person of Fr. Wilhelm Eita. The Canisianum H. S School which under the mission
coming out with a wonderful performance in its first batch of grade 10 learners
is also note worthy.
A number of
programmes were conducted in the mission centre and in the different parishes
and communities for the faith formation and renewal of Christian life. There was
a workshop on family laws in which more than 80 people from different parishes
of the pastoral region took part, candidates from the pastoral region were send
for the catechists training to Windhoek and Okatana. More than 138 candidates
were trained to be communion and funeral service leaders. In the months of
August and September 2005 we conducted six retreats for the Catholic AIDS
Action Volunteers in different parishes of the region. In the month of
September there was a fund raising drive for the renovation of the mission
church through competitions, bazaars, lotteries etc. The response of the people
to it was spontaneous and tremendous. In the first week of December the pastoral
region witnessed gathering of more than 600 women delegates of NACAWA from the 4
different pastoral regions as they gathered in Anamulenge for the their annual
conference which lasted for four days.
One more Tribe for Christ
(Report by Fr. Baiju Kurian Mundackal msfs)
The ‘Ovahimba’ is one of the many
Tribes in Namibia. The semi nomadic pastoralists people of this tribe live
mainly in the North Western part of the country. They are an offshoot of Herero
tribe. The Himba women rub their bodies with a mixture of red ochre and fat to
protect them from the burning heat. Even today the women wear traditional body
ornaments and garments and have their hair styles that correspond to their age,
social and marital status.
Traditionally the people of
this tribe are ancestral worshipers. Thus, though Christianity came to
Namibia a few centuries ago, this tribe was not evangelized. However,
slowly they began to show a keen interest in the Catholic faith. As a
result the Benedictine Sisters of Tutzing at Ruacana (mainly Sr. Credula
and Sr. Pelagia along with Mrs. Demettilie and Mrs. Patricia Mbundje)
began to catechize them with the permission of the Tribal chief.
19th of August 2003, was a
historic day for both the people of this tribe and for the Catholic
Church, because after sufficient preparation, for the first time, eight
children were baptized at Ruacana Roman Catholic Church by Fr. Baiju
Kurian msfs. Later in the same year, during Christmas season, few more
adults were baptized. As they began to increase in number they formed a
community, Otjaandjamwenyo, under a Merulla tree. On 19th of December
2004, Fr. Baiju Kurian msfs celebrated the first Mass for them under
this tree, where they usually come together for church Services and
prayers. The Catholics of this tribe call God as ‘Tate Mukulu’, (one who
The total strength of the Catholics
from this tribe is 42 now. There are 21 catechumens waiting to receive their
baptism this year.