Province of Bloemfontein
Patron: The Immaculate Conception St Francis de Sales
Right Reverend BISHOP EDWARD RISI, OMI
Appointed 5 July 2000 and consecrated 14 October 2000 at Upington
PO Box 323, Keimoes 8860.
Residence: Bishop’s House, Hoofweg 4.
Tel: 054 461 1846
Fax: 086 751 1452.
Coat of Arms and Motto
Die kruis: bron van onse lewe
- Bishop John Maria Simon, OSFS, consecrated 21 September 1898, Titular Bishop of Thaumacos, died 21 November 1932.
- Bishop Odilon Fages, OSFS, Titular Bishop of Mulia, consecrated 30 September 1928, died 14 October 1939.
- Bishop Henry Thünemann, OSFS, Titular Bishop of Coridala, consecrated 3 October 1940, named first Bishop of the Diocese of Keimoes 1951, retired due to ill health 12 September 1962, nominated Assistant at the Pontifical Throne 16 May 1965, died 18 August 1965.
- Bishop Francis Esser, OSFS, consecrated 30 March 1949, named Co-adjutor Bishop to ailing Bishop Thünemann 1956; succeeded to the See of Keimoes 12 September 1962, died 8 December 1966.
- Bishop John Baptist Minder, OSFS, consecrated 10 January 1968, resigned 5 July 2000. Died 13 August 2009.
History of the Diocese
The Diocese of Keimoes-Upington was innitially part of the Vicariate of the Cape of Good Hope. Bishop Grimley took seriously his responsibility to reach out to Catholics in his very vast vicariate. Between 1861 and 1869 he made three apostolic visitations to the Namaqualand. The first parish priest, Fr. Meagher, was installed in Springbok in 1861 and the second, Fr Quaid, in 1863. In 1865 Bishop Grimley laid the foundation stone of the first Catholic church in Springbok, St. Columbanus. The establishment of the Central Prefecture in 1871 was the dream and goal of Bishop Grimley. This new prefecture covered the territory between the Western and Eastern Vicariates, from George in the south to the Orange River in the north; presently the territory of the dioceses of Oudtshoorn and Keimoes-Upington.
The Central Prefecture was entrusted to the care of the Missionaries of Lyon in 1872 (known today as the Society of African Missions – SMA). The Missions of Namaqualand formed the northern part of the Central Prefecture and were entrusted to the Oblates of St. Francis de Sales in 1882. In 1884 this northern territory was established as a separate Prefecture Apostolic and became the Orange River Vicariate in 1898 when Bishop Simon was appointed it first Vicar Apostolic. The name was changed to Keimoes Vicariate in 1940.
On the establishment of the Ecclesiastical Hierarchy in South Africa, 11 January 1951, the Vicariate became known as the Diocese of Keimoes. Canonical possession of the new See was taken on the 10 July 1951. The name of the Diocese was changed to Diocese of Keimoes-Upington by the Sacred Congregation for the Evangelisation of Peoples in 1985.
This Diocese is bounded on the West by the Atlantic Ocean; on the North, by the Republic of Namibia and the Republic of Botswana; on the East it extends to the eastern limit of the Z.F. Mgcawu District and Prieska districts of Pixley ka Seme District Municipality; in the South to the southern boundaries of Prieska, Kenhardt Williston, Calvinia; and includes the Matzikama District of the Western Cape.