Roman Catholic Diocese of Highveld
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The Episcopal See of this province originally emerged with a group of Christian Missionaries from Europe in the Religious Order of Saint Jude, who migrated to Africa. They were living a Community life, but also professing solemn vows according to a rule approved of by the Holy See.
These Missionaries are Members of the Apostolic life which were strongly rooted in Eastern and Western Rite Catholic Tradition. They lived in an area covering Eastrand but also working in other part of the Country such as Winterveld in Gauteng province, Republic of South Africa.
The East Rand is the name of the urban eastern part of the Witwatersrand which was dominated by the white minority and the blacks were not often allowed to enter this territory without a valid permit.
The city of Winterveld on the other hand, is a large town in the Gauteng province of South Africa bothering between North West and Gauteng Province in South Africa. The town is located northwest of Pretoria and forms part of the City of Tshwane Metropolitan.
This Jurisdiction became self governing after it was proclaimed a Diocese on January 5, 2011. The history of this diocese could be traced back in the 1870s when the Old Catholic Church separated from Rome due to the dogmatic declaration of Papal Infallibility, and other doctrinal innovations which contradicted the ancient teachings of the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church.
The Old Dutch Catholic Church was in full communion with Rome until this time of semi-schism. However, the Roman Catholic Diocese of Highveld is an Episcopal SEE of Latin Rite Family and the first Bi-ritual Diocese in Africa to embrace Eastern and Western Rite Divine Liturgy after the schism of 1054 between the two Mother Churches namely: Eastern (Orthodox Catholic Church) and Western (Roman Catholic Church).
The term Bi-ritual means using more than one Liturgical Rites. The term Diocese here denotes an area where a Bishop is in-charge or in control of and a Jurisdiction is an area where he exercises his office over those under his authority.
The Roman Catholic Diocese of Highveld therefore, is not an Organization, or religious Congregation but an Episcopal SEE of a Bishop. A Bishop in charge of a Diocese is generally refers to as an overseer. In apostolic times, it is quite manifest that there was no difference as to order between bishops and elders or presbyters ( Acts 20:17–28 ; 1 Peter 5:1 1 Peter 5:2 ; Phil 1:1 ; 1 Timothy 3 ).
The term Bishop is never once used to denote a different office from that of elder or presbyter. These different names are simply titles of the same office, "bishop" designating the function, namely, that of oversight, and "presbyter" the dignity appertaining to the office. Christ is figuratively called "the bishop [episcopos] of souls" ( 1 Peter 2:25 ).
On December 14, 2012, Fr. Joseph Mbata was consecrated as the first indigenous Bishop of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Highveld. A Mission Territory would normally cease to be a Territory once it became a Diocese hence it has a Bishop in-charge of the area.
On April 27, 2013, This Episcopal SEE became vacant when its incumbent Bishop ( Most Rev. Dr. + Joseph Mbata) was incapacitated due to an unidentified illness. Simonpierre Nnolumfu, OSJ was appointed to succeed him and thus became the Coadjutor of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Highveld.
Notes and references
- Titular is a religious term used to indicate an area or province where a Diocese has once existed, but had died out or a mission province which does not have a head Bishop, but needing the weight of a Bishop for administrative purposes; and an existing Bishop from another Diocese could be appointed to take charge of the area or a priest could be consecrated specifically to work in the area for the good of the faithfuls.
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