According to the report, the Catholics of Mathotho have always longed to have a church structure of their own. The 13-mile (20 kilometers) walk is a long way to the Parish centre in Nkhate for those who wish to attend Sunday Mass, ACN has reported.
“Needless to say, this is a challenge that only young and healthy adults can face; as for the less fit, the elderly, the expectant mothers, the children and the many others already wearied by the hard physical work they have to do simply in order to survive, the journey is simply too far,” the charity organization reports.
To realize a dream of having a place of worship of their own as a community of Catholics, the people at St. Joseph’s outstation in Nkhate Parish built their first village chapel in 1970.
The chapel, according to the Pontifical charity organization that reaches out to the church in hardship places, is straw-thatched and built in mud.
Given the poor materials, it had to be rebuilt every two or three years, ACN reports, adding that in 1980 the people built a brick chapel. This too was constructed with locally available materials and was therefore not very strong.
The leadership of the charity organization reports on the dilapidated state of the Chapel, saying, “By now there are big cracks in the walls and the water leaks in during the rainy season.”
The report adds that over time, the damage has become worse and for the past two years, the building has been unusable. Additionally, the building has become far too small for the growing Catholic community, the organization notes.
For the poor state of the church building, the liturgies and prayer meetings have to be held outside, beneath a tree, a situation that the leadership of ACN says “is a far from satisfactory solution.”
“In any case it is quite impossible to stand outside in the torrential rain during the rainy season,” ACN says, and adds, “This vigorous and thriving Catholic community needs a proper church to worship in.”
ACN reports that the people have not been able to raise enough money from their own resources to build a decent place of worship.