St Timothy’s celebrates 35th anniversary

Father Kizito Gugah looks on as the birthday cake is cut by Auxiliary Catholic Bishop Sylvester David from Cape Town.

St Timothy’s Catholic Church celebrated their 35th anniversary on Sunday March 8 at their parish in Tafelsig.

The church turned 35 last year but they did not get an opportunity to mark the milestone.

It has been a home to many community members over the years who have been a part of their legacy.

The church started its building process in 1983. They held their first service in 1984 on February 23.

During the time, houses were still being built in Tafelsig, one of the oldest members and parishioners, Frances Adams, told the Plainsman on Friday March 13.

Parishioners from St Timothy’s first attended Mary Magdalene Catholic Church in Lentegeur.

They also had evening mass at 5pm at the Tafelsig Community Centre in the 80s.

Two priests, Father Kirby and Father Dounoque, rode their bicycles from Lansdowne to minister at the Catholic community in Tafelsig from late 70s to early 80s before the building of the church started, she said.

The parish hosted fund-raisers to help build their church.

They would use the money for whatever was needed in the church.

They would sell doughnuts and cake to the community, she said.

“After the church was built, we were asked to go from door- to- door in the community to go and look for parishioners to notify them about the church.

“We would come back to our priest, Father Roy Fosker, and tell him there aren’t any people out as there were no houses built in the area we covered in Tafelsig. He would tell us to go back and fetch them, even though no people lived there yet,” said Ms Adams.

Parishioner, Wilme Rhodes, recalls not being able to find the church during the days when Tafelsig was a relatively new area.

“The parishioners who told me about St Timothy’s Catholic Church, told me where the church was but I got a bit lost in the area. I thought the church was at a school when it was actually a few roads away,” she said.

The church had a convent of nuns. The 10 sisters stayed in a house next to the church.

Mother Teresa visited the convent as she was set to visit and open a home in Khayelitsha.

She stayed at the convent and stayed at the home in Khayelitsha in the 80s, said one of the oldest parishioners, Susan Parsons.

The Holy Family Sister; as they were called, hailed from Ireland, Johannesburg and Tafelsig, she said.

Parishioner Gaynor Hendricks said she heard the stories about Mother Teresa and her work with their church.

She was inspired to join the church, after she converted and wanted to be a part of their ministry. Celebrating this milestone with the church is a great honour, she said.

Ms Hendricks fetched the enormous cake for the celebration from the Town Centre.

“The people could not believe how big the cake was, and they flocked towards it to take pictures. They couldn’t believe what they saw, it was a great experience,” she said.

Priest of the church, Father Kizito Gugah, was a student priest in 2006 and later ordained, in the same year became a priest at various churches until he was appointed as the church’s priest in December 2016.

“Before this church was built, it was held at a house.

“The church is where the people come together, to pray and support each other.”

“We were part of the gel that kept the community together,” he said.

He said the church has been through many ups and downs.

“It has all been a part of our journey. A lot of hard work was put into the celebration and we appreciate all who have been a part of it.”