History of the
Diocese of Gaborone
The Catholic Church has celebrated 88 years of existence in Botswana after it has been introduced by the Oblates of Mary Immaculate (O.M.I) Priest from Germany. In 1951, the Passionist Fathers from Ireland accepted to work in the Bechuanaland. To this effect four Passionist Priest left Dublin for the new missionary grounds and arrived on the 7th February 1952. These were Frs. Theodore Matthews CP, Carthage Power CP, Urban Murphy CP and Norbet Morris CP. They were also accompanied by four Passionist Sisters – Srs Claire CP, Colombia CP, Rosina CP and Damian CP. After an intensive language course in Mafikeng, Fr Urban Murphy CP arrived in Francistwon on the 23rd May 1952 five months after his arrival in Bechuanaland to be the Parish Priest of the whole Northern Bechuanaland while Francistown was to be the centre of the Parish.
In 24th April 1959 Bechuanaland constituted as a prefecture Catholic Apostolic and it was confined to the care of Passionist from St Patricks Province in Ireland. Bechuanaland Diocese was established on the 05th August 1966 under the Bishop Urban Charles Murphy who was ordained in 1966 and died in 1981. He was succeeded by Bishop Emeritus Boniface Tshosa Setlalekgosi from 06th March 1982 to April 2009. Then Bishop Emeritus Valentine Tsamma Seane in April 2009 to 09th August 2017. Bishop Emeritus Seane was succeeded by Apostolic Administrator Bishop Frank Atese Nubuasah S.V.D. the Bishop of the Diocese of Francistown.
The growth of the Catholic Church in Botswana gave birth to Vicariate of Francistown in 1998 being demarcated from Diocese of Gaborone. On the 02nd October 2017, The Holy Father Pope Francis elevated to the level of diocese the Apostolic Vicariate of Francistown, Botswana, making it a suffragan of the metropolitan see of Pretoria, South Africa. The Pope has appointed as first bishop of the diocese of Francistown, H.E. Msgr. Frank Atese Nubuasah, S.V.D., currently vicar apostolic of the same see.
In the early years of the Diocese the Church had four local Priests being Fr Boniface T Setlalekgosi, Fr Johannes Seane, Fr Ruben Makaba and Fr Joseph Motsumi and the rest were Oblates of Mary Immaculate. The Passionist came with Sisters like Cross and Passion Sisters and Ursulin catholic Sisters. As for the Church Developments there are 9 Primary schools, 2 Colleges, 2 Clinics at St Conrad’s and St Joseph, Pabalelong Hospice in Metsimotlhabe, building of the Bishop’s Office, renovation of Christ the King Cathedral (CKC) which increased its capacity to 1000 now and Ave Maria Pastoral Centre. The Diocese has 18 local Priests.
Spiritually the Church has grown as we saw the formation of spiritual groups like the choirs which are very active in leading the Masses. We also witnessed the building of Grottos in different Parishes and the Adoration Chapels in CKC, St Conrad’s, Holy Cross and Thapelong Parishes. There are quite a number of young men at the seminaries in different countries including Zambia and Tanzania. The Diocese also had sent 3 Priests and Two sisters to further their studies in Rome, Italy.
The Diocese of Gaborone also has various Religious Congregations such as the O.M.I, Stigmatines, Cross and Passions, Sisters of Calvary, Nazareth, Holy Spirit and the Good Shephard together with the International Congregation.
THE FIRST BISHOP
The first Bishop was Urban Charles Murphy CP, a Passionist missionary from Ireland and also the Founder of a local Congregation (The Sisters of Calvary). He died on 27th February 1981and was succeeded by Bishop Boniface Tshosa Setlalekgosi retired on 25 April 2009 and replaced by Bishop Valentine Tsamma Seane who resigned on the 09 August 2017. Was preceded by the Apostolic Administrator and also the Bishop of the Diocese of Francistown Frank Atese Nubuasah, S.D.V.