St Joseph’s, Howick, prepares to celebrate 75 years

The first Catholic church in Howick – an hour-and a- half’s drive east of Durban was built on a farm in 1912. Two years later, the farm was sold, the chapel had to be removed and the Mission was closed.

Bishop Delalle asked Father Auguste Jenn, who was in charge of Mission work, to find a new site, and he bought Lot 139 of Block Q in the settlement of New Howick. Fifty Pounds paid for a simple wood and iron chapel from which the local people and those of five outstations were served until 1941.

When it was decided that a new church was needed to meet expanding needs,wartime building regulations were in force and materials in short supply.

But undaunted, Father Emile Conter, the parish priest, did all the building himself with semi-skilled helpers, collecting materials wherever he could and asking for donations in cash or in materials.

Whilst certain remodelling has taken place over the years, the original building still stands and its community and missionary spirit remains strong. With the 75th anniversary in sight, celebrations of the occasion are sure to be joyous.

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