Murdered Catholic Priest, Fr Joseph Hollander

We mourn the death of Fr Joseph Hollander

On 13 January, 83-year-old Oblate Fr Joseph Hollander, a missionary of Oblates of Mary Immaculate in South Africa (OMISA), was found dead in his house in the village of Bodibe, about 200 kilometres west of Johannesburg. His feet and hands were tied and he had been strangled. A 23 year old man, found in possession of Hollander’s phone, has been arrested and charged with murder.

Rt Rev Victor Phalana, bishop of the Catholic diocese of Klerksdorp, described the attack as “inhuman” and “barbaric”.

“Everyone knows he had no money. He served a poor community. He used every penny he ever owned for his people. He gave away everything he had,” he said. He described Fr Hollander as a man “with a big heart, who lived for his community.”

Fr Hollander was born in Belgium on 4 March 1937. He was ordained priest on 26 December 1963. Two years later, he arrived in South Africa, where he worked as a missionary in the North West Province for 55 years.

“We are deeply affected by what has happened,” said Fr Daniël Coryn, Provincial Superior of the Oblate Missionaries of Mary, from Blanden, Belgium. “Joseph was found tied hand and foot and with a rope around his neck. A terrible death for someone who dedicated his whole life to his mission.”

May his soul rest in peace.

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