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Diocese of Aliwal

The Diocese of Aliwal has no centre for formation. Groups, associations and other organizations have to travel far if they want to convene bigger gatherings. This necessitates the organization and financing of transport to centres like Pallotti Farm (in the Diocese of Queenstown) or Assisi (in the Archdiocese of Bloemfontein) for distances between 180 and 220 km from Aliwal (from other communities within the diocese the distances are still longer) and relate to the loss of valuable time.

The diocese has a long-standing tradition of leadership training and formation and of building and maintaining Small Christian Communities. It follows the Pastoral Plan of the Church in Southern Africa of 1989, "Community Serving Humanity". While some think that this plan was designed for fighting the situation of Apartheid, it is still a major concern to serve the development of humanity in the aftermath of apartheid. Formation is very much at the heart of the diocese. This includes concern for the general formation and education of the population as a response to the poor school situation already indicated in the General Overview. The formation aspect goes further to human formation and skill training which may in future also include simple professional skills.

The farm Mt Carmel will serve the formation and education in particular of the youth as well as, youth-related adults and adults in general. It will also provide for the diocesan staff for planning and implementing the mission of the local church, following the Pastoral Plan, Community Serving Humanity. This will contribute to the general development, including the pressing need of alleviation of poverty.

The diocese has 15 active priests serving the communities which are scattered over the vast area. In it efforts towards becoming more self-reliant the diocese works with many community- (lay-) leaders that need ongoing training and formation. In terms of finances some steps were achieved to improve locally raised funds. With the small number of Catholics - recent polls indicate a number probably below 25000 - the diocese is challenged to design a new pastoral outreach policy that is sustainable. This will begin in 2011 and will take some years to achieve success. The senate of the diocese – the assembly of priest and animation-pastoral workers - will facilitate this process.