Abbatial blessing for new abbot

VIP'S: Among those who attended the installation of Fr Godfrey Sieber as  the new abbot of lnkamana Abbey were, from left, nuncio to Southern Africa Archbishop Blasco Francisco Collašo, Archabbot Jeremias Schr÷der, Abbot Sieber, and Bishop Mansuet Dela Biyase.


Father Godfrey Sieber received the abbatial blessing as he was installed as the new abbot of Inkamana-Abbey in KwaZulu-Natal.

The Benedictine Abbey of Inkamana is a few kilometres south of Vryheid. This abbey has its roots in St Ottilien near Munich in Germany and has for many years been the home of monks and priests from that country, as well as Austria, Switzerland and the United States.

When the priory was raised to the status of Abbey in 1982, Fr Gernot Wottawah was elected as the first abbot. Due to poor health, Fr Wottawah retired last month after 23 years of service to the abbey.

Fr Sieber, a priest of the Missionary Benedictines from St Ottilien, was recently elected as the second abbot of Inkamana Abbey. He is well known to many Catholics and non-Catholics in KwaZulu-Natal as he originally arrived in Zululand, with Fr Pius Paul, in 1968. At various times, Fr Sieber was parish priest of St Patrick's in Empangeni, St Francis in Richards Bay and St Thomas More in Vryheid. He was also fully  involved with the ministers fraternal in Vryheid and often led the  prayers in morning assembly at Vryheid High School.

Fr Sieber received the abbatial blessing from Bishop Mansuet Dela Biyase of Eshowe in a ceremony in the church of lnkamana Abbey. The Archabbot of St  Ottilien and two abbots from Tanzania as well as local abbots, bishops, priests, religious brothers and sisters from all over South Africa attended this blessing. Fr Sieber's sister, brother-in-law, two nieces and his nephew came out from Germany for the occasion and they formed part of the offertory procession during the service. Many parishioners from Fr Sieber's previous parishes were also present with the Knights of da Gama from the diocese of Eshowe forming the guard-of-honour for the papal nuncio, Blasco Francisco Collašo, and for Bishop Biyase.

Fr Godfrey is a keen historian and is the author of several books including The History of the Benedictines in Zululand.

The Southern Cross, May 14 to May 20, 2003

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