Roma valley is
also situated in the district of Maseru and in the lowlands. Here, the Roman
Catholic faith is truly embedded, that is, there is no way one can talk about
the Roman Catholic Church in Lesotho
without touching Roma. Actually, the real name for this place is Tlou-tle! at
chief Maama’s place. Then, it came automatically to be called Tlou-tle Ha-Maama
or simply, Ha-Maama.
The name “Roma” came as a mockery from other
church denominations to the Roman Catholic Church in Lesotho. Even though the first
missionaries to Lesotho were from France, they were there in the name of the
Roman Catholic Church which its head is Roman (in Rome—Italy). Other local
denominations knew this and were kind of mocking the Catholic Church saying
that it is a Roman thing, they then went to an extend of calling this
place—where the Catholic Missionaries were staying—Rome, and because of the
accent, /~e/ was changed to /~a/ and we had ‘ROMA’ as it is know today.
Roma is such a
valley at this chief Maama’s place. There are lots of stories behind the
Catholic Church being given this site in the valley and some other places like
Christ the King Mission at Sekake’s in Qacha’s Nek (this place, even today, is known as Letlapeng). Those are faith
politics, what could we do!
Catholic evangelization of Lesotho
kicked-off from this valley, Roma—where the first Roman Catholic Church was
built in those old ages around 1870s. And of course in those days all Roman
Catholic missionaries were to this valley to meet their fellow brothers and
sisters in Christ.
In this very
valley, the Catholic Church also built a number of schools for Basotho
children. To mention few, there was St. Theresa minor seminary (which is now closed), St. Mary’s Girls
High, Christ the King Boys High (which
was known as Roma College), Roma Primary, the National University of
Lesotho (which is now handed out to
Lesotho government), Roma Nursing College, and for the formation of priest
the Church built St. Augustine’s Major Seminary. Apart from this, the Church
also built a hospital in this valley, St.
Joseph’s Hospital. And of course, there is the mother
Catholic Church in this place, Mater Jesu or Roma Parish—as it is known today.
This church is the Pro-Cathedral in the Arch-diocese of Maseru.
All you can see
here. As I said earlier that the whole Catholic Church history in Lesotho
is embedded here, all the activities or happenings, miracles and wonders of
those missionaries could be traced from here. One can see the tomb of Blessed
Joseph Gerard in the Church
of Roma Parish. One can
also walk of the footsteps of this zealous Oblate of Mary Immaculate who left
his home country that long in 1850s and never went back. With interviews to
really willing and open local peoples in this valley, one can learn how Fr.
Gerard loved Basotho and Lesotho,
and how they loved him back too.
flocking into this valley, more especially to the tomb of this servant of God
to pay homage, to pray and to take some soil there which they say it works
wonders in their lives.
Don’t Let this opportunity by-pass you!
Copyright © 2007 OMI Lesotho Province