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Prefecture Apostolic of Welle

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Located in the extreme north of Belgian Congo, Africa, separated by a Decree of the Propaganda on 12 May, 1898, from the Vicariate Apostolic of the Congo Free State, and committed to the care of the Canons RegularPremonstratensian of Tongerloo, Belgium. Its limits were on the North the Vicariate Apostolic of Central Africa or Sudan ; on the East the Vicariate Apostolic of Northern Nyanza; on the West a line drawn from the junction of the Rivers Uelle and Ubanghi to the confluence of the Itimbri and the Congo ; on the South the watershed of the southern tributaries of the Itimbri, eastwards to the 30° E. longitude. By a Decree, however, of 16 June, 1910, the northern boundary was extended so as to include a portion of the Vicariate Apostolic of the Sudan and now along the River Bomer and the watershed of the Nile and the Congo to where it crosses the 4° S. latitude.

Statistics

Inhabitants 1,500,000, mostly fetishists ; Catholics 922; catechumens, 1951; 11 priests ; 9 lay brothers ; 2 houses of the Sisters of the Sacred Heart of Mary of Berlaer, with 8 nuns, 65 catechists; 3 principal stations: Imbembo, Amadi, and Gambari; 41 secondary posts; 3 schools with 445 pupils; 1 catechist school at Imbembo with 100 pupils, 2 orphanages with 380 orphans ; 15 workshops with 109 pupils. More than 20 dialects or languages are spoken in the prefecture; the missionaries use the Bangala tongue. The first and present prefect Apostolic, Rt. Rev. Leo Derikx, was born at Neerfelt, Belgium, 20 July, 1860, entered the Premonstratensian novitiate on 8 October, 1878; was professed, 8 May, 1882; ordained, 20 December, 1884; and appointed prefect Apostolic in 1898. He resides at Imbembo in the south-western portion of the prefecture.


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