Newspaper article News Mail Bundaberg Qld.

{Calling Leads Priest} {to Poor People of Africa}; His Path Took Him from Bundaberg to Africa, Where Fr Naumann Is Making a Big Difference to the Lives of Others Murray Wenzel Reports

Newspaper article News Mail Bundaberg Qld.

{Calling Leads Priest} {to Poor People of Africa}; His Path Took Him from Bundaberg to Africa, Where Fr Naumann Is Making a Big Difference to the Lives of Others Murray Wenzel Reports

Article excerpt

FOR five years Bundaberg was lucky enough to have the presence of Father John Naumann as a priest at Christ Church, until he was swept off his feet, almost against his will, to begin a new chapter in his life - a chapter that has brought unimaginable joy to hundreds of under-privileged people.

"My time in Bundaberg was much too short. I was not seeking a move - it came to me," Fr Naumann said.

"An invitation came from Billings in Montana, followed by a recommendation from another source that I should apply for another position there ... about August of that year, 1988, I did try to end the matter, but it came back again in such a manner that I realised this was God's call."

However, Montana was not to be his final destination.

"Fancy leaving a church building like Christ Church and a parish like Bundaberg to go to a small mission congregation in Billings ... but I believe God took me there to grow in theological knowledge and to discover Africa," Fr Naumann said.

While visiting Tanzania in 2000 on sabbatical, Fr Naumann had an inkling he would be returning in a more permanent capacity, and in 2005 he moved to Dodomo, Tanzania and retired from active parish ministry at the earliest possible age.

Since then, he has devoted his time to improving the lives of the Tanzanian people as director of the Amani Development Organisation.

"It is immensely challenging, but also quite wonderful and life here has been so rewarding," he said.

Fr Naumann has been responsible for the provision of clean water for about 20,000 people in the immediate vicinity and also the construction of two wells in more distant villages.

Recently he also assisted another community of 13,000 to resolve a water problem.

Amani has organised sponsorship for many young people in high school and in a variety of higher education facilities.

"This has been and continues to be a most important aspect of our ministry," he said.

"Currently we support a ministry with 220 pre-school and grade one and two children in the village adjacent to us."

This ministry is officially known as the Children of Peace.

"We have commenced the building of a children's home at the village of Mahoma Makulu to the east of Dodoma, and in the past two weeks we have learned that Rotary in Barcelona, Spain intends to support this work," he said. …

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