A beloved figure of the Queenstown community, in particular the Roman Catholic Church, Father Barry Reabow has celebrated his 50th year in the ministry.
Father Reabow was born at St. Catherine’s in Queenstown and attended the convent school up to the then Standard Two and moved on to Queen’s College Junior. He matriculated from Queen’s College and applied to the Society of the Catholic Apostolate to enter into the ministry.
“I always knew that I wanted to be a priest and as I grew up, the calling grew stronger.”
He was sent to Germany by the Church “and I am so glad I went. I got to know another nation and I learnt to speak German fluently.”
He was sent back to South Africa to be ordained in the Cathedral of Christ the King in Queenstown on December 23 1962.
He returned to Germany and studied church law in Rome obtaining his licentiate in Canon Law.
In 1969, he made his way back to South Africa, moving on to serve at the Catholic Church in King William’s Town for five months.
He was then sent to Dutywa where he served as a missionary before moving to the Glen Grey Mission Hospital near Lady Frere until 1978.
His next posting was in Cathcart between 1978 and November 1980 where after he returned to Dutywa as priest in charge. After he was elected as regional rector in 1984, he stayed on Pallotti Farm in the Queenstown district for a brief period before moving to town. In 1993, he left to work in Merrivale near Howick as the rector of students.
In 1995, he took a sabbatical and visited Germany, returning to South Africa at the end of the year. On January 1, 1996, he took over as the priest in charge of the Christ the King Cathedral and he has served here for the past 17 years, ministering to the locals.
“It is a wonderful ministry. I serve a fully-integrated congregation with members of various African countries. It is challenging and interesting.”
Father Barry feels there is a lot left for him to do, so he has no plans to retire yet. “I want to keep ministering,” says the man who is known for his sense of humour.
“I admit to seeing the lighter side of life.” He says, adding that in his ministry, he tries to make people happy.
The cathedral, which had been consecrated on June 24, 1959, was in need of much work with the congregation responding with great generosity.
“They have also been most giving to our fund for the poor.”
“I want people to know how happy I have been in this parish and what a lovely bunch of people they are.”