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Vicariate Apostolic of Ubanghi
(UPPER FRENCH CONGO.)
Vicariate Apostolic; formerly part of the Vicariate of French Congo, erected on 14 Oct., 1890. It has an area of about 386,000 sq. miles, and is bounded south and east by the Congo and the Ubanghi; north by the Prefecture Apostolic of Ubanghi-Chari; west by the Vicariates of Loanga, Gabon, and Camerun; the mission of Linzolo lying south-west of Brazzaville was transferred from Loanga to Ubanghi on 14 Feb., 1911. The principal tribes in the vicariate are the Batekes, Bavanzis, and Bondjos, the last two being cannibals. The French representatives, especially M. de Chavannes and M. Dolisie, have greatly aided in the establishment and development of the mission. The first attempt to gain a foothold in the territory of the vicariate was made by Father (now Bishop) Augouard in 1883 at Brazzaville, but it failed owing to the unhappy experiences of the natives at the hands of Stanley; in July, 1887, however, Mgr. Carrie succeeded, owing to the help of M. de Chavannes. The Sisters of St. Joseph of Cluny arrived at Brazzaville on 21 August, 1892, and have a convent, chapel, and school there on a site presented by the French Government. Brazzaville, the centre of French interests in the Congo and in which the bishop resides, is situated on a plateau 120 ft. high at the place where the Congo leaves Stanley Pool. Its cathedral, 37 metres long, 12 broad, and 9 high, surmounted by a steeple and cross rising 20 metres, was dedicated on 3 May, 1894. In 1895 the first two Christian marriages in Ubanghi were solemnized before the vicar apostolic. The mission spread to the surrounding villages and later to the Alima, 300 kilometres up the Congo; still higher up are the stations at Liranga (at the junction of the Congo and the Ubanghi), founded by Fathers Paris and Allaire on 3 April, 1889; at Bangui (1125 miles from the coast), established among the cannibal Bondjos and Buzerus and pastoral Ndris, by Fathers Sallaz and Rémy, in January, 1894; and at Sainte-Famille among the Banziris, in 1895, by Father Moreau, — this is now the headquarters of the Prefecture of Ubanghi Chari. Near these stations have been established "free villages" where natives escaping from the clutches of the cannibal or slave owners can reside in safety. Bishop Augouard was awarded a prize of $3000 in April, 1912, by the French Academy of Moral and Political Sciences in appreciation of his work during thirty-four years in French Congo. Mission statistics: The vicariate, of which Bishop Philippe-Prosper Augouard, titular Bishop of Sinidos (b. 16 Sept., 1852; joined the Congregation of the Holy Ghost, to whom the mission is entrusted; and was consecrated, 23 November, 1890), is in charge, has 12 priests; 25 lay brothers; 12 Sisters of St. Joseph of Cluny; 8 churches; 4 stations; 23 chapels; 23 schools with 1534 children; 7 orphanages with 902 orphans; 8 hospitals; 5 workshops; Catholic population, 3500; 2500 catechumens; and 5,000,000 pagans. The hot damp climate is very severe, and in one year (1897-8) 14 of the 31 missionaries died.