President Jacob Zuma on Sunday congratulated the Roman Catholic Church of South Africa on the celebration of 200 years of the foundation of Stigmatine fathers.

The celebration of the milestone was  held on Sunday at Mmakau Village, north of Pretoria, the presidency said in a statement.

“The Stigmatine missionaries played a critical role in uplifting poor and oppressed communities during the dark days of apartheid.

“We are most appreciative of the many programmes of the Catholic Church which make a positive contribution in youth development, social welfare, and the ongoing efforts to fight social ills and build cohesive communities,” Zuma said.