Bicentenary of Catholic Church in South Africa
This week, at the request of the Southern African Catholic Bishops’ Conference, parishes across South Africa will be celebrating a special Mass on February 4th for the Bi-Centenary of the Catholic Church in South Africa. Here in our Diocese, this is being combined with Our Patronal Feast - Our Lady - Flight into Egypt. This is extremely apt, as it is alos the Patronal Feasat of the Archdiocese of Cape Town, where the Catholic Church first became established in the early 1800s.
On 7 June 1818, Pope Pius Vll erected the Vicariate Apostolic of the Cape of Good Hope and adjacent territories. However, the fi rst Vicar Apostolic, Bishop Bede Slater OSB, lived in Mauritius. The first permanent Catholic priest, Fr Patrick Scully, arrived in 1820, and the first Bishop based in the Cape, Bishop Patrick Griffith OP, arrived in 1838.
The first Catholic Church in South Africa was built in Harrington Street in Cape Town in about 1830.
O God, sanctify us, your Church in Southern Africa and pour out the gifts of your Spirit upon us, who have been consecrated to you in baptism.
Increase our faith that we may never cease to give thanks for your infinite treasures of mercy and goodness.
Root us in your Son Jesus Christ, that with hearts burning with desire to fulfil your will, we may share the joy, peace and abundance of life he gives us.
Open our hearts to each other and remove our prejudices that the walls of injustice and division which your Son has destroyed may give way to the healing of the ethnic, racial and unjust divisions of our painful past.
Let the bright sun of hope never set on our communities of faith, as we endeavour to follow always the example of Jesus, our Lord and Saviour, by consecrating our lives to the service of our brothers and sisters.
St Mary’s Cathedral in Cape Town in the late 19th century.