Ongoing live-streamed Masses and devotions in the Archdiocese of Cape Town

Archbishop Stephen Brislin and Bishop Sylvester David have asked parishes, where possible, to provide live-streaming options for parish Sunday and weekday Masses, as well as other devotions. As Churches begin to open, please note that attendance at all Masses are by booking only.

This list was last updated on Tuesday 18 September 2020.

  1. Bellville: Our Lady of Fatima. Weekday Mass will be live-streamed Mon-Fri at 19.00; Sunday Mass is pre-recorded and is available from 08.45am on the Bellville Catholic Church YouTube Channel. (Please contact Dominica – to have your name included on the WhatsApp group (include your cell number) or if you prefer, email).
  2. Belgravia: Regina Coeli. Mass is live-streamed Tuesday to Sunday mornings at 09.00am (no Mass on Mondays) to Regina Coeli Catholic Community Belgravia Facebook page
  3. Bergvliet: Holy Redeemer. The following will be live-streamed to the Holy Redeemer Catholic Church Bergvliet Facebook page: Mass on Sundays at 9.00am; Novena to Our Mother of Perpetual Help on Thursdays at 7.30pm; and Stations of the Cross on Fridays at 7.00pm. Still to come: a five minute meditation/teaching each day on the Eucharist.
  4. Bothasig: Good Shepherd. Daily Rosary at 12.00 midday, followed by Benediction; Sunday Mass at 10.00am, followed by Holy Rosary. All live-streamed on the Good Shepherd YouTube channel.
  5. Bridgetown: Our Lady of Good Counsel. Weekday and Sunday Mass will be live-streamed at 09.00am to the Bridgetown Parish YouTube Channel
  6. Brooklyn / Milnerton: Our Lady of the Assumption: Sunday Mass is pre-recorded and uploaded to the parish YouTube Channel from 4.00pm Saturday afternoon.
  7. Cape TownSt Mary’s Cathedral. Mass will be live-streamed at 07.00 on Mondays to Saturdays and at 09.00 on Sundays to the Metropolitan Cathedral of Our Lady of the Flight into Egypt YouTube Channel.
  8. Constantia: Our Lady of the Visitation. Weekday Mass (Monday-Friday) at 08.00am; Saturday and Sunday Mass at 09.00am, will be live-streamed to the Constantia Parish YouTube channel.
  9. Durbanville: Our Lady of Perpetual Help. A pre-recorded Mass will be available on the Durbanville Parish website at 10.00am every Sunday morning, on Facebook and on the parish YouTube Channel.
    1. Fish Hoek: St John the Evangelist. Mass will be live-streamed to the Norbert’s Priory Holy Mass Online Facebook page on Sundays at 09.30am, Tuesdays at 5.30pm, Wednesdays-Fridays at 09.00am and Saturday at 5.30pm. DEVOTIONS: Angelus live-streamed at 12:00pm on Wednesday, and Rosary streamed at 5:30pm Monday, Wednesday, Friday and at 12:30 on Tuesday, Saturday & Sunday
    2. Sun Valley: St Brendan’s. Mass will be live-streamed to the St. Norbert’s Priory Holy Mass Online Facebook pageon Thursdays at 9.30am.
  11. Goodwood: St Joseph’s. The following will be live-streamed to the St Joseph’s Catholic Church Goodwood Facebook page: Sunday Masses on Sat 17.30 and Sun 09.30 and Weekday Masses Mon-Sat 08.30; Devotions and Prayers of Reparation daily at 19.00; First Friday: Adoration at 19.00.
  12. Grassy Park: Our Lady Queen of Peace. Sunday Mass will be live-streamed on Saturdays at 6.00pm and Sundays at 8.00am and weekday Mass will be live-streamed on Mondays to Saturdays at 8.30am on the Grassy Park Facebook page. You will need to join the group.Novena to Our Mother of Perpetual Help will be live-streamed on Thursdays at 7.00pm.
  13. Hout Bay: St Anthony’s. Sunday Mass will be live-streamed at 10.00am to the St Anthony’s Parish Hout Bay YouTube channel.
  14. Kleinvlei: St Catherine’s. Sunday Masses will be live-streamed to the Sunday Mass at St Catherine’s Kleinvlei YouTube channel every Saturday at 5.30pm and Sunday at 8.00am. A full schedule, which includes weekday Masses, can be found on the parish website
    1. Kommetjie: St Joseph’s. Mass will be live-streamed to St. Norbert’s Priory Holy Mass Online Facebook page on Sundays at 08.00am and Tuesdays to Saturdays at 5.00pm (Evening Prayer and Mass).
    2. Ocean View: St Andrew’s. Mass will be celebrated (not live-streamed) on Sundays at 09.30, and live-streamed to St. Norbert’s Priory Holy Mass Online Facebook page on Thursdays at 7.00pm and Saturdays at 6.15pm.
    3. Masiphumelele: Bl. Isidore’s. Mass will be live-streamed to St. Norbert’s Priory Holy Mass Online Facebook page on Sundays at 11.00am.
  16. Kraaifontein: St Anthony’s. Mass will be live-streamed at the following times: Monday 8:00; Tuesday 19:00; Wednesday 8:00; Thursday 19:00; Friday 8:00; Saturday 9:00; and Sunday 10:00 to St Anthony of Padua Parish – Kraaifontein YouTube channel. 
  17. Lansdowne: Our Lady Help of Christians. Mass will be pre-recorded and posted on the parish YouTube channel every Sunday at 09.00am.
  18. Lavistown: St Martin de Porres. Sunday Mass will be pre-recorded and uploaded to the St Martin de Porres YouTube channel every Saturday.
  19. Maitland: St John’s. Sunday Mass will be live-streamed at 10.30am on the St John’s Maitland Facebook page and uploaded to the parish YouTube channel every Sunday at 11.30am.
  20. Mowbray: St Patrick’s. Mass is pre-recorded and uploaded to the St Patrick’s Mowbray YouTube channel by 09.00am every Sunday morning.
  21. Newlands: St Bernard’s. Mass will be pre-recorded and will be available at 09.00am every Sunday on the parish YouTube channel.
  22. Paarl: St Augustine’s, Our Lady of Divine Love and St Charles Lwanga. Sunday Mass will be pre-recorded and will be available at 10.00am every Sunday on the Paarl Catholic Church FaceBook page and the Paarl Catholic Church YouTube channel.
  23. Parow: Immaculate Conception. Mass will be live-streamed on Sundays at 9.00am and Wednedays at 7.00pm to the Immaculate Conception Facebook page.
  24. RondeboschRedemptoris Mater Seminary. Holy Week services will be live-streamed to the Redemptoris Mater Seminary Cape Town YouTube channel: Mon-Wed 6-8 April at 8.00am – Morning Prayers and Eucharistic Celebration.
  25. RondeboschSt Michael’s. Sunday Mass at 09.00am will be streamed on Facebook Live, on the parish YouTubechannel.
  26. Simon’s Town: Ss Simon & Jude. The following events will be live-streamed to the Simon’s Town Parish Facebook page. 1. Sunday Mass 9.00am; 2. Weekday Mass Tuesday – Friday 9.00am; 3. Stations of the Cross (every Friday) 6.00pm; 4. Daily reflection.
  27. Somerset West: St Paul (incorporating St Stephen’s, Macassar; St Barnabas, Villiersdorp; Our Lady of Grabouw, Grabouw; and Greyton, Sir Lowry’s Pass & Caledon Catholic Communities). Daily Mass will be live-streamed to the Life Teen – St Paul’s Facebook page at 8.30am.
  28. Steenberg: St Anne’s. Sunday Mass will be live-streamed to the St. Anne’s Steenberg Facebook page at 09.00. You will need to join the group.
  29. Stellenbosch: St Nicholas. Mass will be live-streamed to the Stellenbosch Catholic Church’s Facebook page every Sunday at 10.00am.
  30. Strand: St Peter’s. Mass is live-streamed EVERY MORNING at 9.00am to the parish Facebook page. Devotions on Tuesday to Friday at 4.00pm.
  31. Table View: Church of the Resurrection. Mass will be live-streamed on Sundays at 9.00am and Tuesday to Friday at 8.30am, on the Table View Facebook page.
  32. WynbergCorpus Christi. Monday to Friday at 9.00am plus at 7.00pm with Evening Prayer; and Saturday evening Mass (for Sunday) at 5.30pm, Sunday Mass at 10.00am will be live-streamed to the parish YouTube Channel.
  33. Welcome EstateSt Theresa’s. Sunday Mass is pre-recorded and uploaded to the St Theresa’s Catholic Church Welcome Estate YouTube channel every Sunday by 10.00am.

Call to resist the culture of corruption – SACBC President

The end of the month of August saw a rising surge of anger from South African citizens across the board about corruption around the Covid-19 fund. A number of radio programs and interviews, television discussions, newspaper articles and the circulating social media posts including the “Voetsek ANC” poster indicate this sense of having had enough of corruption among the ordinary people. 

Churches and civil bodies have embarked on focused analysis and thinking about this new “pandemic” of corruption. There is a feeling that South Africa is going towards the direction of being known for corruption as a country. As Columbia is known for drugs, Mali for child soldiers, Nigeria for terrorist groups, Saudi Arabia for lack of women’s rights, lately Zimbabwe for human rights violations, and other countries known for bad things, South Africa is fast becoming known as a country where corruption is a way of life, much similar to what Kenya was once known for. 

There is a growing worry that corruption is beginning to shape the soul of our nation to the point where it is becoming synonymous to South Africa so that if you want to say “corruption” the same meaning will be understood when you say “South Africa”. In view of this emerging culture and identity forced on us by those in the leadership and their cronies, let us as citizens refuse to let corruption culture characterize our country. As we enter the heritage month of September, God forbid that the heritage we shall be passing on to the next generation will be the heritage of corruption. We must refuse to be defined as a country by corruption. In addition to the to call not to let South Africa be known as a Republic of Sexual Abuse and basher of women, we must also be resolute in our refusal to let South Africa be known as a Republic of corruption. 

The call is not so much to invite the citizens to complain about corruption but for citizens to resist those who want this country to be defined by corruption. We must act against corruption because corruption is contrary to the values we stand for as Africans, as Christians and as a democratic country. As Africans we cherish the value of Ubuntu, and care and corruption is an insult to these values. As Christians we believe in serving rather than being served, and corrupt leaders practice the exact opposite of this value. As democrats we hold the civil servants we elect accountable to us but the corrupt leaders see themselves as accountable to no one. 

Everyone who commits crime faces the demands of the law and suffers the consequence, yet the corrupt criminals who pose as leaders get away with it. They get to avoid wearing orange overalls in jail and continue looting with impunity while they continue to enjoy a life of opulence at the expense of poor people and at the detriment of the image and development of the country. 

The call is to fight corruption before it takes root in our country. The first step to fight corruption is to become aware of it. Generally described, corruption is “the abuse of entrusted power for private gain” (cf. This general description is applicable to all, and not only to the government officials. It calls on each and everyone one of us to evaluate how we use the power, resources and trust assigned to us for their intended purpose. 

Let us keep in mind that even the use of time for which we are paid and supported for “private gain” is corruption because it is not our time, we are paid for it. Consequently, to come to the office and hang one’s jacket on the chair and leave the office to do one’s private business in town is corruption. The use of facilities meant for our work for “private gain” is corruption. Consequently, to use the telephone provided for the purpose of our work to phone family members and friends is corruption. To use the vehicle provided for the purpose of our work for private trips and to make money is corruption. 

At personal level it should haunt one at the end of the day when one enjoys a sumptuous meal and a comfortable bed in a cosy room and yet cannot say in clear conscience that today enough work was done to earn one’s living. This is not only stealing from those who have entrusted the resources but it is also an insult to one’s dignity to eat without earning one’s food. I suppose it is for this reason that St Paul gave the injunction: “If anyone is not willing to work, let him not eat” (2 Thessalonians 3:10). Corrupt people live and eat without earning their living and the food they eat.

Looking at it this way will help us understand that corruption is subtly lurking in our daily lives even at our homes and in our daily interaction with each other. One could say that even our failure to do our fair share of tasks or duties in our families and in communities has an element of corruption because while others oblige to fulfill their responsibility towards us, we fail to do the same and get away with it; such disposition and practice is not fair, it is corrupt. 

In addition to what corruption is, it is its consequences that are disturbing. The evil of corruption is that it results in common good objectives not being achieved, and with the majority of people not getting the rights which belong to them, while a few thugs wrongfully get more than what they should get. In short, corruption leads to injustice. This in turn leads to a sense of disgruntlement and lack of social cohesion that I referred to at the beginning of this article. Corruption leads to lack of trust in leadership and even to cynicism, hence many people no longer care about voting when election time comes. Corruption is thus not conducive for nation building and must be dealt with decisively. 

Time for complaining about corruption has come to an end; something must be done even during this time of Covid-19, which places limitations of movement and activity. Without propagating for the transgression of Covid-19 safety measures let us begin to think creatively about actions that can be taken, for we cannot wait until the Covid-19 pandemic is over to act. The time is now. Let us refuse to be defined by corruption as a country. 

As we get enraged with corruption, let us remember that the call against corruption starts with us. In our personal lives and in our work. We must not be liable for acts and dispositions that smack of corruption, otherwise we have no right to speak against it. This is true of us men and women of the cloth as well because accounts and incidents of corruption are not missing us. Let us pray to be relieved of corruption and this will enable us to speak and act against corruption with integrity. 

Article written by: 
Bishop Sithembele Sipuka 
Catholic Bishop of Mthatha and President of the Southern African Catholic Bishops 

083 546 1889 

Prayer and Reflection by Bishop Sylvester David OMI

Auxiliary Bishop Sylvester David offers his prayer and reflection for the people of the Archdiocese of Cape Town for today, Friday 28 August 2020, during this time of the coronavirus pandemic. It is also available on the Archdiocese of Cape Town’s Facebook page and YouTube channel. Please also see below the text of his reflection, primarily for the deaf. 

Reflection for Friday 28th August 2020. Text: 1 Corinthians 1:17-25

The first reading of today’s Mass necessitates a reflection on the Cross. From the earliest of times the Cross has always been the dividing line between authentic Christian faith and watered down versions of it. The Cross has always been difficult to take. We see this in the Gospels when Jesus announces it. The are three revelations of the Cross in each of the first three Gospels. Every time Jesus reveals the Cross the disciples fight either with him or among themselves. The first time Peter remonstrated with him (Mark 8:32), the second time they were arguing about who was the greatest (Mark 9:34) and the third time he announces the passion two wanted places of honour and the other ten were indignant with them (Mark 10:35-41). Each time Jesus has to give them a catechism lesson on humility – about being ready to serve and taking up the Cross as an essential dimension of Christian discipleship.

In today’s first reading the Apostle Paul highlights how both Jews and Greeks see the Cross as foolish. The Greeks seek wisdom. Wisdom for them represented perfect balance and symmetry. The blood, sweat and tears they saw on the Cross was for them the ultimate in indignity and imperfection. The kind of perfection, symmetry and balance they seek can only be found in Greek statues, art and architecture. Life is not like that and most, if not all of us, are asymmetrical to some extent. What for them represented the imperfection of brokenness, represents for the believer the perfection of love. There is no greater love than to lay down one’s life for another (John 15:13).

The Jews look for miracles (1 Corinthians 1:22) but when the miracles were worked before their eyes they said it came from Beelzebul (Matthew 12:14). In today’s world we too look for miracles and for instant gratification. Many consider the accumulation of commodities as a sign of blessing. Like the Philippians of old many “behave like enemies of Christ’s cross” (Philippians 3:18). And even where the Cross is not openly condemned, it certainly has become watered down. 

We have glamorised the Cross beyond recognition. That kind one can easily find in the jewellery stores around town, but the values of the Cross which give authentic witness to genuine faith can be seen in those who can indeed make sacrifices for others. The Cross represents forgiveness, sharing, caring, loving, selflessness and all the values which Jesus lived. Self-absorption of any kind, bitterness and hatred contradict authentic Christian witness. So, while many around us look for miracles and self-made wisdom we live and preach “a crucified Christ … a Christ who is both the power of God and the wisdom of God” (1 Corinthians 1:24). We adore you O Christ and we praise you – because by your Holy Cross you have redeemed the world. 

Let us pray: Father, through the abasement of your Son you have shown us what true greatness and true love are all about. Help us to live out the values of Jesus so that the Cross and its consequent holiness may be real in our own lives. We make this prayer through Christ our Lord. Amen. 


Bishop Sylvester David OMI

VG: Archdiocese of Cape Town

Chrism Mass 2020

The 2020 Chrism Mass was celebrated on Thursday 27 August 2020 at St Martin de Porres, Lavistown by Archbishop Stephen Brislin. This Mass is in place of the Mass of the Oils that is usually celebrated on Holy Thursday, but had to be postponed because of the national lockdown due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Prayer and Reflection by Archbishop Stephen Brislin

Archbishop Stephen Brislin offers his prayer and reflection for the people of the Archdiocese of Cape Town for today, Wednesday 26 August 2020, during this time of the coronavirus pandemic. It is also available on the Archdiocese of Cape Town’s Facebook page and YouTube channel. Please also see below the text of his reflection, primarily for the deaf.

Greetings and welcome once again. When Jesus encountered his disciples after his Resurrection, he greeted them with the words “peace be with you”. We perhaps miss the full import of those beautiful words which expresses his desire we should be at peace within ourselves, at peace with others and at peace with God. And so I wish you all “peace” – peace with your family and friends, peace with those you don’t get on with, peace with God and peace within yourself. In today’s Gospel from St Matthew (Matt 23:27-32) we hear Jesus speaking to the scribes and Pharisees:

Jesus said, “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you are like whitewashed tombs, which outwardly appear beautiful, but within they are full of dead men’s bones and all uncleanness. So you also appear righteous to all men, but within you are full of hypocrisy and iniquity.

Let us pray:

Heavenly Father, we live among so many contradictions in our lives and in the world, and often we do not know the right thing to do or the path to take. Pour your grace into our hearts, Lord, to remove all hypocrisy from them that we may be as honest as we can with ourselves, with others and with you ,that we may always be sincere in our relationships and seek to live by the truth. We make this prayer through Our Lord Jesus Christ, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever, amen.

To some extent we are all hypocrites. The image we present, or the mask we wear, does not always represent what is within ourselves. Often that is not intentional, and often it is not harmful or even deceitful. But it can become so, particularly if someone is not committed to developing the virtues of truth and honesty. Honesty and truth, while connected, are not the same thing. There are various perspectives on the difference between the two. My own understanding is that you cannot be honest without truth, whereas you could be truthful without being honest. While there is absolute truth – God is Truth – the finite nature of human experience cannot come to grips with the fullness of truth. It is, as St Paul said, “looking through a glass darkly” (1Cor 123:12). That  is why, when people witness the same event such as a car accident, there will be variations in their description. It is not intentional deceit as their accounts vary according to where they were standing, what caught their attention and their interpretation of what happened. It is also possible to tell the truth about events without necessarily encompassing all the truth.

Honesty is what exists within a person, and is the decision or commitment to see himself/herself as they really are, without rose coloured spectacles. It incorporates sincerity and the desire for objective truth and for the whole truth. Furthermore, it is the determination to be just in all things and to be true to one’s beliefs in practice. No more whitewashed tombs hiding decaying bones, to use the analogy of Jesus in the Gosple. Primarily, honesty is the realistic assessment of self and the attempt to bring one’s thoughts, words and actions into harmony, so that they are at peace with each other. Sometimes we hear people say: But I was just being honest when I said that about him! In such cases, our claim to honesty could be just a cover up for rudeness –  honesty also involves tolerance and humility.

For any Christian it is crucially important to grow in honesty, in order that we may be truthful in all things. But it cannot remain at a personal, individual level. Here in South Africa, we have been scandalized and outraged by the alleged corruption and the misuse of funds meant for the health of people during this time of coronavirus. We must be outraged. Such dishonesty affects the lives of people who are already suffering bitterly. Christianity strives not only for personal honesty but to promote an honest society. Human dignity in itself demands honest civil leaders, honest priests and bishops, honest captains of industry and commerce. There is no ideology involved here, it is about the common good, and for that reason through our own honesty we must call others to honesty.

Let us now pray for God’s blessing:

The Lord be with you                                                                              R/ And with your spirit

Graciously enlighten your family, O Lord, we pray, that by holding fast to what is pleasing to you, they may be worthy to accomplish all that is good. We make this prayer through Christ Our Lord, amen.

And may almighty God bless you, the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit, amen. 

Archbishop celebrates Mass at Corpus Christi

Today Archbishop Stephen Brislin celebrated a live-streamed Sunday Mass at Corpus Christi, Wynberg. We post the recorded version for you here below. They are also viewable on our YouTube channel and Facebook page.

Feast of Mary – Queen and Mother

“Ngaye uKristo, sikanye naye, sikuye …” This is how the Eucharistic Prayer ends leading to the proclamation of the Great Amen at Mass each day. We say these words often, and even know them by heart but what do they really mean? 

For me this formula expresses a deep relational reality and shows our intimacy with Christ. Today in our celebration of Mary, Queen and Mother we realise that we can get to know Mary through Christ as he is the first of many brothers (Rom 8:29) – and the Mother of our brother is also our Mother. That is why the giving of his Mother to be the Mother of the disciple Jesus loved makes perfect sense (Jn 19:26-27). 

What did Jesus feel when he looked down from his cross? He would have seen a motherless world filled with orphans and then with his last breath, he established a mother-child relationship. This relationship is a two edged sword because just as we can get to know Mary through her Son, through Mary we can get to know Jesus. Who else knew more about the mystery of the incarnation than Mary? How did she interpret his words? What did she feel when she stood beneath the cross? What did her maternal heart feel when she attended Eucharist and heard these words: “whenever you do this, do it in remembrance of me”? Surely she would have said: “In remembrance of him – how could I ever forget him?” That is what this relationship is all about – Mary’s unforgettable son.

Bishop Sylvester David OMI
VG: Archdiocese of Cape Town

Prayer and Reflection by Bishop Sylvester David OMI

Auxiliary Bishop Sylvester David offers his prayer and reflection for the people of the Archdiocese of Cape Town for today, Friday 21 August 2020, during this time of the coronavirus pandemic. It is also available on the Archdiocese of Cape Town’s Facebook page and YouTube channel. Please also see below the text of his reflection, primarily for the deaf. 

Reflection for Friday 21st August 2020: Ezekiel 37:1-14

Many years ago when I worked in the Formation ministry of the Oblates, our Superior Fr Emile Moteaphala OMI would listen when there were problems, and would ponder what was said to him and then give us his counsel. On a few occasions when we were without hope and situations seemed impossible to resolve, Fr Emile would say something like “trust in God and you will see great things”. I remember that every time he said this he was right – “for nothing is impossible to God” (Matthew 19:26, Luke 1:37). 

In our first reading of today’s Mass, the prophet is faced with an impossible situation. He describes a vision in which he has to confront Israel’s total annihilation. He has to walk among the skeletal remains brought about by forces stronger than the chosen people. The context was the Exile during which Israel’s life was disturbed, disrupted and torn apart. In this context the fertile imagination of prophecy announces new life – “for nothing is impossible to God”. The situation of hopelessness becomes the fertile ground for divine intervention. 

Our lives have been disturbed, disrupted and torn apart by an invisible enemy more powerful than ourselves. We have only God who can, as the liturgy says, keep us “safe from all distress”. But being safe from all distress is not merely a situation of neutrality. Conversion means moving from commitment to one thing to commitment to something else. We need to revise our lifestyles. We need to see the ways in which we have drifted from the original template and start to relate more meaningfully to the Lord, the neighbour and the ecology. It is this action that will bring about the new life described by the text. 

Let us pray:
“Deliver us, Lord, we pray, from every evil,
graciously grant peace in our days,
that by the help of your mercy
we may be always free from sin
and safe from all distress,
as we await the blessed hope
and the coming of our Saviour, Jesus Christ.


Bishop Sylvester David OMI
VG: Archdiocese of Cape Town

Prayer and Reflection by Archbishop Stephen Brislin

Archbishop Stephen Brislin offers his prayer and reflection for the people of the Archdiocese of Cape Town for today, Wednesday 19 August 2020, during this time of the coronavirus pandemic. It is also available on the Archdiocese of Cape Town’s Facebook page and YouTube channel. Please also see below the text of his reflection, primarily for the deaf.

Reflection 19th August 2020

Greetings and welcome. We heard the wonderful news on Saturday evening that yesterday the country would move to level 2 of the lockdown. While this is very good news, we must be vigilant not to become complacent and careless. The Covid-19 virus is still present among us and so we must continue to take all the precautions, such as washing or sanitizing our hands, wearing masks and maintaining social distancing. We have a responsibility to do so in order that the virus may be managed until such time as the danger has passed, which is going to take some time yet. We are told that we will probably have to continue wearing masks for at least the next 12 months and this part of the “new normal”.  Accepting such responsibility is implied in the first Reading of today’s Mass from the prophet Ezekiel ch.34. We hear him speak these words:

Thus says the Lord God: Ho, shepherds of Israel who have been feeding yourselves! Should not shepherds feed the sheep? You eat the fat, you clothe yourselves with the wool, you slaughter the fatlings; but you do not feed the sheep. The weak you have not strengthened, the sick you have not healed, the crippled you have not bound up, the strayed you have not brought back, the lost you have not sought, and with force and harshness you have ruled them.

Let us pray:

In your kindness, Lord, look upon your your people. Grant us an abundance of love and mercy that we may be transformed into your likeness and so be strengthened to serve you through serving your people. We make this prayer through Our Lord Jesus Christ, who live and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever, amen.

Through his prophet Ezekiel God is speaking to the leaders of Israel – those who are responsible for the care and well-being of the people. It has always been one of the greatest temptations of leaders to slip into bad ways, to give way to greed and self-interest. We often see it in political leadership, regrettably we hear of it in our own country where there are even allegations of the gross misuse of funds dedicated for the health of people in these times of Covid-19. 

But it is essentially true that these words of the prophet should cause a chill in the hearts of priests and bishops, who are entrusted with the spiritual well-being and wholeness of the people in their pastoral care. Sadly, throughout history, there have been faith leaders who have not taken their responsibilities seriously and have used their positions as positions of power, and not authority, and have placed their own interests above those of their flock, feeding themselves while disregarding the welfare of others. The message of Ezekiel must always be heeded by the shepherds of faith and cause us to deeply examine our consciences in the light of them, questioning ourselves whether we are meeting up to the expectations God has of us in how we live our vocation and meet our obligations.

But Ezekiel’s prophecy can, I believe be extended to all those who have responsibility for the well-being of others. Fathers and mothers too, are shepherds of their families and they have been given the responsibility of nurturing, loving and guiding their children. All too often we hear of those who neglect this beautiful vocation of parenthood, either by not caring about their children and ensuring that their needs are met, or by allowing their children to live their lives without guidance and without imparting Christian values to them.

In an even broader sense, we can apply these words of the prophet to our role in society, in the work place and our involvement in different societies or organisations. Ultimately, the challenge for us is to give servant leadership, and to model our lives on the life of Christ who came to serve and not to be served. For a disciple of Jesus, we do not understand our activity in society as being purely for our own advantage or advancement. We regard it as being for the good of our neighbour, and for our striving to build a just, harmonious, peaceful and prosperous world.

It is all about making Christ the centre of our lives, the centre of our words and actions. Today we also celebrate the feast day of the French saint, St John Eudes, who encouraged and promoted devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus. The heart is regarded as being the centre of the body, the life-giving source. As we reflect and gaze upon the Sacred Heart of Jesus we are trying to make Jesus the centre of everything we do and undertake, the centre of our words and thoughts. To deepen our lives as servant leaders we must have Christ at the centre of our commitment and willingness to serve him. We must turn to him as the life-giving source, the source of all grace, in order that we may be faithful to the common vocation that we all have as disciples, to be servants of each other.

Let us now pray for God’s blessing:

The Lord be with you                                                  R/ And with your spirit

Almighty ever-living God, who have restored us to life by the blessed Death and Resurrection of your Christ, preserve in us the work of your mercy that we may have a life unceasingly devoted to you. Through Christ our Lord, amen.

May almighty God bless you, the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit, amen.

Prayer and Reflection by Bishop Sylvester David OMI

Auxiliary Bishop Sylvester David offers his prayer and reflection for the people of the Archdiocese of Cape Town for today, Friday 14 August 2020, during this time of the coronavirus pandemic. It is also available on the Archdiocese of Cape Town’s Facebook page and YouTube channel. Please also see below the text of his reflection, primarily for the deaf. 

Reflection for Friday 14 August 2020: Maximilian Kolbe – A Saint for our time.

In times of distress, humanity looks for heroes to light up the dark pathways we have to tread. That is why in some places of the world, those on the frontlines are saluted. This happened with the first responders and emergency personnel when New York’s twin towers were demolished, and currently we see it when frontline workers who treat Covid-19 patients are cheered. We need heroes. 

Today such a hero is held up before us by the Church as we celebrate the martyrdom of St Maximilian Kolbe – the Franciscan who died in place of another. The Nazis imprisoned him at the infamous Auschwitz concentration camp in 1941 for offering safety to mainly Jewish refugees in a community he founded. One prisoner escaped and for that ten others had to pay the price by being starved to death. He offered himself in place of one of the men sentenced to die. His logic was that the man whom he replaced had dependents but he, being celibate, had no children to support.

St Maximilian was ahead of his time – discerning a spiritual crisis he urged the Christians to use modern means of communication to evangelise. He founded a newspaper and a radio station – dare we say the precursor of our live-streamed Masses of today! Prior to being imprisoned he studied Buddhism and Shintoism in Japan and spread the Christian message using the Japanese edition of his newspaper. 

This saint is highly relevant for our time. Firstly, Catholic media in South Africa is facing severe difficulties and we need his intercessions. Secondly, we are called to make sacrifices so that others may not become infected with Covid-19. Surely we can learn from this hero who paid the ultimate price. One can have no greater love than to give one’s life for another (John 15:13). The sacrifices we are called to make are relatively small compared to his. We find it difficult to wear a mask – he put on love (Colossians 3:14). The word used for love in the original language of the New Testament indicates the total self giving love that we see on Calvary. We find it difficult to practice social distancing – he practiced the ultimate in distancing. We find it difficult to be under lockdown and curfew even while we stay at home – he was imprisoned in a concentration camp. Let us learn from the example of this great hero of the Christian faith. He knew how to lose his life in order to save it (cf. Matthew 10:39).

Let us pray: Lord, give us strength not to lose sight of your call to each of us during this time of danger. Help us to imitate the St Maximilian Kolbe by making sacrifices for our neighbours and colleagues. We ask this through Christ our Lord. Amen.