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

Our Bishops have asked parishes, where possible, to provide live-streaming options for Sunday and weekday Masses and other devotions, during this time of the Covid 19 pandemic. 

This list was last updated on Wednesday 30 June 2021.

  1. Athlone: St Mary of the Angels. Sunday Mass at 09.00am is livestreamed to St Mary of the Angels Catholic Church Athlone Facebook page.
  2. Bellville: Our Lady of Fatima. 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).
  3. Belgravia: Regina Caeli. Mass is live-streamed Tuesday to Sunday mornings at 09.00am (no Mass on Mondays) to Regina Caeli Catholic Community Belgravia Facebook page
  4. Belhar: Ss John and Paul. Sunday Mass at 09.00am is livestreamed to the Ss John and Paul Catholic Church YouTube channel.
  5. Bergvliet: Holy Redeemer. The following will be live-streamed to the Holy Redeemer Catholic Church Bergvliet Facebook page: Mass on Sundays at 9.00am; Weekday Mass (Mon-Sat) at 08.30am; Novena to Our Mother of Perpetual Help on Thursdays at 7.30pm; and Stations of the Cross on Fridays at 7.00pm during Lent.
  6. Bothasig: Good Shepherd. Daily Rosary at 12.00 midday, followed by Benediction; Sunday Mass at 10.00am, followed by Holy Rosary. Weekday Masses: Tue, Wed, Fri 09.00am, Thu 6.00pm; All live-streamed on the Good Shepherd YouTube channel.
  7. Brackenfell: All Saints & St Kevin’s Northpine. Sunday Mass at 08.00am and Tuesday to Friday at 09.00am will be livestreamed to All Saints Saint Kevin Facebook page.
  8. Bridgetown: Our Lady of Good Counsel. Weekday and Sunday Mass will be live-streamed at 09.00am to the Bridgetown Parish YouTube Channel and Catholic Bridgetown – Our Lady Of Good Counsel Facebook page.
  9. Brooklyn / Milnerton: Our Lady of the Assumption: Sunday Mass is pre-recorded and uploaded to the parish YouTube Channel from 4.00pm Saturday afternoon.
  10. Cape TownSt Mary’s Cathedral. Mass will be live-streamed at 07.00 on Mondays to Saturdays and at 10.00 on Sundays to the St Marys Cathedral Parish Facebook page and to the St Mary’s Cathedral Cape Town YouTube channel (new channel).
  11. Constantia: Our Lady of the Visitation. Monday-Friday at 08.00am; and Sunday Mass at 09.00am, will be live-streamed to the Constantia Parish YouTube channel. For public worship, Mass bookings can be made at .
  12. Delft: St Lawrence. Sunday Mass at 08.00am and 10.00am, and Exposition, Benediction and Mass on Fridays at 08.30am will be livestreamed to Delft Catholic Community Facebook page.
  13. 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.
  14. FISH HOEKFish 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.
  15. Sun Valley: St Brendan’s. Mass will be live-streamed to the St. Norbert’s Priory Holy Mass Online Facebook page on Sundays at 7.30am and Thursdays at 9.30am.
  16. Goodwood: St Joseph’s. The following Masses will be live-streamed to the St Joseph’s Catholic Church Goodwood Facebook page: Sunday Masses on Sat 17.30 and Sun 08.00 and Weekday Masses Mon-Fri 08.00.
  17. 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.
  18. Hout Bay: St Anthony’s. Sunday Mass will be live-streamed at 10.00am to the St Anthony’s Parish Hout Bay YouTube channel.
  19. 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
  20. KOMMETJIEKommetjie: 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).
  21. 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.
  22. Masiphumelele: Bl. Isidore’s. Mass will be live-streamed to St. Norbert’s Priory Holy Mass Online Facebook page on Sundays at 11.00am.
  23. Kraaifontein: St Anthony’s. Sunday Mass will be live-streamed on Saturday 6.00pm and uploaded to St Anthony of Padua Parish – Kraaifontein YouTube channel by Sunday 08.00am.
  24. Kuils River: St Ninian’s. Sunday Mass is pre-recorded and is available from 08.00am Sundays on the St Ninians Kuils River YouTube channel.
  25. Lansdowne: Our Lady Help of Christians. Mass will be pre-recorded and posted on the parish YouTube channel every Sunday at 09.00am.
  26. Lavistown: St Martin de Porres. Sunday Mass will be pre-recorded and uploaded to the St Martin de Porres YouTube channel every Saturday.
  27. Maitland: St John’s. Sunday Mass will be live-streamed at 8.00am on the St John’s Maitland Facebook page and uploaded to the parish YouTube channel every Sunday at 11.30am.
  28. Manenberg: Holy Family. Sunday Mass will be livestreamed at 09.00am to the Holy Family of Nazareth Catholic Church Manenberg Facebook page.
  29. Mowbray: St Patrick’s. Mass is pre-recorded and uploaded to the St Patrick’s Mowbray YouTube channel by 09.00am every Sunday morning.
  30. Newlands: St Bernard’s. Mass will be pre-recorded and will be available at 09.00am every Sunday on the parish YouTube channel.
  31. 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.
  32. Parow: Immaculate Conception. Mass will be live-streamed on Sundays at 9.00am and Wednedays at 7.00pm to the Immaculate Conception Facebook page.
  33. Pinelands: Christ the King. Sunday Mass at 09.00am is livestreamed to Christ the King Catholic Church Facebook page.
  34. Plumstead: St Pius X. Sunday Masses will be live streamed on the SPX Facebook page and may be accessed from 8:55am at and on you YouTube thereafter at
  35. Rocklands: St Stephen’s. Sunday Mass at 08.00 am will be live-streamed to the St.Stephen’s Catholic Church Rocklands Facebook page.
  36. 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 8.00 am – Morning Prayers and Eucharistic Celebration.
  37. RondeboschSt Michael’s. Sunday Mass at 09.00 am will be streamed on Facebook Live, on the parish YouTube channel.
  38. Simon’s Town: Ss Simon & Jude. Sunday Mass at 09.00 am and Wednesday Mass at 09.00am will be live-streamed to the Simon’s Town Parish Facebook page.
  39. 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 8.30 am.
  40. 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.
  41. Stellenbosch: St Nicholas. Mass will be live-streamed to the Stellenbosch Catholic Church’s Facebook page every Sunday at 08.00am.
  42. 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.
  43. 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.
  44. 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.
  45. 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.

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 30 June 2021, 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.

Peace and blessings to all of you. On Monday I had my second shot of the Pfizer vaccine. It was an easy and efficient process and the staff were extraordinarily helpful and caring. I hope that, it you are over 60, you are registered and that you will have the vaccine. It is really important for all of us to do so. Thank you for joining me for this reflection. The love of Jesus, as his Sacred Heart reminds us, is a liberating love that frees us from fear, sin and eternal death. In the Gospel Reading of today’s Mass (Matthew 8:28-34), we hear the remarkable account of the two demoniacs who recognized Jesus and asked him “What have you to do with us?” They requested that if he was to cast them out that it be into a herd of pigs. He acceded to their request and the pigs rushed into the water and drowned. This is what happened next:

The herdsmen fled, and going into the city they told everything, and what had happened to the demoniacs, and behold, all the city came out to meet Jesus; and when they saw him, they begged him to leave their neighbourhood.

Let us pray:

All powerful God, cast far from us everything that binds us and prevents us from following your Son, Jesus, with a fully free and generous heart.  We make this prayer, through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, God for ever and ever, amen.

This event of the casting out of these demons is remarkable for a number of reasons. The demons recognize Jesus and his power – in many other situations those who encountered Jesus did not recognize him for who he was. It is the demons who address Jesus directly and they raise the issue of being cast out – in most other miracles it is the afflicted person who pleads for healing, or others who intercede on the person’s behalf. But that is not the case in this miracle. The demons make the cryptic comment, have you come to torment us before our time? Presumably, the forces of evil believe that they have full sway on earth until the end of time. Then, the demons are brave enough to make a request of Jesus – that they be cast into the herd of swine – and, surprisingly, he grants what they ask. One may well feel sorry for the pigs that then embarked on a mass suicide and, indeed, for their owners who could not have been too pleased about the loss of their herd. And what were pigs doing there in the first place? They were considered to be unclean animals and their meat not to be touched.

Most remarkable was the response of the citizens of that city. They came out en masse and were united in begging Jesus to leave their neighbourhood. There was not a word of gratitude that the two demoniacs – who were so fierce that nobody could pass their residence in the tombs where they lived among he dead – were liberated from the demonic power and, presumably, everyone would now be free to pass there without fear.

And yet, their desire to get rid of Jesus is understandable in a way. In ch 8 of Matthew’s Gospel, this miracle is in the context of a variety of miracles: Jesus cured a leper, he healed the centurion’s servant and Peter’s mother-in-law, there were a number of other healings and casting out of devils without any details given. He had calmed the storm at sea in response to his disciples’ plea “save us, Lord, we are going down”. All these miracles demonstrate the enormous power of Jesus. He had power over what is unclean, he has power over disease, he commands the winds and the sea and, yes, he has authority and power over evil and demons. He is “all powerful” over the world, the universe and the cosmos. We can surely understand that for these citizens to hear the account of such power was frightening. It is just a pity that they did not take time to get to know Jesus better, for they would have recognized that his power was the power of perfect love, gentleness and forgiveness.

Even for ourselves, Jesus can be frightening. The more we encounter him and allow his light to enter deeper into our being, the more we see ourselves as we are – and it is not always pleasant when the excuses, the rose-coloured spectacles and the images we have made for ourselves are stripped away. Perhaps our greatest fear, as we encounter Jesus more and more, is that we will have to change, to leave our comfort zones and the habits we have grown accustomed to and which make us feel safe and secure. It is no wonder that at times it is “safer” to relegate Jesus to be closed up in the tabernacle or to going to Mass on Sundays with a few prayers during the week. Among the miracles recounted in chapter 8 of St Matthew’s Gospel, Jesus warns his disciples that there is a cost to discipleship” “foxes have holes and the birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay his head”, and “leave the dead to bury the dead”. Perhaps it is this innate fear of what Jesus may ask of us, and the changes he would like us to make in our lives that cause us to be reluctant at times to welcome him fully and unconditionally in our lives – it feels safer to say “thus far, Lord, and no further”.

When we recognize that there can be this frightening aspect to the encounter with Jesus, and we recognize that at times we can be fearful of what it means to belong to Christ, we need to reflect deeply on the dominant message of the Scriptures and what is so clearly visible in the life of Jesus: God is love. Our fears can only be overcome when we trust in what has been revealed to us – God is love, he wishes to embrace us with his love, he wants no harm to come to us, he longs for the sinner to return to him, he desires to make us whole and to share his life with us, he has prepared a place for us for there are “many rooms” in God’s house. God forgives the repentant, he heals the sick and broken-hearted, he is gentle to those who have been hurt. It is all summarized in those few words: God is love. When instinctively we wish to allow God to come into our lives only to a point defined by ourselves and to allow him to go no further, let us not be like the citizens of Gadara and ask him to leave. Rather, in trust, let us surrender to him and give our lives totally to him, so that we may be enveloped by his love and transformed more and more into his image. 

Let us now pray for God’s blessing:

The Lord be with you R/ And with your Spirit

Bow down for the blessing:

Almighty and compassionate God, look kindly on your people and free them from fear and anxiety, that they may trust you in all they say and do, knowing that you are with them at all times. Through Christ our Lord, amen

May Almighty God bless you, the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit (+), amen.

Archdiocesan News 2 of 2021

HOT OFF THE “DIGITAL PRESS”: Celebrating 100 editions of Archdiocesan News; Churches dispute CoCT Rates Policy; Youth Day Mass; Caritas Cape Town; A Passion for Opera; From the Heart (of our Archbishop); Noah’s Selling Seconds; WIN A PRIZE with St Kizito; From the Book; Laudato Si’ Week 2021; An update from the Catholic Schools’ Office; Parliamentary Liaison Office Responses and Digests; CPD Training Courses; Celebrating the Year of St Joseph; Mgr Borello’s final Theology Today article; Does God Allow Suffering – Virtual Winter Living Theology 2021; When the Famine Strikes; Stories of Hope from St Joseph’s Home

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 25 June 2021, 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 25th June 2021. Gospel passage – Matthew 8:1-4


Jesus had just come down from the mount of the beatitudes where he preached about being merciful and immediately puts into practice what he had preached. He extends a hand of mercy to a leper. The text itself is crafted in a masterful fashion showing the beauty of the oriental mind in crafting texts in such a way as to highlight the more salient points. In this brief passage the actions of the leper and the actions of Jesus are highlighted by the use of simple repetition. The actions of the former are that he approaches Jesus and prostrates before him. The word used indicates prayer and also acknowledges Jesus as healer. The coming together of the man’s will with the will of Jesus (Matthew 8:2-3) marks the turning point in the story and the rhetorical device of repetition is now on the lips of Jesus when he indicates that the man should make an offering as Moses commanded. It is good and well to know all this but let us not be blinded to the practical consequences this passage has for us. Let us use the text as a mirror to see ourselves as we really are.


The word used in the original text is not “heal” or “cure” but “cleanse”. Lepers were considered unclean and had to be cleansed. Lepers were also untouchable and when Jesus reached out and touched the man, he would have been rendered unclean in the minds of the self appointed guardians of their faith. This gesture of Jesus indicates that there should be no untouchability among us and should prompt us to see in which ways we need cleansing. Are we able to approach Jesus in the manner in which the leper in today’s passage did? Note that this man made his prayer in the presence of a crowd (Mt 8:1). Can we be humble enough to recognise our insufficiency and our neediness? In what ways am I untouchable?

Another question is: “how do I treat the unattractive characters who cross my path?”. In other words, who are the lepers that populate my world? Sadly some are disowned because of addiction and unfortunate life choices. Do I have the courage to be like Jesus and stretch out a hand to them? In conversation with a street person who begged at traffic lights I came to realise that these people are hurt in many ways but what stings them the most is not so much that we do not give handouts but that we fail to acknowledge them and even make eye contact with them. It can be difficult as many social outcasts have not been schooled in the mannerisms that we would like to see but they are the children of God who loves them and who would love to show them his care through us.

This passage can be explained in a few minutes but let us not be deceived – it will continue to haunt us and force us to live in the world created by the text until we see that in the eyes of faith, it is the one who refuses to help the poor that is in greater need of being cleansed. “Lord if you want to, you can cleanse me. I want to – be cleansed” (Matthew 8:2-3).


Let us pray: Lord help us to imitate you in your attitude to those in need of help. Father may we become more attentive to those around us so that when you look at us, you will be able to say what you said about Jesus at his baptism and his transfiguration: “behold, my child in whom my heart delights”. We ask this through Christ our Lord. Amen.

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 23 June 2021, 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.

The Sacred Heart of Jesus draws us into the love of God, that perfect and true love which never deceives us. As we continue to honour the Heart of Jesus during this month of June, let us also strive to open our hearts to truth, for true love embraces truth. Welcome to this reflection. I have chosen the Scripture verse from the Gospel of today’s Mass (Matthew 7:15-20).

Beware of false prophets who come to you in sheep’s clothing but inwardly are ravenous wolves. You will know them by their fruits. Are grapes gathered from thorns or figs from thistles? 

Let us pray:

Merciful Father, through your Holy Spirit, grant us a love of truth, that we may live our call to discipleship with honesty, always striving to deepen our love and service of you and our neighbour.  We make this prayer, through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, God for ever and ever, amen.

Deception is part of human life. It always has been and, presumably, always will be, until God’s Kingdom is finally established. Sometimes I tend to think that the deception we experience in our own days is far worse than that of previous years, but that is probably not the case. A litany of lies and falsehood among people is recorded from the very first book of the Bible. In a sense this is encouraging, because we realise that deceit is part of the human condition and, despite that, God does not give up on his creation. Sadly, this generation is not unusual in living among falsity, and it exists in every sphere of life – wherever people are to be found.

Deception is often very subtle and can be couched in noble and inspiring words that are designed to conceal reality. Think of the apartheid legislation that was described as the “abolition of passes act” which, in fact, extended the pass laws to females. Wars have been fought and countless lives lost in conflict that are said to be for “justice”, “freedom”, “equality” and the like, whereas the real motivation was more nefarious, perhaps to acquire the wealth of another people, or simply to extend power. Smear campaigns ruin the careers of rivals – such campaigns may contain some truth, but often they are based on innuendo or rumour and are used to obfuscate and muddy the waters. When personal relationships are based on lies they usually end in disaster.

The Church has by no means been free from its own struggles with lies and hidden motives. We have been through very rough patches in our history. In fact, considering what has happened in our history and the depths to which we sunk at times, I suggest that it is one of the greatest signs of the Holy Spirit’s presence in the Church that it still exists and thrives in the present, after 2000 years of existence. Our own era is marked by the rise of countless churches and they continue to spring up all over the place. Some of them are “prosperity cult” churches and are a facade for the enrichment of their pastors and leaders. Their leaders term themselves prophets and promise healing and prosperity, even offering “proof” through dramatic masquerades. They attract people who are desperately trying to find truth and meaning in their lives but who, in the end, land up disillusioned and disappointed. Mostly, such churches skip or sanitize the cruel reality of the passion and crucifixion of Jesus and have little or no understanding of the Christian vocation to share in the sufferings of Christ, and that entry to eternal life can only be through the Cross. 

Falsehood in any sphere of life leads to mistrust, disappointment, hurt, anger, conflict and destruction – physical destruction or emotional destruction. Falsehood inspires disillusionment and cynicism. It causes us to wonder if truth is possible and whether anybody can be trusted. And if truth is not possible, how can love be possible? But love is possible – human experience teaches us that – and truth is possible as well, not in its perfection or fullness due to our human limitations, but both love and truth are as much part of human life as dispassion and falsity. The fact is that the deepest longings of human beings is for love and truth, both of which are aspects of the divine and reflect the divine image that exists in the creation of each person. We have only to think of many of the martyrs and saints – people such as Mother Theresa, Martin de Porres, Aloysius Gonzaga, the martyrs of Uganda, Benedict Daswa – and all the saints and martyrs who have shown their deep self-giving love for God and their neighbour, and who always sought to find the truth and to live the truth. The divine image of God’s loves shines out in them, just as it does in countless “ordinary” people, mothers, fathers, husbands, wives, children, neighbours, who give their hearts over to the truth of generous love.

Our expectation is that we should be able to trust our leaders, but we cannot put our hope in any person. People are always capable of disappointing us, simply because no person is perfect. There are people who may inspire us and we find much to admire in them – it’s good to have role models and even heroes. But the perfection of truth, and the perfection of love, is to be found in God alone. Many leaders, priests, bishops, popes, leaders of nations, in whom we recognize the image of divine truth and love but, ultimately, they are only servants who have responded to the Holy Spirit to make the world a better more caring place. Our focus, aided and encouraged by these servants, must be on God and his love, revealed in the Sacred Heart of Jesus – it is in that heart that we will find perfect love and the fullness of truth.

Let us now pray for God’s blessing:

The Lord be with you R/ And with your Spirit

Bow down for the blessing:

Protect your people for all harm and evil. We pray O Lord, and bless them with an abundance of good health, joy and peace. Through Christ our Lord, amen

May Almighty God bless you, the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit (+), amen.

Laudato Si’ presentation on Radio Veritas

In a broadcast that is of particular relevance to the Archdiocese of Cape Town, be sure to tune into Radio Veritas (DSTV 870 audio) Tuesday 7 June 2021 from 09.00-10.00 with Berni Crewe-Brown for the latest on Laudato Si’, Caring for our Common Home.

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 18 June 2021, 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.

Friday 18 June 2021. 2 Corinthians 11:18; 21-30. Please read the text.

We live in a world in which success is measured by what one has – by the brand names, by those we associate with, by what one drives, by where one lives, by one’s educational qualifications and a host of other external attributes. In sharp and striking contrast to all this, Paul claims to be a fool for Christ’s sake. He has all the attributes that his adversaries have in terms of breeding, learning and other associations but as he says elsewhere in scripture, he counts all this as rubbish compared to his life in Christ (Philippians 3:8). Somewhere along the line it became acceptable to use only polite language when speaking of religious matters and the English translation follows this unwritten rule. The language in the original is a lot more robust. Paul does not count all these external things as mere rubbish – the word he uses is far stronger.

In the today’s text Paul speaks of his sufferings as the qualifying marks for his claim to be a Christian and an Apostle. Far from the tendency today to complain if life is not easy, our heroes of the faith showed courage and tenacity when difficulties arose. They never gave up. We see this in the lives of Abraham, Moses, Joshua, Job, Tobit, John the Baptist and Jesus. Jesus in fact encouraged his followers to choose the narrow path rather than the well trodden path of fortune and fame. Jesus lived a life of poverty, not even having had a stone on which to lay his head (cf. Matthew 8:20). He came into this world in a borrowed cradle and left in a borrowed tomb. He died a shameful death in all humiliation and degradation but because of this was raised by God and given the name which is above all other names (Philippians 2:5-11). God’s logic is vastly different to ours.

Paul outlines all the difficulties he experienced. Count all the instances of “un-easiness” in our first reading of today’s Mass – it makes a rather uncomfortable litany. It could only have been borne by someone who steadfastly trusted in God – and therein lies our challenge. How do we face our difficulties? Do we trust in God or do we act as if God did not matter at all. I suggest that we end this self scrutiny by reading what St Paul wrote in his letter to the Romans. Read in a prayerful fashion the text of Romans 8:28-39. Accept the text as God’s word to the children he loves and thank him for his accompaniment on our life’s journey.

Let us pray: Father you never leave us alone. When we feel abandoned help us to remember that you are still in the same place you were when Jesus was on the cross. Give us the grace to seek you and to trust in you even when we cannot feel your presence. We ask this through Christ, who himself showed this trust. Amen.

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 16 June 2021, 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.

In the month of June we focus our lives on the Sacred Heart of Jesus, remembering his love, mercy and forgiveness. In South Africa, we celebrate “Youth Day” today, helping us to reflect on our responsibility to young people and how we can guide and equip them to contribute to the community, the growth of human dignity and equality. The excerpt of Scripture is taken from today’s Gospel Reading (Matthew 6:1-6; 16-18):

At that time: Jesus said to his disciples, “Beware of practicing your piety before men in order to be seen by them; for then you will have no reward from your Father who is in heaven.

Let us pray:

Loving Father, we pray that you will bless us with honesty, that we may live our life of discipleship with integrity and hope.  We make this prayer, through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, God for ever and ever, amen.

Last week, I spoke of Jesus’ “new commandment” – the commandment to love with the same love he has for us. The love we strive to have is a genuine love, a real concern for the good and well-being of others, without any pretence or falseness. Since we have undertaken to follow Jesus we wish our love to be sincere and this is a life-long task. The love that Jesus speaks of is not something that we have or don’t have. It is a journey of learning how to love, of being decisive in overcoming negative emotions in order to grow in sacrificial love and to persevere even though we make mistakes and have failures.

I also said last week that such love is impossible to achieve without God’s grace in us. While it is expressed in our daily activities – love in practice – it is also necessary to be in communion with the well-spring of God’s life, love and grace. In other words, it is necessary to take responsibility for our interior life, our spirituality and communion with God. The two go together, in the motto of the Benedictines it is “to work and to pray”. It is similar to the incident of Martha and Mary, where Mary sat at the feet of Jesus while Martha worked away in the kitchen preparing food (Luke 10: 38-42). Martha, who had opened her home to Jesus, was rather annoyed that she was left with the work while Mary relished simply being with Jesus. We are expected to be both Martha and Mary – to be with Christ while at the same time making our love practical and concrete. It s not a matter of “either or” but it is to be “both”.

In today’s Gospel, a reading that is read every year on Ash Wednesday, we are given ways of growing in our spiritual life. First and foremost, the warning Jesus gives us is that we are not to do this for show. It is not to impress people or to present a false and hypocritical image of ourselves. We undertake the journey to please God and to be of service to him. It is very much about our relationship with God and our desire to conform our lives to his will. 

Then Jesus speaks about giving alms. We are not to sound “a trumpet” when we do this, and we are not to let “the left hand know what the right hand is doing”. This is important, because our assistance to others is meant to arise from a genuine concern, a sense of solidarity with our neighbour who is suffering and the desire to share from what we have, no matter how little it may be.

Next, Jesus talks about prayer. We are to go into our rooms, shut the door and pray in secret. We understand his words to mean – not that we should not pray in the presence of others, such as Mass – but that we pray in the depths of our hearts, even if it is done during communal prayer. It is through prayer that we keep our relationship with God alive. It is an intimate moment when we express our deepest and most honest feelings and thoughts, stripping away all pretence and excuses!

Finally, Jesus talks about fasting, depriving ourselves of food or something else that we enjoy doing. Of course, fasting from food should not be done if it will affect our health, but we can find other ways to fast or to abstain. It is something we should practice regularly because fasting strengthens us and builds up an inner resolve so that we have control over our lives, that we do not follow every fancy and whim that might seem attractive to us. Our emotional life is important and it is essential to be “in touch with” and to understand our emotions. But, at the same time, we cannot be ruled by them, we must learn to master them. We can transform this time of Covid into a form of fasting, allowing it to change and soften our hearts to become more like the Sacred Heart of Jesus.

We are tired of Covid and wish it would go away. But we can still put this time to good use by working on ourselves and developing our inner life, with genuineness and through charity (alms giving), thinking of those who suffer more than we do, through prayer and through understanding this time as a type of fasting. The hardship of the restrictions can make us better people. For the many, many people who are struggling simply to survive and who are facing devastation, this may be a luxury, and that puts a greater onus on us who have greater blessings to reach out and make a difference in their lives.

Let us now pray for God’s blessing:

The Lord be with you R/ And with your Spirit

Bow down for the blessing:

Enlighten your people, O Lord, with the light of your truth, that they may rejoice joyfully in serving you in the daily activities of their lives and that, through them, your Kingdom may grow among people. Through Christ our Lord, amen

May Almighty God bless you, the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit (+), amen.

Youth Day Mass Celebration

Join our livestream of Youth Day Mass this Wednesday, celebrated by Archbishop Brislin. Like, follow and join the Catholic Youth Facebook page @catholicyouthct.

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 11 June 2021, 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 the Solemnity of the Sacred Heart. Friday 11 June 2021 

Good morning and welcome once again to a brief faith reflection. At the outset it must be pointed out that no amount of preaching and commentary on the mystery of the Sacred Heart can ever take the place of our own prayer reflection on the reality of God’s unfathomable love and mercy. Meditate on the first and second readings for today’s Mass. See the description of the tender love of God in the reading from Hosea and bask in that love. Also take time to reflect on the depth of God’s love for us in the second reading from Ephesians 3. 

The pandemic is resurging in a serious way and we must do everything in our power to promote and protect life. I am alone here, having gotten used to setting up the cell phone in selfie mode so I do not need the face mask. But once I step outside the mask becomes essential as it serves to protect others. And that is what today’s feast is all about – bringing comfort to others and making life bearable for them. This year the Gospel reading for the feast of the Sacred Heart of Jesus comes from the 19th chapter of John’s Gospel. It is a familiar text calling to mind the piercing of the side of Christ. 

Whereas John 19:34 describes the piercing of the side of Jesus, we remember from elsewhere in the NT that when Jesus died, the veil in the temple was torn not from bottom to top but from top to bottom. That veil was approximately 20 metres high. A human being could never have torn it. God did it (cf. Mark 15:37-38; Matthew 27:51; Luke 23:45). Why is this significant? What was behind the veil? What was God destroying when he destroyed that curtain? The curtain screened what was known as the most holy place of the Temple – the holy of holies, a place which represented heaven itself. Only the high priest could enter that place once a year to make a sin offering – and this after he himself was purified. Leviticus 16 contains all the rubrics for the Day of Atonement. In the NT the book of Hebrews makes three references to the “veil” or curtain culminating in Hebrews 10:20 where the veil in the Temple and the veil of the flesh of Christ are brought together. The implication was that when the veil of his flesh was torn, the true holy of holies – i.e. the heart of Christ itself was made manifest.

At the death of Christ, the curtain which separated humanity from the Divine was dramatically done away with. Holiness is now achieved through the death of Christ. Atonement for sins is achieved through the death of Christ. Our accessibility to the divine presence is mediated through this saving death. The 9th chapter of Hebrews describes and interprets this for us. This might be a good chance to read it. The emphasis in all this is on the mercy of God. All this involves ritual because through ritual we participate in the healing process. Ritual opens up for us possibilities for ongoing dialogue with the Divine. The Sacred Heart is none other than the merciful heart of God.

Let us pray: Lord, during this time we carry many burdens. The Coronavirus pandemic has hurt the human community in many ways. There is uncertainty, fear, illness and economic hardship. The body of Christ, is affected, infected and inflicted but we know that where the body is the head is also there. Today’s feast tells us that through his sacrifice on Calvary we are saved. Thank you for the gift of so great a redeemer. Help us to realise that no matter how heavy the burden, he is right there with us. We make our prayer through Christ our Lord. Amen.

Bishop S. David OMI
VG/Auxiliary Bishop of Cape Town