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 9 April 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 9 April 2021. John 21:1-14

This text opens up an opportunity for us to look at the mystery of the Church. What is the Church? From the New Testament we know that the Church is the Bride of Christ and the Body of Christ. The Church is not so much an ornament as it is a Temple made up of living stones i.e. you, me and a host of others of all shapes, sizes, backgrounds, cultures and with varying degrees of holiness, commitment, and even brokenness.

Whenever we examine a mystery that is deep and complex it becomes helpful to use imagery and that is exactly what the Apostolic Fathers did when they sought to understand the mystery of the Church. I want to mention three images and amplify one of these. The Fathers presented the Church using the image of Sun and Moon saying that just as the Moon reflects the light of the Sun, the Church too ought to reflect the light of Christ. The second image used by the Fathers is that of Mother. Using maternal categories they explained that the Church generates new life through the womb of the baptismal font, nourishes this life on the breasts of the Old Testament and the New Testament, feeds us with the finest wheat, pours oil on our wounds when we are ill, forgives us with tenderness, and in general, takes care of us from the womb to the tomb.

The third image and one which I want to amplify is that of boat. It is hardly an accident that the main gathering space in the Church building is called the nave – from the Latin ‘navis’ meaning ship. In earlier times boats were made of wood and the Apostolic Fathers felt that just as we are saved from sin by the wood of the Cross, we are saved from the storms of this world by the wood of the boat. This image of boat for the Church was no apostolic thumb suck. They had a love for the Scriptures and would have known that the word for the ark by which Noah was saved (Genesis 6:14) is the same word that Scripture uses for the basket by which Moses was saved (Exodus 2:5). This word became a symbol by which God saves through water. Notice in the New Testament how Jesus would urge the disciples to get into the boat and go to the other side (Matthew 14:22 and parallel texts). Notice that Jesus got into the boat, sat down (whenever a Jewish Rabbi sat down it meant that what he was to say was important) and taught the crowds from there (Luke 5:3). Notice also that it was Peter’s boat.

In today’s passage Peter wants to go fishing (John 21:3). The verb indicates that this was not merely a Sunday afternoon fishing trip – he wanted to go fishing on an ongoing basis. He was a fisherman before Jesus got a hold of him and after the crucifixion he wanted to go back to his old way of life. There were seven apostles in Peter’s boat that day (John 21:2). (Seven is the number of perfection for the Jews). They caught nothing and Jesus appears (John 21:3-4). He is never far from his Church when it is in need. He asks a question which the English translates as: “Caught anything friends?” (John 21:5). In the original he asks: “Anything to eat?” From the form of the verb it is clear that he wants to know: “how will you sustain yourselves on an ongoing basis?” or “How will you be nourished each day?”. And then he took them back to how he touched them the first time – “drop your net on the other side” (John 21:6) and the results were astounding. Whereas Peter starts off by wanting to go back to business as usual, after encountering the risen Lord he learns that it can never be business as usual. He jumps into the water. This was risky, as the last time he did this he nearly drowned (Matthew 14:29-30). They caught a number of big fish. 

This text must be read alongside Luke 5:1-11 and the similarities and differences must be noted. In the text prior to the resurrection i.e. the Lucan text, there are two boats and two nets. In today’s passage there is one boat and one net. In the Lucan text they netted many of the same kind of fish but in today’s passage there are many of several kinds of fish – remember “every tribe and tongue and people and nation” (Revelation 7:9). Whereas in the Lucan text the nets began to tear (Luke 5:6), in today’s passage describing as it does what happens after the resurrection, the net did not tear (John 21:11). That is simply an indication that in spite of numerous weaknesses that Church will not fail. Just as his physical body was torn and bleeding on the Cross and not one of his bones was broken (John 19:33-36) – so too with his mystical body the Church; torn apart at times through defections and scandals – not one of her bones will be broken. The Church will not fail simply because it is the Church of Christ.

Let us pray: Father, thank you for the gift of the new life of the risen Christ which he makes available to us. Thank you for Easter joy. Thank you for nourishing us through your Church and help us to be worthy members of so great a mystery. We ask this through Christ our Lord. Amen. [Blessing].

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 7 April 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.

Welcome to this reflection. I wish you all a blessed and life-filled Easter. We rejoice in the Resurrection of Jesus Christ and his victory over sin and death. He has opened for us the gates of heaven and, while we are still in the world, our hearts and lives belong to him. Our true home is unity with Jesus Christ in his Kingdom. We are the Easter people, the people of Resurrection, and therefore the joyful acclamation “alleluia, alleluia” is always on our lips. I have chosen an excerpt from today’s Gospel, Luke 24:13-35.

And beginning with Moses and all the prophets, he interpreted to them in all the Scriptures the things concerning himself. As they drew near to the village to which they were going, He appeared to be going further, but they constrained him saying, “Stay with us, for it is towards evening and the day is now far spent.” So he went in to stay with them. When he was at table with them, he took the bread and blessed and broke it, and gave it to them. And their eyes were opened and they recognised him; and he vanished out of their sight. They said to each other, “did not our hearts burn within us while he talked to us on the road, while he opened to us the Scriptures?”

Let us pray:

Almighty God and Father, year  by year we rejoice in the Resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ. Graciously grant that by celebrating the Easter mysteries, we may grow in understanding and faith, and that our hearts will burn within us through the presence of the Living Word, that we may serve you and our neighbour humbly and joyfully. 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.

The two disciples, walking on the road between Jerusalem and Emmaus, met the Resurrected Christ without recognizing him. They began to speak to him about the events that had taken place in Jerusalem concerning “Jesus of Nazareth”, that he had been crucified and buried, but that the women had not found the body when they went to the tomb. Jesus in turn began interpreting the Scriptures of the Old Testament, and this is what made their hearts burn. Yet they still did not recognize him – that would only come later when they were at table with him and he broke the bread, and then he disappeared. At once they were energized to return to Jerusalem immediately to tell the apostles that Jesus had appeared to them and they recognized him in the “breaking of the bread”. In this account of the two disciples on the road to Emmaus we recognize that there is already an example of the celebration of the Eucharist – they listened to the Word and then they broke bread. The “breaking of the bread” caused them to recognize Jesus, although they had not recognized him on the road. The Eucharist gives us a totally different and new experience of God – it is beyond and more transcendent that any other encounter with the Almighty. We, who have the Eucharist, know that we cannot put into words the experience it entails, nor how it changes our lives –  but it does. The two disciples, when they recognized Jesus in the “breaking of the bread”, lost their despondency and gained new energy – they returned immediately to Jerusalem to share the news with others. So too, the Eucharist is our source of spreading the good news of Jesus Christ and witnessing to him through good works. 

The Eucharistic Prayer, which I spoke about last week, is the consecratory prayer, the prayer of miracle, that brings about transubstantiation. The unleavened bread that is offered to God, and the wine, become the Body and Blood of Christ, and we pray the Eucharistic Prayer to fulfil Jesus’ command “Do this in memory of me” (Luke 22:19) – receiving Communion is the highlight of our encounter with Christ, but the Eucharistic Prayer is central to our fulfilment of that command and also our need to be present and witness the miracle of the changing of bread and wine. We should not allow our understanding of Mass to be superficial and reduced to receiving Communion only.

The language used in the Eucharistic Prayer (and other parts of Mass) is quite different from everyday language. This is precisely because the Mass is not to be considered as a merely “everyday event” – it is meant to be a foretaste of a different reality. It is meant to take us into the realm of God. This is the reason, too, that vestments are used by priests and deacons, why there is incense and bells, genuflecting and bowing, as well as other ritualistic symbols, gestures and actions. The singing is also different (generally) and is a formalised praise of God. It is meant to present “the other” to us, to help us see that there is a reality beyond the material reality of the world. It is a spiritual and supernatural experience. If we want to understand this more we should think also of the “heavenly liturgy” described by St John in the Book of Revelation[1]. In short, it is a sacred event and its sacredness should always be safeguarded.

Many of us wonder today why people leave the Church. Surely, if we sincerely and wholeheartedly believe that the Eucharist is the Body and Blood of Jesus, how could we ever leave that? St Peter himself, after many people had leftJesus when he had given that hard teaching to the Jews saying “if you do not eat the flesh of the Son of man and drink his blood, you have no life in you” and Jesus asked his apostles whether they wanted to leave him as well, replied: “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the message of eternal life”. Whatever reasons people may have for leaving the Church they must also fundamentally  include a loss of belief in the Eucharist. That is why it is so important for us to continually deepen our appreciation of this Sacrament, and the miracle it involves. When we lose our belief in Eucharist, some will then equate communion of other Churches as being the same, and others lose their appreciation of the sacrament of the ministerial priesthood (Orders), and the importance of succession through the laying of hands that links us, through the centuries, to the Apostles.  We need to pray constantly that we will hold fast to his belief because, the moment we lose it, we lose the essence of being Catholic. We prayed in the collect of Monday’s Mass: “grant that your servants may hold fast in their lives to the Sacrament they have received in faith”. May we always hold fast to it.

Let us now pray for God’s blessing:

The Lord be with you                                      R/ And with your Spirit

Bow down for the blessing:

May the loving God strengthen you in your faith, may he nourish you through the Body and Blood of his Son Jesus, and may he grant you eternal life .  Through Christ Our Lord, amen.

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

[1]    Read, for example,

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 2 April 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 Good Friday — 2 April 2021. 

Last year we marked Good Friday under the hard conditions of lockdown level five. This year there are still some restrictions but at least some are able to attend Good Friday liturgies. So there is something to be grateful for. At the time of writing this reflection, there is still some uncertainty with respect to the possibility of further restrictions.

With the uncertainty surrounding us, the decline in the economy, the fear, and the discomfort of not even being able share social spaces with our friends and loved ones, we can easily see a cross planted in our midst right now. In addition many people have relationship issues and from time to time one hears such comments as: ‘that spouse is my cross’ or ‘my neighbour, colleague, employer, etc. is my cross’. Undoubtedly many circumstances are painful and many suffer needlessly through the careless and negligent attitudes of those with whom they live, work and share the neighbourhood – but to limit the cross only to these situations is not to benefit more fully from the mystery of Calvary. 

How and where do we encounter this mystery? What do the scriptures say? St Paul informs us that through his bodily suffering he shared in the cross of Christ. The implication is that when we suffer or take care of the sick and infirm, we actually touch the cross. Why do we not see it like that? One reason is that we have domesticated and glamorised the cross and only look for it in antiseptic places. Gilt edged crosses are only found in jewellery stores. The real cross was not perfumed but was covered with dust, blood, sweat and tears. When we have to contend with sickness and impending death in the family we actually lift the cross out of the rocks of calvary and plant it firmly in our homes and it is through the Cross that we have salvation.

Another place to find the cross is on our altars every day. St Paul, in his teaching on the Eucharist tells us that whenever we carry out the Eucharistic injunction, we celebrate the Lord’s death until he comes again. Look at your missals and pay attention to the first two acclamations of the mystery of faith whenever we celebrate Mass. Once again we lift the Cross from the rocks of Calvary and plant it firmly wherever Mass is celebrated. This is why during the shutdown we continue to celebrate Mass on a daily basis – and that is why those who cannot attend Mass need to develop in their hearts a longing for the celebration so that we will never take so great a gift for granted anymore. The prayer for spiritual communion is therefore not something to remind us of what we do not have – it is there to remind us of our longing for God – and therein lies our union with him. 

Last year just prior to the Easter weekend, our President appealed to us to maintain the shutdown beyond the stipulated three weeks. In his address he either directly or indirectly, through carefully crafted rhetoric, called for sacrifice. In essence what he asked for was for us to sacrifice ease of lifestyle and personal comforts for the good of others. In the words of Mahatma Gandhi, we need to “live simply so that others could simply live”. This language of sacrifice is what Good Friday is all about. May our remembrance of that “old rugged cross” help us to reorder our value systems. Our liturgical practices and prayer life are meant to transform us – otherwise they become exercises in futility. The invitation is for us to embrace a new humanity which places more value on neighbourliness than on acquisition of commodities and one that can give the ecology a chance to recover. When the shutdown is over if it’s back to business as usual then we will have learned nothing. 

We cannot end this reflection without thanking all those who assist the needy and those who work on the frontlines where the battle against the virus is most intense. Through your sacrifices others are empowered to live. May you be blessed for your efforts.

I wish you a deep union with Jesus who died as a lonely outcast on a hill. In this time of lockdown and the threat of death around us, you might be tempted to ask: ‘Where is God in all this?’ The answer of course is that God is still in the same place that he was when his Son was hanging on the Cross. That is why in the life of Jesus, death was not the last word. God raised him on the third day. While I cannot wish you a happy Easter, I can and I do wish you a meaningful Easter – one that will empower you to take up the challenges of this time.

Let us pray: Lord we ask for blessings on your people who honour the death of your Son, some in their parish churches, and many in their homes. In this time of shutdown with the threat of illness and infection, and with all the uncertainty and fear that this situation brings, give your people hope and empower them to reflect meaningfully on the redemption which the death and resurrection of your Son has won for us. We ask this through the same Christ our Lord. Amen. 

We adore you O Christ and we praise you – because by your holy Cross you have redeemed the world.

Bishop Sylvester David OMI 
VG: Archdiocese of Cape Town

Holy Thursday Mass of the Lord’s Supper

Our bishops invite you to join them via livestream as they commemorate the saving Passion, Death and Resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ, celebrated in the sacred liturgies of Holy Week. 

All services will be livestreamed to the Archdiocese of Cape Town Facebook page and the videos will be posted later to this website and to our YouTube channel.

Below is the Mass of the Lord’s Supper, celebrated by Archbishop Stephen Brislin at St Mary’s Cathedral, Cape Town on Thursday 1 April 2021 at 19.30

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 31 March 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.

We have entered Holy Week and we walk with Jesus on the path of calvary and resurrection. No matter where you are, no matter whether we can attend the Services or not we can and must make this a time of reflection and appreciation for our salvation. Tomorrow we celebrate the Chrism Mass in the morning, when the oils of catechumens, the sick and chrism will be blessed for use during the coming year. Tomorrow evening we celebrate the Mass of the Lord’s Supper and the institution of the Sacraments of Orders (Priesthood) and Eucharist. On Good Friday we recall the crucifixion and death of our Saviour, and on Sunday celebrate his Resurrection. The coming days are days of blessing and holiness, let’s not waste them.

The excerpt from Scripture is from today’s Gospel, Matthew 26:14-25

Go into the city to such a one, and say to him, ‘The Teacher says, My time is at hand; I will keep the Passover at your house with my disciples.’ And the disciples did as Jesus had directed them, and they prepared the Passover. When it was evening, he sat at the table with his twelve disciples; and as they were eating, he said, ‘Truly, I say to you, one of you will betray me’.

Let us pray:

Almighty God and Father, you sent your only Son into the world to take of our flesh, and to submit humbly to the Cross. Graciously grant that we may learn from him patient suffering and so share in his Resurrection. 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.

In the Mass, after the offertory and the “Prayer over the Gifts” (of bread and wine), the Eucharistic Prayer begins with the short dialogue, “The Lord be with you”, “Lift up your hearts”, “Let us give thanks to the Lord our God”, to which the people respond “And with your spirit”, “We lift them up to the Lord”, “It is right and just”. This dialogue once again establishes the communion between priest and people. It also establishes the sacredness of the prayer we are entering into. As I have said, the whole of the Mass is “God-directed” – God is our focus, and the Mass is a prayer to God. But as we begin the Eucharistic Prayer, through which the bread and wine will be consecrated, we not only make God our focus but “we lift up our hearts to him”. Not only is this offering ourselves to him but it is the desire and hope of unity with him, it is our wish that we be with him “one heart” in the love that he has for us and we have for him. We are giving ourselves to God in love. We also acknowledge that it is “right and just” to give God thanks, an essential acknowledgement as we will see later. In fact, the word “Eucharist” derives from the Greek, meaning “thanksgiving” or gratitude.

The Eucharistic Prayer is largely prayed by the priest alone, but there are there other dialogues within it, namely the Sanctus (Holy, holy), the Proclamation of Faith and the “Amen” right at the end of the Prayer, which is the assent of the people “it is so”, “it is certain”, “it is true”.

The Eucharistic Prayer weaves elements of Jewish Table Prayers as well as the prayers of the Passover into the memorial of the Last Supper, underscoring the continuity between Old Testament and New Testament and the fulfilment of the prophecies of old.

The Prayer is structured in a certain order and includes eight distinct partsi; Firstly, thanksgiving, most especially in the Preface after the short dialogue I mentioned above and ending with the Sanctus. The priest, speaking on behalf of all gathered and, indeed, on behalf of the whole Church, thanks God for the work of salvation. There are Prefaces for the various times of the year and for special celebrations. The Sanctusby which the whole congregation joins the heavenly powers in singing God’s greatness and goodness, is based on Isaiah 6:2-3. It is a cosmic hymn of praise.

Thirdly, there is the Epiclesis, in which the Church implores the power of the Holy Spirit that the gifts offered by human hands be consecrated, that is, that they become the Body and Blood of Our Lord Jesus Christ. This is followed by the Institution Narrative and Consecration by which the words and actions of Christ are repeated. The Sacrifice is effected which Jesus himself instituted at the Last Supper when he offered his Body and Blood under the species of bread and wine, and gave them to his Apostles to eat and drink, with the instruction to continue the practice in memory of him.

Fifthly, there is the anamnesis, where the Church in obedience to the command ”Do this in memory of me”, recalls especially his Passion, Resurrection and Ascension into heaven, the great acts of our salvation. The Oblation by which the Church, especially those gathered here and now, offers the unblemished sacrificial Victim to the Father, in the Holy Spirit. The intention is not only to offer the unblemished Sacrifice, Christ, to the Father, but also to offer our very selves, so that day by day, through Christ, we will be brought into ever greater unity with God and with each other, so that God at last can be all in all.

Seventhly, The Intercessions give expression that the Eucharist is offered in union with the whole Church of both heaven and earth, and that the sacrifice is made for her and for all her members, living and dead. The intercessions express unity with our Shepherds on earth – the Holy Father who is the leader of the universal Church, and our Bishop who is the shepherd of our Diocese. These are prayers for the pastoral office rather than the individuals. Finally, there is the concluding Doxology, by which the glorification of God is expressed and which is affirmed and concluded by the people’s “Amen”. In many respects, the “Amen” at the end of the Doxology is the most important response of Mass for it affirms our belief in the miracle of Jesus’ Body and Blood, given to us through the transubstantiation of the Bread and Wine.

I will continue to speak about the Eucharistic Prayer next week.

Let us now pray for God’s blessing:

The Lord be with you R/ And with your Spirit

Bow down for the blessing:

God our Father, look kindly on your family for whom your Son Jesus offered his life. Do not count their sins against them, but in your abundant mercy forgive them and give them a share in life everlasting. Through Christ Our Lord, amen.

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

i The explanations are based on those given in the General Instruction of the Roman Missal (GIRM), no 79.

Devotion to St Joseph with Bishop Sylvester David OMI

Pope Francis declared the Year of St Joseph, running from 8 December 2020 to 8 December 2021. This is a rare opportunity for us to focus on this great man who is often described as “standing in the shadows”. Joseph becomes our guide to visit the important moments of the life of Mary and the childhood of Jesus. Though operating in obscurity, Joseph leads us to a deeper understanding of Church, work, family, husband, fatherhood and prayer as we delve into some important aspects of his life. Every time we do we this have a refreshing encounter with who we are as Church in the world today. As this is also the Year of the Eucharist, Benediction forms an integral part of our devotions.

This year is an invitation by Pope Francis to celebrate St Joseph. It is an opportunity that the Church and the faithful should appropriate fully. Bishop Sylvester David OMI presents the second of the monthly reflections. It is titled: St Joseph in Scripture. It will be livestreamed to Christ the King Catholic Church Facebook page on 6 April 2021 from 19.00-19.30. The livestream link is:

Download your FREE copy of the 2021 Archdiocesan Directory

Archbishop Stephen Brislin has made the 2021 Archdiocesan Directory freely available to all! 

Instead of being printed, this edition has been made available for download as an interactive PDF. It has been adapted for use on a computer screen (as a double page spread) as well as on a cellphone (in single page portrait format). 

For your convenience, all website and email addresses will be interactive. While browsing through the directory on your computer, simply click – or on your cellphone, tap – the address you want to go to and it will launch the website you want to visit or open your default email program with the address already loaded.

A PDF reader is needed to open and read the file. Most smartphones and computers come pre-loaded with a reader, but should you not have one, it is freely available for download from The PDF reader has a “Find” function at the top of the page which makes searching easy. Simply type in a key word, e.g. “Directory” and it will take you to all instances of the word occurring in the document.

Save the file to a prominent place on your computer Desktop where it is easily accessible. To keep it in a dedicated place on your cellphone, simply download and install your favourite ebook reader from the Play Store (Android) or Apple App Store (iPhone) free of charge. These also have their own “Search” functions. 

We have endeavoured to ensure that the information in the directory is up to date, but should you find anything in need of correction please contact Stephen Docherty on the contact details below. Also, should you have any queries on navigating the document, please call on 021 462 2417, or email

We aim to publish this directory on a quarterly basis, which will be indicated in the name of the PDF file, e.g. archdiocesan directory 1 of 2021, and will be available for download from this website.

There are two files available for download, one adapted for a computer screen in “spread” or landscape format, and one adapted for a cellphone screen in portrait format. Choose the one – or both – to suit your needs.

Livestreamed Holy Week and Easter liturgies in English, Afrikaans, isiXhosa and Sesotho

The details of the liturgical celebrations for Holy Week and Easter in the various languages are as follows:

The Diocese of Oudtshoorn will livestream Holy Week and Easter Celebrations as follows:
1 April – Holy Thursday – Queen of Peace, Bongolethu – 19:00
2 April – Good Friday – St Nicholas, Brighton – 15:00
3 April – Easter Vigil – St Saviour’s Cathedral – 19:00
4 April – Easter Sunday – St Conrad, Dysselsdorp – 09:00

The Facebook link for Afrikaans liturgies is:

The Archdiocese of Cape Town will livestream Holy Week and Easter liturgies as follows:
1. 28th March 2021. Palm Sunday – 10.00 Our Lady of the flight into Egypt Cathedral
2. 1st April 2021. Chrism Mass – 10.00 Immaculate Conception Parish, Parow.
3. 1st April 2021. Mass of the Lord’s Supper – 19.30 Our Lady of the flight into Egypt Cathedral
4. 2nd April 2021. Celebration of the Lord’s Passion – 15.00 Our Lady of the flight into Egypt Cathedral
5. 3rd April 2021. Easter Vigil – 20.00 Our Lady of the flight into Egypt Cathedral
6. 4th April 2021. Easter Sunday Mass – 10.00 Our Lady of the flight into Egypt Cathedral

English services will be livestreamed to the Archdiocese of Cape Town Facebook page and links will be posted to this website and to our YouTube channel.

The Diocese of Mthatha will livestream Holy Week and Easter Celebration as follows:
Palm Sunday Mass at 09:00 in IsiXhosa from St Patrick’s Parish in Mthatha 
Holy Thursday Mass at 18:00 in IsiXhosa from St Patrick’s Parish in Mthatha 

The Facebook link for isiXhosa liturgies (above) and Sesotho and isiXhosa (below) is

Bilingual (Sesotho and isiXhosa)
The Diocese of Mthatha will also livestream bilingual Holy Week and Easter celebrations from St Martin of Tours Parish, Mthatha as follows:
1. 28 March, Passion Sunday, 11.00
2. 01 April, Maundy Thursday, 16.00
3. 02 April, Good Friday, 15.00 
4. 03 April, Holy Saturday, 18.00
5. 04 April, Easter Sunday, 10.00 

Further details will be made known as soon as these come in.

Palm Sunday Mass by Archbishop Stephen Brislin

Our bishops invite you to join them via livestream as they commemorate the saving Passion, Death and Resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ, celebrated in the sacred liturgies of Holy Week.

All services will be livestreamed to the Archdiocese of Cape Town Facebook page and links will be posted to this website and to our YouTube channel.

Here are the videos of the Palm Sunday Mass presided over by Archbishop Stephen Brislin, livestreamed at 10.00am on Sunday 28 March from St Mary’s Cathedral, Cape Town. Apologies: there are two videos, as connection was lost during the livestream.

First video of the Palm Sunday Mass
Second video of the Palm Sunday Mass

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 26 March 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 26 March 2021. Gospel passage: John 10:31-42

As startling as it might seem to some, we have to conclude that it was religion – badly practiced religion, which put the Son of God on the cross. Why do I make such a claim? All genuine religion represents a genuine search for the genuine God. Being an authentic religious leader Jesus revealed the true God to the world but the God he revealed angered the religious leaders of his time. 

In our Gospel passage of today’s Mass the Jews wanted to stone Jesus, accusing him of blasphemy. Those who opposed Jesus in the Gospel of John become a symbol for those who resist the divine message. In the synoptic gospels they are identified as Pharisees, who used religion to control people and boost their own egos. These were the people who knew the catechism but did not know God, otherwise they would never have passed the death sentence on Jesus. We see this clearly in the Gospel of Mark, for example, when the religious authorities had him condemned: “You heard the blasphemy. What is your finding? Their verdict was unanimous: he deserved to die” (Mark 14:64). 

The charge was blasphemy which means to insult God with language. When Jesus said that God was with the outcast, the marginalised, the sinners, the tax collectors, the lepers and the other untouchables they became enraged. They forgot that it was the sick who need the doctor and not the healthy. They reverenced the outwardly holy and forgot about the “circumcision of the heart” (Jeremiah 4:4). The God Jesus revealed irritated them because it robbed them of their status and their power over the people. One way to enrage a power-broker or a control freak is to threaten his/her power. Power brokers will do anything to protect their power – even to the extent of murdering the innocent. 

In this year of St Joseph, who was a family man, perhaps it will be good to see the ways in which power is exercised in the family. Among the spouses, is there a demonstration of God’s decision that the two shall become one – or is it more a case of one domineering the relationship while minimising the other? Parents, do your children love you – or do they fear you? Are they free enough to have an opinion that is different to yours or must they always reverence your soccer team, your political party, the brands you prefer, and bow down to the demands of your ego? It will be good to take the Passion of Christ into our homes knowing that the Cross does not transform us by by-passing our difficulties, but transforms us through helping us face our difficulties. It is not a spiritual bandage for a relational wound – rather, it is power to dialogue about our difficulties and to agree to respect each other’s differences. But the first step is always to recognise that we need God’s help.

Blasphemy literally means to insult God with language. We insult God with language when we say one thing and do another. For example when marriage vows are taken and then not kept, God is insulted with the utterance of vows in a faithless way. The same can be said of baptismal vows, priestly vows and religious professions. Other ways in which we insult God with language is through telling lies and through gossip. I wish you a meaningful reflection on how blasphemy can sometimes creep into the home in unnoticed ways and cause damage to our relationships. 

Let us pray: Lord, give us the grace to become more authentic in our speech and our actions and in that way to be a true disciples of Jesus. We ask this through him who is the way, the truth and the life. Amen. [Blessing].