Press release on the death of Archbishop Emeritus Lawrence Patrick Henry

Archbishop Lawrence Patrick Henry, Emeritus Catholic Archbishop of Cape Town, passed away suddenly at 23h45 on Tuesday 4 March 2014 after a short illness.

Archbishop Henry was born in Cape Town on 27 July 1934. He was orphaned at the age of three and was raised by his grandmother. He attended 5t Raphael’s Primary School from 1941 to 1946 and 5t Colomba’s Secondary School form 1947 to 19S0. By the time he matriculated he had decided that he wanted to be a priest. As a consequence of the apartheid system he was not able to pursue his priestly studies in South Africa and was admitted to Propaganda College and Urbaniana University in Rome in 1956 where he obtained a Bachelor’s degree in Philosophy and Theology. He was ordained priest on 22 December 1962.

On his return to Cape Town he was appointed assistant priest at Holy Cross Parish, District VI where he served until 1966, when he was transferred to assist at Holy Trinity parish, Matroosfontein. He subsequently went on to serve as the Parish Priest of St Martin de Porres, Corpus Christi and Sts John and Paul.

On 14 May 1987 he was appointed auxiliary bishop to the late Archbishop Stephen Naidoo. Upon the death of Archbishop Naidoo, Pope John Paul II appointed Bishop Henry Archbishop of Cape Town and he was installed on 17 July 1990.

Throughout his ministerial life he was known for his sense of humour, his joy and his love for people. He always had a pastor’s heart and had great concern for those afflicted by poverty, for the victims of injustice and racial discrimination. He loved to be with people and stood little on the pomp and ceremony of episcopal life. He was down to earth and always available and accessible to the ordinary person.

He will be much missed, not only by the Catholics of the Archdiocese of Cape Town, but by many people of different faiths and denominations who knew him. Evening Prayers followed by a Vigil Mass will be held at St Mary’s Cathedral, Cape Town on Friday 14 March 2014 at 19h00 and the Requiem Mass will take place at the Good Hope Centre on Saturday 15 March 2014 at 10h00.

+ Stephen Brislin
Archbishop of Cape Town

Issued at the Chancery, 12 Bouquet Street, Cape Town on 5 March 2014.

Archbishop Henry Funeral Arrangements

6 March 2014

I wish to offer my condolences to you once again on the death of Archbishop Lawrence Henry. Archbishop Henry specified clearly in his will that he was not to lie in state after his death and that his earthly remains should not be shown. Furthermore, he requested not to be buried in the Cathedral but at our site at Woltemade Cemetery. We will respect his wishes. The Funeral arrangements are as follows:

Friday 14 March 2014, 19h00 we will have Evening Prayer followed by a Vigil Mass at St Mary’s Cathedral, Cape Town.
Saturday 15 March 2014, 10hoo the Requiem Mass will take place at the Good Hope Centre.

We will then proceed to Woltemade Cemetery for the burial.

I request the priests and deacons to bring their own white vestments for both Masses.

Good Hope Centre can accommodate up to 5000 people. For that reason I encourage you to request parishioners who are able, to attend the Vigil Mass and not to go to both events. Furthermore, I suggest that parishes hold their own memorial services for Archbishop Henry.

Yours sincerely in Christ

+Stephen Brislin
Archbishop of Cape Town

Also, please be informed that regarding the funeral arrangements for the late Archbishop Henry, Books of Condolences will be available at the Chancery, Cathedral and at St Martin De Porres Catholic Church, Lavistown for the people to write personal messages.

The books will be available during the Vigil service on 14 March 2014 at the Cathedral, and also during the funeral service at the Good Hope Centre on 15 March 2014.

Thereafter one book will be on display at the Chancery until 15 April 2014 for those who still wish to leave their message of condolences.

Archbishop Henry RIP

I regret to inform you that Archbishop Lawrence Henry passed away on Tuesday 4th March at about 23h45. He died peacefully in Cape Town Medi-Clinic. Archbishop Henry had been undergoing tests over the past few days. His health took a turn for the worse on Sunday night when he experienced a great deal of abdominal pain and he was rushed to hospital. Doctors confirmed on Monday afternoon that he had cancer and that it had spread to different parts of the body. He was seen by an oncologist early on Tuesday afternoon. Despite doctors’ recognition of the seriousness of his condition the suddenness of his death was unexpected by all. Doctors have given us the assurance that Archbishop Henry died without pain.

Please keep him in your prayers and please ask parishioners at all your Masses today to pray for him. Funeral arrangements will be announced as soon as possible.

I wish to offer my condolences to you and to all who mourn the passing of Archbishop Laurie.

Eternal rest grant unto him, O Lord.

Yours sincerely in Christ,

+Stephen Brislin
Archbishop of Cape Town

Death of Mr Mandela


Mama Graça Machel and the Mandela Family

President Jacob Zuma and the Government of South Africa

Fellow South Africans

We heard of the death of Rolihlahla Nelson Mandela with great sadness. Nonetheless we cannot help but call to mind the words of Scripture:

“Let us now sing the praises of famous men, great men in their generations….They ruled their governments wisely, were known for their valour. Their counsel displayed wisdom, they saw things from afar.” (Ecclesiasticus 44:1-3)

With these words we, the Catholic Church in Southern Africa, express our gratitude to uTata Mandela for the sacrifice he made for all peoples of South Africa and for the leadership and inspiration he gave in leading us on the path of reconciliation. He never compromised on his principles and vision for a democratic and just South Africa where all have equal opportunities, even at great cost to his own freedom. Despite great suffering throughout his life he did not answer racism with racism and his words at the treason trial still inspire:

“I have fought against white domination and I have fought against black domination. I have cherished the ideal of a democratic and free society in which persons live together in harmony and with equal opportunities”.

When Tata was released on 11th February 1990 the country was in turmoil and blood was being spilt almost daily. Through his leadership at that time, reinforced when he became President in 1994, he led the country on the path of reconciliation and peace, calling on South Africans to throw all arms of destruction into the sea. For this we shall always be indebted to him.

As with all people he made mistakes and had shortcomings – we all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God (cf. Romans 3:23). Thus, we commend him to the Lord and pray that he will rest in peace. May perpetual light shine on him.

We assure you, his family, friends and colleagues – as well as all South Africans – of our prayers for you and for our country. May you be consoled.

The greatest way we can acknowledge the life of Nelson Mandela is to strive for the ideals he cherished: freedom, equality and democracy, and to defend these ideals from those who would corrupt them.

Lala kakuhle Tata, sobonana kwelizayo.

+Stephen Brislin

Archbishop of Cape Town

President of the Southern African Catholic Bishops’ Conference

A4 coffee table book

Screen Shot 2013-09-13 at 1.23.04 PMThis A4 coffee table book aims to pictorially celebrate the life of faith as it is being lived in our archdiocese in this Year of Faith. It displays a cross-section of parish life, religious communities, schools, sodalities and various groups in our archdiocese.

It is available through parishes, and proceeds will help towards the building of the two Year of Faith churches. Listen to Archbishop Brislin’s comments on the book at the Archdiocesan Pastoral Council meeting on 13 July 2013.