Auxiliary Bishop Sylvester David offers his prayer and reflection for the people of the Archdiocese of Cape Town for today, Friday 19th June 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.
The following video outlines procedures that the Archdiocese of Cape Town would like to take for the admitting of parishioners back into their churches for Mass. This step by step approach details what it entails.
Archbishop Stephen Brislin offers his prayer and reflection for the people of the Archdiocese of Cape Town for today, Wednesday 17 June 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.
Attached below please find a newsletter from Archbishop Stephen Brislin, as well as a para-liturgy for Holy Thursday, a new Intercessory Prayer for the Good Friday service, and a “Mass for use in the time of Pandemic”, authorized by Pope Francis.
Every Friday, for the duration of the lockdown in South Africa, Bishop Sylvester David will present a prayer and reflection for the people of the Archdiocese of Cape Town (and beyond). Here is his reflection for today, Friday 3 April 2020. It is also available on the Archdiocese of Cape Town’s Facebook page and YouTube channel.
Reflection for 3rd April 2020: Day 8 of the National Shutdown.
Topic for reflection: Jerusalem
Lent seems to have moved on very quickly and we will celebrate Palm Sunday in two days. Liturgically we are standing at the threshold of the theatre of our salvation viz. Jerusalem. Because the liturgy makes real what it signifies, we will enter Jerusalem with Jesus. What does Jerusalem mean? A popular notion is that it means the city of peace. I guess that comes from the “salem” part of the word – but the meaning is deeper that that. The first part of this composite word in Latin, Greek and Hebrew refers to priesthood, Temple, holiness and sacrifice. It is the place of the crucifixion and resurrection. It is the place of the upper room, the place of the Eucharist and the place where the Holy Spirit descended. It is the place from where the Apostles were sent. That is why we need to return to Jerusalem over and over again.
In the OT Jerusalem is non negotiable to the faithful Jew. That is what Psalm 137 is all about. “By the rivers of Babylon we sat and wept” because they wanted us to sing the Lord’s song in a strange land – outside of Jerusalem. Does this lament not reflect our own alienation from community and sacrament at this time? This psalm is very relevant. The psalmist continues, “if I forget you Jerusalem, may my right hand wither, may my tongue cleave to my mouth”. The right hand is the hand with which the person nourished him or herself. If that hand was withered the person was doomed. If the tongue cleaved to the mouth, the person could not speak. In other words, if I cannot speak of Jerusalem I might as well be silent.
This is the week of the two most famous foot washings in history. Prior to Jesus washing the disciples’ feet in John 13, his own feet were washed with the tears of a penitent woman and anointed at Bethany where Lazarus and his two sisters lived. This was an honorific anointing with very costly ointment. Judas realising that this was no ordinary perfume put up resistance calling it a waste – wanting instead to use the money for the poor. John tells us that he was not interested in the poor at all. He was a thief and helped himself from the common fund (Jn 12:5-6). Oscar Wilde, in a play called Lady Windemere’s fan, reminds us that a cynic is someone who knows the price of everything but the value of nothing. And so Judas fixed a price on the ointment as he would later fix a price on the Lord – selling him for the price of a slave.
Now what else would happen in Jerusalem during holy week? Let us recall past liturgies. Oil will take on a new meaning as will water and fire. Bread and wine will also be imbued with new meaning. If all these elements take on a new significance what a pity it will be if we ourselves do not become renewed and be able to sing a new song. St Augustine teaches that it is only a new person that can rightfully sing a new song. The new song, the new testament, the new covenant and the new person all go together. I wish you a meaningful remembrance of the Lord’s passion.
Important telephone numbers and websites to keep at hand, especially during this time of lockdown.
GBV Command Centre: 0800 428 428 / 1207867# from any cell phone
Persons with disabilities, SMS ‘help’ to 31531
Women Abuse Helpline: 0800 150 150
Child line: 0800 055 555
SAPS Crime Stop: 0860 10111 / SMS Crime Line: 32211
GBVF-related service complaints (SAPS): 0800 333 177/
National AIDS Helpline: 0800 012 322
National Human Trafficking Helpline: 0800 222 777
Suicide Helpline: 0800 567 567
National Department of Health: https://www.health.gov.za
National Institute of Communicable Diseases: https://www.nicd.ac.za
World Health Organisation: https://www.who.int
Coronavirus Hotline: 0800 029 999
Every Friday, for the duration of the lockdown in South Africa, Bishop Sylvester David OMI will present a reflection for the people of the Archdiocese of Cape Town (and beyond). In turn, Archbishop Stephen Brislin will present a reflection on every Wednesday of the lockdown. Here is Bishop Sylvester’s reflection for today, Friday 27 March 2020. The text of his reflection is below the video.
Reflection for Friday 27th March 2020
Good morning my Brothers and Sisters and welcome to the chapel in my home in Cape Town. The last line of today’s Gospel passage tells us that they wanted to arrest Jesus. Well, right now we in South Africa and in many other parts of the world are arrested. We are under house arrest with the COVID-19 shutdown and this is only the first of at least 21 days. This is a rather difficult time – we are literally in the desert with Jesus during this Lent. Apart from family prayer time, meal times, work from home times, etc. most homes will experience a restlessness. The way out for me is to develop a spirituality of restlessness. We often think of the calm nature of prayer and at times even use calming music during our meditation times but restlessness, helplessness, and even despair ought to be natural to our spirituality simply because these aspects are inescapable parts of our human existence. Read the third chapter of Ecclesiastes and see what is written there. And so as we embrace this difficult time let us remember that there is a time for everything under the sun. And right now is a time of doubt, fear and restlessness. Perhaps this can help us feel a little more authentically what the house bound and bed ridden people feel like. Perhaps as we anticipate Good Friday we can already see what Jesus must have gone through in the garden of Gethsemane. Gethsemane literally means an olive oil press and here Jesus was preparing to be crushed so as to produce the oil of salvation. Gethsemane is a rich symbol of mental and spiritual suffering and so as we go there with Jesus, let us stay with him, keeping watch and praying (Mt 26:40-46).
I will pray and contemplate more, re-read Fr Ron Rolheiser’s “The Passion and the Cross” and also a book called “Sabbath” by Wayne Muller. These are easy reads and for those who need the exact titles I will put the written text of this video on the Archdiocese of Cape Town’s webpage. Kindle is rather helpful at this time. May God strengthen you, your homes, your families and your communities during these difficult days. 21 days is a long time, but if we use it meaningfully, it can produce much fruit.
Fr Frank Whyte, a priest of the Archdiocese of Cape Town, was laid to rest on 26 March 2020 at a live-streamed funeral service presided over by Archbishop Stephen Brislin, at Nazareth House Chapel, Cape Town. He was assisted by the auxiliary bishop of Cape Town, Bishop Sylvester David OMI, auxiliary bishop emeritus Bishop Reginald Cawcutt, and a number of priests of the Archdiocese of Cape Town.
Fr Brian Gelant read the tribute from his family in Ireland, Fr Douglas Wiseman prayed the bidding prayers, and Fr Dick O’Riordan was the homilist.
All those present observed the required social distancing at this time due to the Coronavirus. The service was live-streamed to the Archdiocese of Cape Town Facebook page and is also viewable on The Catholic Archdiocese of Cape Town YouTube channel.