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Showing Solidarity with Refugees and Muslims July 5th, 2017

A report from the Denis Hurley Centre, Durban, South Africa

We had two opportunities this month to show solidarity with our neighbors, especially important since Refugees and Muslims are often groups who are kept at a distance and treated with suspicion.

June 20 was UNHCR’s World Refugee Day. The Denis Hurley Centre’s (DHC) Refugee Pastoral Care worked with other organizations in the Refugee Service Providers’ Network to offer a great day of activities in our Gandhi-Luthuli Peace Hall. Live music was provided by René Tshiakanyi a French-Congolese singer, songwriter and guitarist, who also entertained the crowds outside in the Mall. A film about corruption in Senegal was screened followed by a discussion and opportunities for people to get to know each other. Food was then served for hundreds. Pleasingly, the event was attended not only by refugees from many different African countries but also by South African nationals keen to break down barriers. 

(Members of the 3 Abrahamic religions breaking the Ramadan fast with dates. (From l to R) Sr. Cathy Murugan, HF, Sufiso Duma with Islamic Propagation Centre International (IPCI) and Ohad Rooiblatt, an Israeli volunteer with project TEN (Project TEN is an international development program that operates volunteer centers in developing areas).

The next day, being one of the last days of Ramadan, we encouraged non-Muslims to observe the fast as a way of joining in prayer with our Muslim brothers and sisters across the city and across the globe. Then at 5pm, as the rays of the sunset filled the upstairs room, we broke the fast accompanied by our Muslim partner organizations, Islamic Propagation Centre International (IPCI), Grey Street Mosque, South African National Zakáh Fund (SANZAF) and RAUF (Refocus and Upliftment Foundation).

A good conversation was held about Ramadan traditions and our healthcare team were able to find out ways to help the many Muslim patients who come to our clinic. Delicious snacks and drinks were then enjoyed by all.

Denis Eugene Hurley, OMI, was the South African Roman Catholic Vicar Apostolic of Natal and Archbishop of Durban, South Africa. He died in 2004. The Denis Hurley Centre is a community center created as a place of Care, Education and Community responding to the needs of people in the heart of Durban, South Africa. Visit the Center’s website:


Hurley Shrine Opened, New Prayer Issued April 19th, 2017

Originally Published on OMIWORLD.ORG   

(The Southern Cross, South Africa) On the weekend of March 19, crowds gathered at Durban’s Emmanuel Cathedral to pray at the newly opened shrine to Archbishop Denis HURLEY, who was ordained bishop of Durban 70 years ago this week.

Cardinal Wilfrid Napier, Archbishop Hurley’s successor as archbishop of Durban, has given permission for a shrine and has encouraged acts of public devotion. The cardinal recently said that such devotions are the evidence that the archdiocese needs to open a cause for the canonization of Archbishop Hurley.

Following the Catholic custom, after he died on February 13, 2004, the archbishop was buried in his own cathedral, in a grave just in front of the Lady Chapel, which he loved. The shrine marks this out as a special place of prayer with a prie-dieu (or kneeler), a candle that will remain lit perpetually, and a special prayer invoking Archbishop Hurley’s example.

The date for the launch of the shrine was chosen because it was 70 years ago, on March 19, 1947 that the 31-year old Fr. Denis Hurley was consecrated bishop—at the time the youngest bishop in the whole Catholic world.

When the vicariate of Durban was elevated to the status of archdiocese in 1951, he also became the world’s youngest archbishop.

Archbishop Hurley retired in 1992 and then served as the parish priest of Emmanuel cathedral parish.

Masses were celebrated over the weekend by Mgr. Paul Nadal, who served as Archbishop Hurley’s last vicar-general, and by a number of Hurley’s fellow Oblates, including Bishop Barry WOOD, Natal provincial Fr Vusi MAZIBUKO, and Fr Chris RICHMOND, superior of Sabon House, the archbishop’s last community.

“Durban City Council has recognized Hurley’s importance with a street and now a museum dedicated to him; the Church is now formally encouraging us to pray for his intercession by the creation of this shrine. It is clear that he is an inspiration to Catholics and to all citizens,” said Hurley biographer Paddy Kearney.

Raymond Perrier, director of the Denis Hurley Centre, noted that “Pope Francis keeps reminding us that we are the ‘Church of the Poor’. Hurley’s example drives the work for the poor that continues in his name. With our prayers, and the work of the Spirit, perhaps in time he will be St. Denis of Durban, patron of the poor.”

Visit the Denis Hurley Centre’s website to read more about the work of the organization and for a gallery of historical photos.

Download the specially commissioned prayer to honor Archbishop Hurley and to ask for his intercession.

 The prayer:

Loving Father, we thank you for the life, vocation and ministry of your servant Denis Hurley, our bishop, brother and friend in Christ. We pray that his work for justice and peace; his loving care for the poor and marginalized; and his vision for a reformed and renewed Church, may continue to inspire us with increased vigor. Grant that the gift of the Spirit may enable us to act in harmony to establish your kingdom in our lives, our work and our world as we strive to follow Denis Hurley’s motto: “Where the Spirit is, there is freedom!” Listen kindly to the intercession of your servant Denis on our behalf, and grant us the favor of his patronage in your kingdom. We pray that in Christ your Son, all may be sanctified, all may be one. Amen.

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