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News Archives » South Africa


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.


Faith Community and Mining Industry Engage in a Day of Courageous Conversation October 23rd, 2015

Fr Seamus in BishopscourtThe process of engagement between the mining industry and faith community took a very different and innovative step on October 9th when the Anglican Archbishop of Cape Town, Archbishop Thabo Makgoba, hosted a conversation that focused on mining in southern Africa and even more specifically on South Africa. This event was preceded by three previous Days of Reflection; two hosted at the Vatican by Cardinal Peter Turkson, and one at Lambert in London hosted by the archbishop of Canterbury and the President of the British Methodist Conference. The conversation was bathed in the traditional prayer moments of Evensong and Morning Eucharist. The event opened in the cathedral of St George the Martyr in downtown Cape Town and the morning Eucharist was celebrated in the historic church of The Good Shepherd Protea, located at the edge of Kirstenbosch and near Bishopscourt, the residence of the archbishop.

The day of courageous conversation was intended to provide a safe space for a multi-perspective examination of the issues, opportunities and challenges that mining in South Africa presents, and to explore what initiatives might be undertaken to address these realities.

In both the opening prayers and his opening address, Archbishop Magoba did not shy away from the harsh and painful realities that the industry has encountered and caused. In the opening service the following prayer was offered. The archbishop composed the prayer during the protracted strike at Marikana, a site of major confrontation between miners and police in August 2012 when over 40 people died.

Cathedral of St George the Martyr

“Lord we are still mourning and grieving. We are still searching for the full truth about Marikana. We can’t kill and maim to sustain inequality. Lord, there is something amiss in this economic system and we know it. May owners, investors and shareholders feel the pain and longing for peace. May workers and mine owners find one another. May further hurt, pain and killings be averted, and may politics serve the people for the sake of peace.

 

In his opening address the archbishop recounted his own connections with the mining industry. He talked about how his father, “a self-supporting church minister”, traveled as a clothing salesman through the mining towns west of Johannesburg. He also spoke of his own experience as a psychologist working with miners who had suffered spinal cord injuries.

He recognized that one of the important steps in a day of courageous conversations is the recognition of shortcomings ArchbishopMakgobaand failures and he listed some of the ways in which the “churches have failed the mining industry”. These included “how risky mining is economically”; how we have not understood “the aspirations of people who want to earn R12,500 a month (about $920 US dollars) for working in conditions of extreme heat on stopes (cut out open spaces) lying kilometers down in the earth”; or the “constraints on managers facing the relentless pressure of meeting shareholders’ expectations for better results every quarter”.

He suggested that the process for the conversation be one “of lamentation in the sense of the Book of Lamentations in the Old Testament,” where we move beyond navel gazing and exposing one’s vulnerability but “exposing it as a tool for leadership, because you can’t say let us move forward together without acknowledging the failures of the past”. He further explained that the objective for the day would be achieved if each participant brings “their own unique concerns and contributions to this conversation, and what is of overriding importance is that each one of us tries to put ourselves in the shoes of those with whom we are in dialogue”.

Archbishop Makgoba listed the following concerns that were on his mind: mine health and safety issues, environmental degradation, social cohesion and wealth disparity. He called on labor to look at models for working jointly with management and asked management to “look at the huge disparity between executive pay and that of workers”.

SouthAfricaMining

Throughout a series of panels and small group discussions, the 30 plus participants followed the advice of the archbishop and were frank and attentive in their remarks and in their listening. Among the additional issues raised were concerns about “collective wealth and income inequality”; the inadequacy of the percentage of profits that are returned to local mine site communities; and the role of government and the loss of their voice in the conversation (the event overlapped with the annual convention of the ruling party). Questions raised for consideration and action included the prophetic and imaginative roles and platforms of the churches; a role for the church in managing conflict when it arises between parties; “when are excessive profits immoral”; increased transparency by the industry, especially with local communities; and development of an agreed upon set of best practice principles for community engagement.

The day concluded with a number of pledges for action being offered and accepted by both industry and the church. These embraced very specific projects at local mine site community levels, as well as developing a strong capable institute that could serve as an impartial resource and party to wrestle with many of the issues that could only be identified and briefly considered during the course of the day. This included issues and concerns that are very local and immediate, as well as the broader cross cutting issues of employment, energy, technology and environment that are present in communities across the country and the world.


Archbishop Tutu: My plea to the people of Israel: Liberate yourselves by liberating Palestine August 21st, 2014

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Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu, in an exclusive article published over the weekend in Haaretz, the liberal Israeli newspaper, called for a global boycott of Israel and urged Israelis and Palestinians to look beyond their leaders for a sustainable solution to the crisis in the Holy Land. South Africans – along with people across the world – have turned out in massive demonstrations in opposition to the disproportionately brutal bombing of Gaza.

The Archbishop said, “I asked the crowd to chant with me: “We are opposed to the injustice of the illegal occupation of Palestine. We are opposed to the indiscriminate killing in Gaza. We are opposed to the indignity meted out to Palestinians at checkpoints and roadblocks. We are opposed to violence perpetrated by all parties. But we are not opposed to Jews.”

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10th Anniversary of Archbishop Denis Hurley Noted in South Africa January 22nd, 2014

denis-hurley-01The 10th Anniversary of the death of Archbishop Denis Hurley will be marked by a series of events focused on peacemaking and reconciliation arranged by organizations closely linked with the Archbishop. Learn more here…

The Denis Hurley Centre, currently under construction next to Emmanuel Cathedral in Durban, has been designed as a multi-purpose community facility to promote “extensive outreach and training for the homeless, unemployed and refugees…” It will also “provide primary health care, as well as community building programmes in one of the most diverse and challenging neighborhoods of downtown Durban.” Learn more about the center at: www.denishurleycentre.org

 

 


Southern Africa Trip Report December 11th, 2012

Mary O’Herron, a long-time staff member of the JPIC Office, recently traveled to South Africa with her family. She wrote up some reflections on her time visiting Oblates in Durban. Read her trip report (Download PDF)


South African President Zuma Visits Archbishop Denis Hurley’s Tomb July 5th, 2012

South African President, Jacob Zuma visited Durban’s Emmanuel Cathedral on 19 April to pay tribute to Archbishop Denis Hurley’s contribution to South Africa’s liberation struggle by laying a wreath on his tomb. This was part of a national program of visits throughout South Africa to mark the centenary of the ANC’s foundation. The brief ceremony at the Cathedral began with Cardinal Wilfrid Napier, OFM, and other religious leaders greeting the President and his party at the entrance to the Cathedral and then escorting them to the Archbishop’s tomb in the Lady Chapel.

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