Archbishop Stephen Brislin

Part of the letter to the Priests dated 4 May 2020 from +Stephen Brislin, Archbishop of Cape Town

A call to Prayer:
The Holy Father has requested that all Catholics pray the Rosary during the month of May, particularly on Saturdays. Please respond to Pope Francis’ call and please inform your parishioners through whatever means you can of his request and encourage them to pray the rosary. His Holiness has also given two prayers to Our Lady that can be used at the end of the rosary (or can be prayed whenever one wishes). The link to his letter and prayers is:

Furthermore, for the sake of unity and cohesion within the Archdiocese, I request that all Catholics, in addition to the other prayers we have distributed and to supplement them, pray the first prayer of Pope Francis to Our Lady (slightly modified) at 12 noon every day:

     O Mary, You shine continuously on our journey as a sign of salvation and hope.
     We entrust ourselves to you, Health of the Sick, who, at the foot of the cross, were united with Jesus' suffering, and persevered in your faith.
     Protectress of all people, you know our needs, and we know that you will provide, so that, as at Cana in Galilee, joy and celebration may return after this time of trial.
    Help us, Mother of Divine Love, to conform ourselves to the will of the Father and to do what Jesus tells us.
     For he took upon himself our suffering, and burdened himself with our sorrows to bring us, through the cross, to the joy of the Resurrection.
                    We fly to your protection, O Holy Mother of God;
                    Do not despise our petitions in our necessities, but deliver us always from every danger, O Glorious and Blessed Virgin.

Catechism Classes:
I am very concerned about Catechism Classes which, in “normal” circumstance would have resumed. Please ask your catechists to try and find innovative ways of uniting their classes at all faith levels and continuing lessons through social media. This is particularly true for those preparing for Confession, First Holy Communion and Confirmation. We are clearly going to have quite a backlog of Confirmation and as soon as the situation becomes clearer Bishop Sylvester and I will consult with parish priests as to when and how Confirmations in their parishes can take place.


Part of the letter to the Priests dated 21 April 2020 from +Stephen Brislin, Archbishop of Cape Town

"1. The burglary and desecration of the Cathedral has shocked and hurt many people. The Cathedral is considered the “mother church” not only of Cape Town but of Southern Africa. Although, it seems clear that the motivation was burglary and not desecration as such, we will follow a process of reparation. Bishop Sylvester has sent out a letter in this regard and has called on parishioners of the entire Archdiocese to say the prayers of reparation.

Please circulate these prayers to your parishioners requesting them to pray them at least once, and then to pray the final prayer until the end of this month.
While the events of the Cathedral have shocked many, we should not forget that there are frequent break-ins in some parishes almost on a weekly basis. The most hard hit are Manenberg and Delft. Please keep these priests in your prayers and offer them whatever assistance you are able to give, as we continue to try and upgrade security."



John 2:13-22
The Passover of the Jews was at hand, and Jesus went up to Jerusalem. In the temple he found those who were selling oxen and sheep and pigeons, and the money-changers at their business. And making a whip of cords, he drove them all, with the sheep and oxen, out of the temple; and he poured out the coins of the money-changers and overturned their tables. And he told those who sold the pigeons, “Take these things away; you shall not make my Father’s house a house of trade.” His disciples remembered that it was written, “Zeal for thy house will consume me.” The Jews then said to him, “What sign have you to show us for doing this?” Jesus answered them, “Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up.” The Jews then said, “It has taken forty-six years to build this temple, and will you raise it up in three days?” But he spoke of the temple of his body. When therefore he was raised from the dead, his disciples remembered that he had said this; and they believed the scripture and the word which Jesus had spoken.

Your house, O Lord, must always be a holy place.
Response: Your house, O Lord, must always be a holy place.
Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit, - Response

Antiphon: All you who love Jerusalem, rejoice with her for ever
My soul glorifies the Lord, my spirit rejoices in God my Saviour.
He looks on his servant in her lowliness; henceforth all ages will call me blessed.
The Almighty works marvels for me. Holy his name.
His mercy is from age to age, on those who fear him.
He puts forth his arm in strength and scatters the proud-hearted.
He casts the mighty from their thrones and raises the lowly.
He fills the starving with good things, sends the rich away empty.
He protects Israel, his servant, remembering his mercy, the mercy promised to our fathers,
Glory be to the Father…
Antiphon: All you who love Jerusalem, rejoice with her for ever.

Our Saviour laid down his life so that all God’s scattered children might be gathered together. In our need, let us cry out:
Response: Remember your Church, Lord.
Lord Jesus, you built your house upon a rock, - strengthen your Church with solid and lasting faith. Response
Lord Jesus, blood and water flowed from your side, - give new life to your Church through the sacraments of your new and unending covenant. Response
Lord Jesus, you are in the midst of those who gather in your name, - hear the prayers of your universal Church. Response
Lord Jesus, you prepare a dwelling-place in your Father’s house for all who love you, - help your Church to grow in divine love. Response
Lord Jesus, you never cast out anyone who comes to you, - open your Father’s house to all those who have died. Response
Our Father...

God our Father, from living stones, your chosen people, you built an eternal temple to your glory. Increase the spiritual gifts you have given to your Church that your faithful people may continue to grow into the new and eternal Jerusalem.
We ask this through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, forever and ever.


The above prayer can be downloaded in English, Afrikaans or iXhosa from the Archdiocese website.

8 April 2020

 Warning of a scam using the Archbishop’s name:

Dear PPC

Email Scam:

It has been brought to our attention of an email that was sent in the name of Archbishop Stephen Brislin (using the email address: requesting for financial assistance. Please note that no such request was made by the Archbishop and should you receive any such email kindly delete it from your inbox.

Part of the letter  dated 30 March 2020 to the Priests from Archbishop Stephen Brislin

Live-streamed Masses require the assistance of another person in order to preserve the dialogue nature of Mass. The National Lockdown prohibits any non-essential movement of people and so I regret to inform you that neither Bishop Sylvester nor myself will be able to live-stream our Masses. We have however compiled list of parishes on our website that have live Masses - these are from parishes that have two or more residential priests. Kindly forward this useful information to your parishioners.

Furthermore, I have been informed that those who seek Social Grant assistance can contact 0871583000. Apparently they also deal with food parcels. Kindly make this number known to those who have difficulty accessing their social grants or who need other assistance. The Archdiocese is also compiling a modus operandi to reach those in need, even if it is after the lockdown. There will be long-term effects and many will need assistance.

In these days of Coronavirus crisis, I also request you to keep in your prayers those who are sick and those who care for them: Doctors, Nurses, and Volunteers who risk their lives in this service.

Please be assured of my prayers for your intentions too.

Sylvester David OMI, Vicar General of the Archdiocese of Cape Town

12th May 2020
To all Parish Priests & Religious Communities
Dear Bishop, Msgr., Fr, Sr, Br,

A special request

Greetings from the office at my residence. I trust that you are well and are coping with the difficulties which present themselves during the pandemic. Above all, we ask that you take whatever measures are necessary to avoid  contamination and also to avoid the risk of transmission as there will be some carriers of Covid-19 who themselves are asymptomatic.
As is widely known, the Archdiocese has embarked on a scheme to feed the hungry during this time of difficulty. We see this as the most viable form of ministry at this time. Details of what has been done, and also of the financial details, have been published on the webpage as have appeals for funds from Parishes and individuals. The first phase involving more than 2400 parcels at a cost of almost R250 000,00 was successfully negotiated and we are in the midst of a second phase. This time several more requests have come in.
For the first phase several individuals, comprising even persons from outside of the Archdiocese, have made contributions. A few Parishes have made donations but that is sadly a minority. Most Parishes have not made any contributions. We are deeply grateful to those Parishes and individuals who have contributed and appeal to all other Parishes and religious communities to assist in this most important work. Apart from Parish and Religious Community contributions, we ask all Parish clergy to appeal to the faithful to make individual contributions as well. At this stage predictions are that we will need to feed the poor on a regular basis over the next few months. On-going contributions are therefore essential. The Archdiocese has put in a substantial amount but there is a limit to what we have. With no levy being taken during these months we have lost our main source of income but simultaneously have far greater expenses.
The words of the Lord in the parable of the last judgement (cf. Mt 25:31-46) come sharply into focus at this time and we appeal for assistance. The banking details for the feeding project are on the webpage but we include them here for easy reference:
Bank: Standard Bank
A/c name: Archdiocese of Cape Town Collections
A/c Number: 070248036
Branch name: Thibault Square
Branch code: 051001
(For those who require it this is a current account).
We thank you in anticipation and wish you every blessing as you guide your flock during these difficult days.

Bishop Sylvester David OMI
VG: Archdiocese of Cape Town



8 May 2020  : The full letter from Bishop Sylvester may be found on the Archdiocese Website  :


South Africa is among those countries with the most stringent lockdown conditions. Seeing that Canon Law does not supersede Civil Law, we have no authority to make provisions that conflict with Civil Law. During the lockdown we are asked to make the necessary sacrifices to ensure the wellbeing of all. It was noteworthy that when the State President extended the initial lockdown period he repeatedly used the rhetoric of ‘sacrifice for the benefit of others’. This accords very well with Catholic sentiment and with the Church’s Social Teachings.
How then does a Catholic cope with the need for the sacraments which cannot be provided at this time? With respect to the Eucharist, the Holy Father recently spoke of the meaningfulness of spiritual communion under the circumstances in which we find ourselves. We have put out prayers in this regard.
With respect to the Sacrament of Penance and Reconciliation the same holds. We are encouraged to make a “perfect act of contrition”, and firmly resolve to celebrate the Sacrament as soon as circumstances permit. A “perfect act of contrition” is a lively sorrow for one’s sins because of one’s love of God. An “imperfect act of contrition” on the other hand refers to wanting forgiveness because of the fear of punishment.
This is how the Church cares for the faithful in these unusual circumstances. We are encouraged to entrust ourselves to the love and mercy of God. The prayers for a “spiritual confession”, with the necessary act of contrition, is available below the examination of Conscience.

+Sylvester David OMI
Vicar General: Archdiocese of Cape Town



People who cannot get to confession because of the coronavirus lockdown or another serious reason can go to God directly, be specific about their sins, request pardon and experience God’s loving forgiveness. [Pope Francis]

See the Catechism of the Catholic Church for further reading:

The Acts of the Penitent  :  1450  -  1454


A simple Penitential Service without a Priest.

1. Prepare a quiet place and a quiet time. Have a lighted candle, a crucifix and a Bible opened to one of the following texts: Isaiah 1:18; Matthew 11:28-30; or Luke 15:1-10. Spend a few moments in silence and in private prayer.
2. Make the sign of the cross and pray for the gift of the Holy Spirit to enable you to reflect honestly:
“O, God, who by the light of the Holy Spirit, did instruct the hearts of the faithful, grant that by the same Holy Spirit we may be truly wise and ever enjoy His consolations, Through Christ Our Lord, Amen”.
3. Spend some time in recollection and look at your life. Look at relationships, areas of neglect, and also at un-Christian attitudes which may have crept in. Thank God for the good aspects and express sorrow for the negative ones.

You may like to use the Examination of Conscience  which can be found
Resolve to go to confession for serious sins as soon as circumstances change and movement is less restricted, saying:
I resolve to go to confession after the lockdown, but I pray for your forgiveness now.
4. Say the following act of contrition:
                 “O my God, I am heartily sorry for having offended Thee, and I detest all my sins, because I dread the loss of heaven, and the pains of hell; but most of all because they offend Thee, my God, Who are all good and deserving of all my love. I firmly resolve, with the help of Thy grace, to confess my sins, to do penance, and to amend my life.    Amen”.
5. Read one of the Biblical texts mentioned above and meditate on it for a few minutes.
6. For your penance:
· Pray the “Our Father” and “Hail Mary”
· Pray a brief prayer for the reparation of our Cathedral which has been vandalized and desecrated
7. Thank the Lord for the richness of his mercy and conclude by making the sign of the cross.


6th April 2020

On March 2020, our president declared South Africa in a State of National Disaster and a week later enforced the national lockdown in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. This has left many without an income, especially in the informal work sector. The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic has far reaching implications for many of us. We know that this situation is and that it will hit the pockets of many in our province and indeed in our Archdiocese. There will be an increase in the rate of unemployment resulting in many families and individuals not being able to meet their basic needs. One such basic need is to place food on the table. Already many go to bed on an empty stomach.
As Church, which is you and I, we need to respond to the needs of the less fortunate at this time. The objective is to raise funds to be able to distribute a food parcel filled with enough food to feed a family of four for one week. Given the socio-economic conditions facing the marginalised in our country, these food parcels will provide much needed nourishment to those who otherwise find it difficult to survive.
The Archdiocese will make a contribution towards this project, but the involvement of all is essential as we provide the opportunity for your participation through the donation of the price of a food parcel. We are working to raise funds for the purchase, packing, and distributing of food parcels as soon as the lockdown has been lifted. Should the national lockdown be extended, as is expected, we will need to look at how we are able to respond during the new lockdown given the restriction of movement that this will imply.
I appeal to every parish to make funds available, to urge members of your community to make contributions towards the purchase of these food parcels. A donation of R250 funds one food parcel for a family. If you are able to support a family please make your donation to our Standard Bank account:

  • Bank: Standard Bank
    Name: Archdiocese of Cape Town Collections
    Account Number: 070248036
    Branch: Thibault Square
    Branch code 051001

For further information please contact Eugene Jackson on or 0843848178.

I thank you for your support in this project and the joy that it will bring to a family in need.

+Sylvester David OMI
Vicar General of the Archdiocese of Cape Town



6th April 2020

Dear Bishop, Monsignor, Father, Deacon, Superior and Sodality Co-ordinator,

As outlined in the newsletter of 4th April, the Archbishop approached Achmat Satardien of the SVP, and Eugene Jackson, who has previously been involved in the Buckets of Love campaigns, to drive a response to the COVID-19 Pandemic and the economic hardship it will bring to many people. It is further necessary for a directive in order to facilitate the process of the distribution of food parcels.
Only application forms signed by the parish priest will be accepted, this means that any organization/sodality within the Archdiocese will need to make application through their parish. This will therefore have to be a co-ordinated process whereby parishes and sodalities draw up lists of who would require food parcels. In this way we will prevent duplication of families or individuals receiving parcels and thus allowing us to reach a greater number of families.
I ask that parishes and sodalities begin the process of identifying those in need in their parishes. Attached is the application form which needs to be completed and signed by the parish priest. There is also a list on which you will be able to list who the beneficiaries will be. Kindly note that the demand for food parcels will most likely be greater than what we are able to supply. Hence we will need to proportionally divide what we are able to supply in order to assist as many parishes/sodalities as possible.
For further information please contact Eugene Jackson on or 0843848178.
I thank you for your support in this project and for the joy it will bring to a family in need.

+Sylvester David OMI
Vicar General of the Archdiocese of Cape Town