“Immensely proud”: Catholic Bishops in South Africa on Mission of Firefighters to Canada

The 200 South African firefighters who were commissioned to Canada to help fight wildfires. Credit: Working on Fire

Catholic Bishops in South Africa are “immensely proud” of South African firefighters who were commissioned to Canada to help fight wildfires.

In a message shared with ACI Africa Friday, June 9, the spokesperson of the Southern African Catholic Bishops' Conference (SACBC) thanks the 200 South African firefighters who arrived in Edmonton in Canada on June 4 to help battle the ongoing Alberta wildfires for risking “their own lives”. 

“As South Africans but most especially as Catholic Bishops we are immensely proud of our South African firefighters who have gone to Canada to help the Canadian firefighters put out the many blazes that are happening in that country,” Archbishop Stephen Brislin says.

The Archbishop of Cape Town in South Africa adds, “The smoke arising from these fires is toxic and yet our brave firefighters put their own lives at risk in order to save the lives of others.”

“This self-sacrifice, this immense service to society is an example to all of us that we too should put ourselves at the service of other people,” Archbishop Brislin further says. 


He continues, “We can assure our firefighters and their families that we hold them in prayer, that we are concerned for their safety and we pray to God that they will be back to South Africa safely and without any harm happening to them.”

In a viral video recording, the delegation of South African firefighters is seen in song and dance.

In the June 9 statement, the spokesperson of the Conference that brings together Catholic Bishops in Botswana, Eswatini, and South Africa invokes God’s graces for “courage and the strength” upon the 200 South African firefighters in Canada. 

“God bless you all and May God give you the courage and the strength to continue to do what you are doing so that you may make our world a better place and be an example to all of us as South Africans but also as citizens of this world,” the South African Catholic Archbishop implores.

The Wildfires began to spread quickly early this month, jumping from 36 to over 100 after a June 1 thunderstorm, BBC News reported.

More in Africa

Global firefighters are arriving in Quebec to help put out the more than 130 forest fires in the North American nation.

Jude Atemanke is a Cameroonian journalist with a passion for Catholic Church communication. He holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Journalism and Mass Communication from the University of Buea in Cameroon. Currently, Jude serves as a journalist for ACI Africa.