Southern Africa Bishops Eulogize Prelate Who Offered Apartheid Exiles “spiritual care”

The late Archbishop Emeritus of Lesotho’s Maseru Archdiocese, Bernard Mohlalisi.

Catholic Bishops in Southern Africa have eulogized the late Archbishop Emeritus of Lesotho’s Maseru Archdiocese, Bernard Mohlalisi, recalling with appreciation his pastoral service to the people of God in Lesotho and offering “hospitality and spiritual care” to exiled South Africans during the apartheid regime.

Archbishop Mohlalisi, a member of the Missionary Oblates of Mary Immaculate (OMI), passed on Friday, July 24 at the age of 87, the leadership of OMI announced on Facebook.

In a July 24 collective solidarity message to the President of Lesotho Catholic Bishops’ Conference (LCBC), Bishop Tumahole Augustinus Bane OMI, members of the Southern African Catholic Bishops’ Conference (SACBC) have expressed their “most sincere condolences on this great loss for the Church and nation of Lesotho.”

In the one-page condolence message obtained by ACI Africa, SACBC members acknowledge Archbishop Mohlalisi’s “outstanding service to the people of God for 29 years as Archbishop.”

“We remember with gratitude how he, as leader of the Church in Lesotho, received our exiles from the apartheid regime and offered them hospitality and spiritual care,” SACBC members say in their message signed by the President of the three-nation Conference, Bishop Sithembele Sipuka says.


They add in reference to the late Archbishop, “He was a shepherd to many South Africans and we can never forget.”

The Prelates drawn from Botswana, South Africa, and Swaziland express thanksgiving to the Catholic Church of Lesotho “for being there for our people in a time of need.”

Amid the “sad loss” of Archbishop Mohlalisi, SACBC members assure the people of God in Lesotho of their “prayers for someone who was a friend, a brother and a shepherd.”

They also thank God for the gift of the life and example of the late Archbishop and join the Church in Lesotho “in finding solace and comfort in the mercy of God and in remembering a good and faithful servant who lived at the service of the Lord and His people.”

“May the Lord to whom Archbishop Mohlalisi dedicated his great human and spiritual talents be His eternal joy and reward,” the members of SACBC conclude.

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Born in March 1933 in the Southern Africa Kingdom of Lesotho, late Archbishop Mohlalisi was ordained a priest of OMI in July 1963.

He was appointed Archbishop of Maseru Archdiocese in June 1990. After 29 years at the helm of the Archdiocese of Maseru, he retired in June 2009 aged 76.

When Lesotho became the first African country to initiate HIV/AIDS Universal Voluntary Counselling and Testing (UVCT) in 2004, the late Archbishop, accompanied by the then country’s Prime Minister Pakalitha Mosisili, led the locals in undertaking the test, encouraging them to know their status.

“When things are hard, the parent usually takes the lead. Since the Archbishop is our spiritual father, he has offered to go ahead of me, to give me encouragement by his example,” the Prime Minister was quoted as saying in reference to the Archbishop who offered himself to be the first to be tested.