The late Archbishop did all these “because he understood that the mission of the Church is to save and not to destroy, to persuade and lead to conversion, to reconcile and to lead to inclusion of everyone,” the Bishop of Mthatha further said.
“In an age where the attitude of entitlement than duty is given priority, where personal desires and attachment are prioritized over sacrificial service, where individualism prevails over pursuit of the common good, where mediocrity rather than excellence is cherished and rewarded, where slogans are shouted rather than walking the talk and where retaining your life at all costs rather spending it is the order of the day, the departure of Archbishop Abel is a great loss,” the 60-year-old South African Bishop mourned.
He continued, “In this situation, we have lost somebody who modelled with his life the opposite of what we see and inspired with his words commitment and dedication.”
With the late Archbishop having been expected to succeed 79-year-old Wilfrid Cardinal Napier as the Local Ordinary of Durban Archdiocese, the SACBC President bemoaned, “With his unexpected departure, we will forever wonder how the Archdiocese would have turned out under his leadership, and for this reason we are distraught about his unexpected departure”
“Yet distraught as we are and distraught as we should be, we must remember that in the eyes of God, Archbishop Abel has fulfilled his tasks because in God, time is neither here nor there. As one of the famous saying states, ‘in the end, it's not the years in your life that count. It's the life in your years,’” Bishop Sipuka said.
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He turned to God in gratitude saying, “Thank you, Lord, for the life of Archbishop Abel, for the brotherhood with him, for the work we have tried to do with him and for whatever salvific effect you will bring about by his embracing of the cross of COVID.”
“In making a spontaneous prayer, Archbishop Abel always began by saying ‘God our Father’; may he now experience the fullness of your love as his father. May his soul and souls of all the faithfully departed rest in peace,” Bishop Sipuka noted and implored.
Set to be held at Durban’s Emmanuel Cathedral, attendance to the Friday, January 22 burial of Archbishop Gabuza will be “severely restricted” due to the COVID-19 pandemic, SACBC leadership announced in a January 19 statement obtained by ACI Africa.