, 09 February, 2020 / 7:42 PM
In response to the request from the Bishop of South Africa’s Diocese of Mariannhill “for an Apostolic Visitation”, Pope Francis has appointed the Archbishop Emeritus of Pretoria in South Africa, William Slattery to represent him in the visit of the diocese that is part of the Ecclesiastical Province of Durban.
“The Holy See has recently acceded to the request of Bishop Pius Dlungwane for an Apostolic Visitation to the Diocese of Mariannhill in order to assist the Bishop in enriching the life and pastoral activity of that Local Church,” reads part of the message by Archbishop Slattery seen by ACI Africa.
Archbishop Slattery announced his appointment in a letter dated February 6, which was publicized by the Southern Africa Catholic Bishops’ Conference (SACBC).
Slated to take place this month and March, the Apostolic Visitation 2020 will “include meetings and consultation with the clergy, religious and laity of the Diocese,” the 76-year-old South African Prelate announced.
An Apostolic Visitation “is a moment of grace for a particular church to review and renew the focus and commitment of the Church on the great ministry of pastoral care,” Archbishop Slattery said in an interview with ACI Africa Friday, February 7.
He described Mariannhill Diocese as being “of great importance for the Church in South Africa due to its rich history of evangelization throughout the country and beyond.”
He added in reference to the diocese of Mariannhill, “It has many local vocations and fervent communities.”
“I would hope to sit down with the personnel of the diocese, priests, parish councils, apostolic groups and of course with the excellent religious,” Archbishop Slattery who belongs to the Order of Friars Minor (OFM) said.
By reflecting together with the Church personnel on the contemporary pastoral realities of Mariannhill diocese, the Archbishop has expressed the hope that they would “find ways to respond to the hopes, needs and plans of the people of God.”
“I hope everyone who loves the diocese will share, pray and responding to the Grace of the Holy Spirit, will make this a response to the signs of the times,” Archbishop Slattery who retired last April as the Local Ordinary of Pretoria told ACI Africa.
Mariannhill Diocese was erected as an Apostolic Vicariate on September 10, 1921 and elevated to the rank of a diocese on January 11, 1951. The diocese measures 12,612 square kilometres with a population of 329,575 Catholics, according to 2017 statistics.
ACI Africa was officially inaugurated on August 17, 2019 as a continental Catholic news agency at the service of the Church in Africa. Headquartered in Kenya’s capital, Nairobi, this media apostolate will strive to facilitate the telling of Africa’s story by providing media coverage of Catholic events on the African continent, giving visibility to the activities of the Church across Africa where statistics show significant growth in numbers and the continent gradually becoming the axis of Catholicism. This is expected to contribute to an awareness of and appreciation for the significant role of the Church in Africa and over time, the realization of a realistic image of Africa that often receives negative media framing.
Father Don Bosco Onyalla
Editor-in-Chief, ACI Africa