Hurley shrine opened in Durban Cathedral New prayer of intercession issued
The first step on the road to the possible canonised sainthood of Archbishop Denis Hurley, one of the great sons of the South African Church, has been made.
Cardinal Wilfrid Napier, as archbishop of Durban, has invited the faithful to demonstrate their desire to have his predecessor canonised. On the weekend of March 19, crowds gathered at Durban’s Emmanuel Cathedral to pray at the newly opened shrine to Archbishop Denis HURLEY, who was ordained bishop of Durban 70 years ago this week.
Cardinal Wilfrid Napier, Archbishop Hurley’s successor as archbishop of Durban, has given permission for a shrine and has encouraged acts of public devotion. The cardinal recently said that such devotions are the evidence that the archdiocese needs to open a cause for the canonisation of Archbishop Hurley.
Following the Catholic custom, after he died on February 13, 2004, the archbishop was buried in his own cathedral, in a grave just in front of the Lady Chapel which he loved. The shrine marks this out as a special place of prayer with a prie-dieu (or kneeler), a candle that will remain lit perpetually, and a special prayer invoking Archbishop Hurley’s example.
The date for the launch of the shrine was chosen because it was 70 years ago, on March 19, 1947 that the 31-year old Fr Denis Hurley was consecrated bishop—at the time the youngest bishop in the whole Catholic world.
When the vicariate of Durban was elevated to the status of archdiocese in 1951, he also became the world’s youngest archbishop. Archbishop Hurley retired in 1992 and then served as the parish priest of Emmanuel cathedral parish.
For many people, there is no doubt that Archbishop Hurley’s long life in the service of the Church and the country gave substance to what it means to lead a holy, saintly life.
This does not mean that the archbishop was without sin or faults — no person is free of those — but that through his faith he always sought the grace to conquer his failings.
Those who knew him will speak of Archbishop Hurley’s humility and kindness, his tolerance for the failings of others, his courage in ceaselessly advocating for justice, even at risk to his personal safety.
These are indeed holy virtues. And they were rooted in his profound faith in Our Lord and his blessed mother, his openness to the promptings of the Holy Spirit, and his submission to the guiding hand of the Father.
Masses were celebrated over the weekend by Mgr. Paul Nadal, who served as Archbishop Hurley’s last vicar-general, and by a number of Hurley’s fellow Oblates, including Bishop Barry WOOD, Natal provincial Fr Vusi MAZIBUKO, and Fr Chris RICHMOND, superior of Sabon House, the archbishop’s last community.
“Durban City Council has recognised Hurley’s importance with a street and now a museum dedicated to him; the Church is now formally encouraging us to pray for his intercession by the creation of this shrine. It is clear that he is an inspiration to Catholics and to all citizens,” said Hurley biographer Paddy Kearney.
Raymond Perrier, director of the Denis Hurley Centre, noted that “Pope Francis keeps reminding us that we are the ‘Church of the Poor’. Hurley’s example drives the work for the poor that continues in his name. With our prayers, and the work of the Spirit, perhaps in time he will be St. Denis of Durban, patron of the poor.”
Report from The Southern Cross, South Africa
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