Today, here in South Africa, we celebrate Heritage Day. My word for this week will be shorter than usual, because I wish to enclose within it the Pastoral Letter of Archbishop Brislin on this day. Of course, this year we have an added bonus because we will have a public holiday to celebrate Heritage Day. The history of South Africa, as we all know too well, has been a very troubled one. We have known too much racial division, too much violence and bloodshed.

The purpose of the institution of Heritage Day was intended to be an act of reconciliation, a day when we could move forward to a brighter and more peaceful future. Sadly though, our recent times have seen no real progress in terms of a peaceful and just country. It can easily be argued that, in fact, the country has never been more divided. We have extremely high levels of violence throughout the country. And we are having to live with the consequences of massive corruption in our political and social structures. This should be a real cause of concern for all of us. I would like to suggest that, as part of our celebration of Heritage Day, we each take time to pray for our poor and troubled country: that we might still find a way forward where each and every citizen feels safe and at home in this beautiful land.

Fr Gerard, CSsR


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