Cardinal Owen McCann, Angola and Mozambique: Greater Ireland Meets Greater Portugal


The first Mass in Southern Africa was celebrated by the Portuguese at Algoa Bay near Port Elizabeth, shortly after they arrived with Bartholomeu Dias in 1487. That there was a Catholic faith for the Dutch settlers to outlaw when they arrived in the Cape Peninsula in 1652 is indicative of its survival long after the Portuguese had left at the turn of the sixteenth century, and that in spite of the lack of continuity of pastoral presence and access to the sacraments. And again, in the nineteenth century, when the Irish but Lisbon-educated Dominican Patrick Griffith was sent to the Cape Colony to become the first Irish vicar apostolic in Southern Africa in 1838, and he set out to travel the length and breadth of the territory, and he found scattered Catholic families across the territory.



Alexandra Maclennan