AFRICA/SOUTH AFRICA - Catholic Church mourns loss of Archbishop Abel Gabuza to Covid-19

Tuesday, 19 January 2021 bishops   coronavirus  

Johannesburg (Agenzia Fides) - His Exc. Mgr. Abel Gabuza, Coadjutor Archbishop of the Archdiocese of Durban, failed to overcome the crisis due to Covid-19. Archbishop Gabuza, 65, died at Hillcrest Hospital on Sunday 17 January, after a week in ICU battling Covid-19.
In a tweet posted on 10 January 2021, Cardinal Napier appealed for “spiritual solidarity” with Archbishop Abel Gabuza. At the time, the latter was said to be in the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) with the second strain of COVID-19. “Please pray for the Coadjutor Archbishop of Durban, Abel Gabuza, who has tested COVID-19 positive, and is in ICU,” Cardinal Napier wrote. Now, in announcing the death of Mgr. Gabuza, Cardinal Napier writes: "The Archbishop had not been with us in Durban long -just short of two years- but in that time we came to recognise him as a gentle, caring and warm-hearted pastor. Through his gentleness, caring and warmth, he made an immediate impact on everyone who was privileged to make his acquaintance. That’s an added reason why his passing is such a tremendous loss to us and the entire Church in Southern Africa". The Cardinal reported that Mgr. Gabuza had been affected by a new mutation of Covid-19 identified as variant 501.V2 (see Fides 18/1/2021), expressing his concern for the devastating effects of this second variant of the virus. Archbishop Gabuza was raised in the township of Alexandra, during the difficult days of Apartheid. He was ordained a priest of the Archdiocese of Pretoria on 15 December 1984. During his time as Bishop-chair of the Justice and Peace Commission under the auspices of the Southern African Catholic Bishops Conference, Archbishop Gabuza furthered his reputation as a forthright, respected and even outspoken Bishop on matters of corruption and social justices. The death of Archbishop Gabuza is added to that of 9 other Bishops, aged between 53 and 91, who died on three continents as a result of Covid-19 during the week of January 8 to 15. (L.M.) (Agenzia Fides, 19/1/2021)