On Monday, Cardinal Wilfrid Napier celebrated his 80th birthday quietly at the Durban Chancery. Surrounded by staff, who sat at a safe distance outside on the sunny morning, the Cardinal cut his birthday cake to a rousing chorus of “Happy Birthday”, led by Fr Brett Williams.
Typically a Bishop retires from active ministry at the age of 75 and a Cardinal retires from the Vatican offices at 80 years. However, the Cardinal, who is fit and healthy, will continue to serve Durban as long as necessary, following the sad death from Covid-19 of his Coadjutor Archbishop, Abel Gabaza, who was set to succeed him this year.
Cardinal Napier recently celebrated his Golden Jubilee of ordination into the priesthood. He has been Archbishop of the Durban since 1992 and was created Cardinal by Pope John-Paul II in February 2001. He is greatly admired for his vast knowledge and expertise in church leadership. He is a true “servant-leader” and we are truly blessed to have such a dedicated and experienced Archbishop in Durban.
With acknowledgement to The Southern Cross, 13 March 2021