NEW ARCHBISHOP OF PRETORIA: An Irish Franciscan, Bishop William (Liam) Slattery, OFM, up to now Bishop of Kokstad, has been appointed Archbishop of Pretoria, one of the most senior posts within the Catholic Church in South Africa. The celebration of his installation as the new archbishop took place on Sunday 30 January. We wish him every blessing as he takes up his new role of leadership and service among the People of God in South Africa.
Born in Portlaoise, Co Laois, in 1943, Archbishop Slattery was educated in the Franciscan College, Gormanston, Co Meath. He joined the Franciscans and after his novitiate he studied at Galway Univeristy and in Rome. Ordained a priest in 1970, he went as a missionary to South Africa the following year. He worked in various parishes and was director of novices for the Franciscan friars. He was rector of the national seminary, St John Vianney in Pretoria, from 1984 to 1991. He was appointed Bishop of Kokstad and ordained a bishop on 19 February 1994. He has published a number of religious and spiritual books in Sotho, Zulu, Xhosa and Sepedi. His fluency in these languages will be a blessing for the people of God in the Archdiocese of Pretoria.
The Archdiocese of Pretoria has 206,000 Catholics and a total of 109 priests, 11 permanent deacons and 273 religious.The Vatican also confirmed that Archbishop Slattery will also serve as Military Ordinary to South Africa National Defense Force, a position that traditionally has been linked with the position of Archbishop of Pretoria.