Griffith, Patrick Raymond
GRIFFITH, PATRICK RAYMOND
Missionary bishop; b. Limerick, Ireland, Oct. 1, 15, 1798; d. Cape Town, South Africa, June 18, 1862. After joining the Dominicans and studying in Lisbon and Rome, he was ordained (1821). He then returned to Ireland, where in Dublin and elsewhere he became well known for his oratorical powers, charity, and zeal, and particularly for his work among the stricken during a cholera outbreak. When Pope Gregory XVI created the Vicariate Apostolic of the Cape of Good Hope (1837), he appointed Griffith as the first vicar apostolic. After being consecrated in Dublin as bishop (August 1837), Griffith arrived in Cape Town on April 13, 1838. In 1841 he began the construction of St. Mary's Cathedral, which was opened a decade later. Bishop Griffith established missions at Rondebosch, Wynberg, and Simonstown in the Cape Peninsula, and at Grahamstown and Port Elizabeth in the eastern Cape. Griffith's vicariate was divided in 1847 when the Vicariate Apostolic of the Eastern Districts of the Cape of Good Hope was created. Griffith consecrated Aidan Devereux as its bishop, the first ceremony of episcopal consecration in South Africa. In 1862 Griffith resigned his post after receiving Thomas Grimley as coadjutor in 1861. Between the time of Griffith's arrival in 1838 and his death 24 years later the number of Catholics in the Cape Colony had increased from 700 (mostly military personnel) to more than 30,000. Griffith was buried in St. Mary's Cathedral, the mother church in the present Republic of South Africa.
Bibliography: j. e. brady, Trekking for Souls (Cedara, Natal 1952). w. e. brown, The Catholic Church in South Africa (New York 1960).
[j. e. brady]