South Africa: Bishop Barry Wood OMI (1942 – 2017)


By Mlondi Radebe/ Zamo Ngcobo

Messages of condolence continue to pour in for Auxiliary Bishop of the Catholic Archdiocese of Durban, Barry Wood. He died in a Durban hospital on May 3, following a short illness.

Wood died at the age of 74.

Wood is well known and well respected in the Archdiocese of Durban. His death came as a blow to the country’s Catholic community.

Catholic Archbishop of Durban Cardinal Wilfred Napier says the news were a big shock.

“It was a shock in a sense that I knew he had been seriously ill but the previous afternoon one of his friend Father Sylvester David had gone to the hospital and saw marvellous condition.”  

He was born in Port Elizabeth in 1942.  

Among his many missions he is known for ensuring peace and justice for all.

He condemned attacks on foreign nationals making sure the doors of Catholic churches in Durban were open during xenophobic attacks.

One Catholic says, “Bishop Barry had a great care for the refuges for our brothers and sisters from other parts of Africa. When we have Xenophobia attacks here in Durban few years ago he was one of the religious leaders who come to us and encouraged us.”

“It was and still a shock because he is a person who in spite of not being well that never stop working and never stop giving himself to others. So his death is a huge lose to everyone,” says another member of the Catholic church.

He was also known for his practical wisdom and good common sense.

Cardinal Wilfred Napier says he was a very passionate person about anything that had to do with justice.

“He cared for the sick, cared for poor. If people were unjustly treated we will get passionately angry about that so he made a big impact on people’s lives.”

By Mlondi Radebe/Zamo Ngcobo

Click HERE to download Archbishop Buti Thlagale’s homily
at Bishop Barry Wood’s funeral

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