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St Patrick's Cathedral Mohale's Hoek, Lesotho St Patrick's Cathedral Mohale's Hoek, Lesotho 

Lesotho: Remembering Cardinal Koto Sabastian Khoarai

Lesotho’s first Cardinal and Bishop emeritus of Mohale’s Hoek, Koto Sabastian Khoarai, remembered for his down to earth simplicity.

Paul Samasumo – Vatican City.

The Church in Lesotho has announced that the country’s first Cardinal, Koto Sabastian Khoarai, OMI, will be interred on 4 May 2021 at St Patrick’s Cathedral Mohale’s Hoek.

St Patrick’s -a fitting resting place

St Patrick’s Cathedral Mohale’s Hoek is a fitting rest place for a Cardinal who still felt compelled to do his bit towards its completion even after his retirement.

At the time of his appointment as Cardinal, he told The Lesotho Times, “My nomination as a Cardinal comes at a time when I was still pondering about completing the work that I started in Mohale’s Hoek, which is the construction of St. Patrick’s Mission. The construction of the Church had already started during my tenure.. It bothers me a lot that I didn’t finish what I started. Even though I am now retired … I still wanted to complete the St Patrick’s Church because I started it,” Cardinal Khoarai told the Lesotho newspaper.

A grandfather image - concern for orphans

In his message of condolences, Pope Francis commended the Cardinal for, among other achievements, his commitment “to the church’s educational apostolate in Lesotho.”

So committed was he to young people’s education, formation and welfare, that he even took the care for orphans in an institution as a personal responsibility. He worried that perhaps his appointment as Cardinal would deprive the children at the orphanage of his support.

“The other task I still wanted to pursue was to take care of the orphanage I had already established in Mohale’s Hoek. We have about 27 children in that orphanage, and without my presence, the situation could be difficult sometimes. You know when you have started something, it remains in your heart. One of the ladies who still takes care of these children was here to congratulate me after she heard about my nomination (as Cardinal). She even told me there were two more children added to the orphanage. Sometimes when they have nothing to eat, they come to me for assistance. I share what I have with them. I wanted to dedicate the rest of my retirement working with them,” said the Cardinal.

A life of service to the Church

Cardinal Khoarai, who died at 91, was 87 years old at the time of his elevation to the office of Cardinal. He could not make the trip to Rome for the consistory due to advanced age and infirmity. He received the insignia of his new office from a Papal emissary.

The Cardinal served as Bishop of Mohale’s Hoek for 36 years retiring in 2014, and was appointed Cardinal in 2016.


21 April 2021, 17:25