What one might have seen as inevitable, and yet which came as a sad surprise to all when it did occur, was the death, on 13 August 2012 of Father Vincent Kupiso. Fr Vincent had had to be admitted to Saint Mary’s Hospital in Pietermaritzburg three weeks previously and was accommodated in the Intensive Care Unit of the hospital. Ah his breathing became more and more laboured, at 16.00 of 13 August, his mortal body finally gave up the painful and unequal struggle and he returned his soul to his Divine Maker.
Fr Vincent was born on 26 June 1954 as the second child of his parents in Matyantya, Glen Grey District of Transkei. From an early age he knew that God was calling him into His service, and was accepted by the late Bishop John Rosner, S.A.C., Bishop of Queenstown, as a student for the diocesan Priesthood.
He absolved his philosophical and theological studies in the Saint Augustine Seminary, Lesotho, and was ordained priest by Bishop Rosner on 16 December 1981.
But even when he was studying for the diocesan priesthood, he knew that God was calling him to something more than the vocation of the diocesan priest: his love foir Saint Vincent Pallotti and his charism grew ever stronger and ever more convinced and he applied to the superiors of the Society to be accepted as a member of the Society. He was however advised that, owing to the prescriptions of the Canon Law, it would take several years longer before he could be ordained priest if he entered the Society before ordination. He accepted this advice and, as mentioned already, was ordained diocesan priest by Bishop Rosner on 16 December 1981.
After ordination he undertook pastoral work in Whittlesea and then Butterworth before being sent to undergo his Preparatory Formation (Noviciate) in the Society in Germany. After his first Consecration as a Pallottine his superiors sent him to study spirituality at the Gregorian University in Rome. He concluded these studies with a Licentiate in Spiritual Theology.
On his return to South Africa he was put in charge of Butterworth Parish by Bishop Herbert Lenhof, S.A.C. His superiors however, accepted his desire to become involved in Pallottine Formation and he was sent to the Pallottine Formation House in Merrivale, Kwa-Zulu Natal.
In 2006 the Archbishop of Durban, Wilfrid Cardinal Napier, O.F.M., appointed him parish priest of the parish of Saint Vincent de Paul in Pietermaritzburg.
Sadly, his health, which had never been strong and robust, became an ever increasing problem and he was finally forced to resign as parish priest and he returned to the House of Formation in Merrivale.
He struggled with his ever further deteriorating healthy for several years. On 13 August 2012 his life on this earth finally came to an end and he was called home to the House of the Eternal Father.
The solemn concelebrated Requiem Mass for Fr Vincent, with Bishop Dabula Mpako, Bishop of Queenstown as main celebrant together with Bishop Sithembele Sipuka from Mthatha , Bishop Michael Wüstenberg from Aliwal North, the clergy of the Diocese of Queenstown and the Pallottine Priests from the Western and Eastern Cape and Kwa-Zulu Natal as well, took place on Monday, 20 August at 11:00 in Queenstown’s packed Cathedral of Christ the King, prior to internment in the Catholic Section of the old Queenstown Cemetery, alongside of the Pallottine confreres who have gone before him.
May he rest in Peace.
Fr Barry Reabow, S.A.C.