JOHANNESBURG — Hundreds of South Africans filled a historic church Sunday morning to pray for former president Nelson Mandela after his release from a local hospital earlier this week.
Rev. Benedict Mahlangu, a priest at the main Roman Catholic church in the black township of Soweto, lit a candle and asked congregants to pray for Mandela, who doctors said was treated for an acute respiratory tract infection.
More than 500 people gathered at Regina Mundi church, a former center of anti-apartheid protests and funerals.
Mahlangu said his parishioners showed great concern during Mandela's two-night hospital stay.
"Around here, there was no life, everything just stopped," Mahlangu said. "They were just asking questions: 'Why?' And I said to them, 'the man is 92 years old, he has worked for us, he has done his part and then we need to pray for him.'"