Griffith, Patrick Raymond (1798–1862), first catholic bishop of the Cape colony, was born in Limerick on 13 October 1798, to John Griffith and Honor Griffith (née Nealon). After his elementary education in Limerick, he joined the Dominican order. At sixteen years of age, he went to the Dominican College of Corpo Sancto, Lisbon, and three years later, to the College of San Clemente, Rome, for his theological studies. He was ordained in 1821 and took the religious name Raymond. After his ordination, he returned to Ireland, first to the priory at Limerick, and then to St Saviour's priory, Dominick Street, Dublin, where he was elected prior in 1823. In 1826 he returned to Limerick, and began to establish his reputation as a preacher. He moved reluctantly to the Black Abbey, Kilkenny, in 1827. However, in 1829, at the request of Archbishop Daniel Murray (qv), he returned to Dublin as a curate at Townsend Street parish church, and then at the new church of St Andrew's, Westland Row, where he continued his success as a preacher. During the cholera epidemics of 1830–31, he worked indefatigably among his congregation. In 1836 Murray received a request from the colonial secretary for a resident priest for the South African catholic population. Propaganda Fide decided to establish an independent vicariate and on Murray's recommendation, Griffith was appointed as the first vicar-apostolic of the Cape of Good Hope. He was consecrated bishop 24 August 1837 at St Andrew's, Westland Row.
Griffith arrived in Cape Town on 14 April 1838, accompanied by his brother (who later became a priest), sister, and two priests. The colony held 2,500 catholics, both civilian and military, who were widely dispersed. Griffith focused his attention on the main areas of Cape Town, Grahamstown, and Port Elizabeth. He sought help in his work, but his invitation to the Marist fathers to establish a mission in the Cape was declined in 1841. Although a bishop within the church, he was considered merely a catholic chaplain by the colonial government, and received an annual stipend of £200. By 1847 Grahamstown and George both had churches and in Cape Town, St Mary's cathedral was begun in 1841 and completed in 1851. In 1847 the vicariate was split in two. Griffith retained jurisdiction over the western part, and was able to concentrate his efforts more effectively. By 1860, his health was failing and a coadjutor was appointed. He died 18 June 1862, and was buried in St Mary's cathedral, Cape Town. Griffith successfully oversaw the establishment of the catholic church in the Cape colony, and by his death there were over 30,000 catholics there. His desire to minister to the native population and to create a native clergy were ahead of their time, and were not realised owing to lack of support and funding.