Wednesday, January 18, 2023

“Co-operate with Bishop”: Cardinal at Episcopal Ordination in South Sudan

 Parish Priest of Sudanese Cathedral Parish Appointed Bishop for Torit  Diocese, South Sudan

The people of God in the Catholic Diocese of Torit in South Sudan have been urged to cooperate with the new Bishop who was Consecrated on Sunday, January 15.

In his homily during the Episcopal Consecration of Mons. Emmanuel Bernardino Lowi Napeta as Bishop of Torit, Gabriel Cardinal Zubeir Wako called for unity inorder to bring peace within their communities.

“The Bishop is going to lead with the messages of Christ and we need to cooperate with the Bishop because this is what is expected of us as faithful and not something else,” Cardinal Zubeir Wako said during the event that was held at Sts. Peter and Paul Cathedral of Torit Diocese. 

The Archbishop emeritus of Sudan’s Khartoum Archdiocese added, “The Bishop is coming to open our eyes to understand the inner message of the gospel.”

“We should be together as brothers and sisters because we are all working for the good of others, not ourselves,” the Cardinal said, adding, “May these messages of unity as Christians be among us because we want peace in this country.”

The native of South Sudan’s Wau Diocese continued, “Let these messages of unity be in our hearts as the children of God. If we take the messages of Jesus Christ seriously, we can unite this country and the world at large.”

The Cardinal went on to alert the new Bishop about possible opposition during his Episcopal Ministry.

He told the Bishop-elect, “There will be much opposition to what you are doing; there are people among your Priests who will think they are better prepared than you and they don’t understand why this man was chosen to be a Bishop.”

“But the Lord chooses people who will be trusted to work on his strength, wisdom and with his grace which is the power of Christians,” Cardinal Zubeir Wako said during the event that was graced by the Apostolic Nuncio in Kenya and South Sudan, Archbishop Hubertus van Megen, Catholic Bishops in South Sudan and Sudan, members of the Clergy, women and men Religious, and the Laity, including government officials, and delegates from Catholic Dioceses. 

The 81-year-old Cardinal who retired as Archbishop of Khartoum Archdiocese in December 2016 prayed that God help the new Bishop in his “new mission” and asked members of the Clergy in Torit Diocese to “help their Bishop to succeed in his mission.”

Until his appointment as Bishop for Torit Diocese on 8 November 2022, Bishop Napeta had been serving as Parish Priest of St. Matthew’s Cathedral Parish of Khartoum Archdiocese in Sudan.

The native of Torit Diocese where he was born in December 1973 was ordained a Priest for the Archdiocese of Khartoum in October 2004 after completing his Priestly formation from St. Paul’s Major Seminary in Khartoum.

He holds a Baccalaureate in Educational Sciences and Religious Education and a Licentiate in Education, with a focus on Youth Ministry and Catechetics from the Rome-based Pontifical Salesian University.

Speaking during the January 15 Consecration event, Archbishop Stephen Ameyu Martin of Juba Archdiocese called on members of the Clergy in Torit Diocese to “support the Bishop in the mission of God.”

“To our dear Priests from the Diocese of Torit, here is your Bishop and I would like you to respect him like you respected me to continue with the mission of God,” Archbishop Ameyu said.

The Catholic Archbishop who started his Episcopal Ministry in March 2019 as Bishop of Torit added, “May God open your hearts as I always pray that we need a convention so that our Diocese becomes very strong.”

In his maiden speech following his Episcopal Ordination, Bishop Napeta called on the people in his Episcopal See to “work together for the Diocese to move forward.”

“I am here to work with you and to serve you with the messages of salvation as the people of God,” he said, and added, “I can do anything alone; we have to work together to help our people.”

He continued, I am counting on your support for our Diocese to move forward because you are the people I can work with to make the Diocese great.”

“I pray that God blesses each and every one of us to do his work in this Diocese,” the newly Consecrated Bishop implored.

Bishop Napeta starts his service as the fourth Local Ordinary of Torit Diocese, which has a population of 1,139,835 Catholics, according to 2020 statistics.

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