Thursday, July 04, 2024

Pope Francis Erects New Diocese in South Sudan, Appoints First Bishop

Pope Francis has erected the Catholic Diocese of Bentiu in South Sudan and appointed Bishop Christian Carlassare, who is currently serving as the Local Ordinary of the country’s Rumbek Diocese as its pioneer Bishop.

The erection of the new Catholic Diocese in Africa’s youngest nation was made public by the Holy See Press office on Wednesday, July 3.

The Holy Father erected the Diocese of Bentiu with territory dismembered from the Diocese of Malakal, making it a suffragan of the Metropolitan Archdiocese of Juba.

The newly erected South Sudanese Diocese measures 37836 square kilometers. It has a population of 1,131.886 of which 621,643 are Catholic faithful, representing 54.92 percent of the total population of the territory of the Diocese, according to the Holy See report.

Bishop Carlassare, the pioneer Bishop of the new Diocese, who has been at the helm of Rumbek Diocese since his Episcopal Ordination in March 2022 was born in the Diocese of Vicenza in Italy in October 1977. He was ordained a Priest of the Comboni Missionaries of the Heart of Jesus in September 2004.

In 2005, he was sent on a mission to South Sudan where he held various positions including, Deputy Parish Priest, Parish Priest, Vocations Promoter, and Director of the orientation course for the Comboni Missionaries.

He also served as a member of the Secretariat of Vocational Animation and Basic Training, Councilor Provincial of the Comboni Missionaries, and Vice-Provincial of the Province of the Comboni Missionaries in South Sudan.

The Native of Italy served as Vicar General of the Diocese of Malakal before being elected as the Bishop of Rumbek in March 2021follwoed by his consecration in March 2022.

After his installation, Bishop Carlassare will oversee the new Diocese that starts with seven Parishes, seven  Diocesan Priests, four Religious Priests, 10 Major Seminarians, and two Male religious institutes, according to the July 3 Holy See report.