The Archbishop of Juba, His Grace Paolino Lukudu Loro, in his capacity as the Metropolitan Bishop of the Republic of South Sudan, has appointed Fr. Fernando Colombo, a Comboni Missionary, as the diocesan Administrator of the Catholic Diocese of Rumbek.
The Episcopal see of Rumbek became vacant following the sudden death of Bishop Caesar Mazzolari on Saturday, 16th July 2011.
In a letter addressed to the clergy, religious and faithful of the Catholic Diocese of Rumbek, the Archbishop of Juba appointed Fr. Colombo as diocesan Administrator of Rumbek, with effect from Wednesday, 10th August, “till the provision of the Holy Father with a new bishop for the diocese.”
In the appointment letter, Archbishop Lukudu writes that Fr. Colombo fulfils all the conditions required to serve as diocesan Administrator, adding that only recently was Fr. Colombo transferred to Juba from Rumbek where he had served as Vicar General together with the late Bishop.
The Archbishop further writes that Fr. Colombo has expressed the wish to govern the diocese for the time being in very close cooperation with some diocesan priests, calling upon the priests to “understand and be generous to cooperate.”
The Archbishop, in conclusion, calls on all priests, religious and faithful of Rumbek Diocese to keep the spirit of the gospel that shuns discouragement, adding that “our mother Church is very close around you and is praying for you.”
Fr. Colombo, aged 75, is scheduled to arrive in Rumbek on Monday and to hold meetings with the priests and religious in Rumbek diocese on Tuesday afternoon and evening respectively.
Meanwhile, the Catholic Church’s official support organization for overseas mission, Missio, has sent a belated message of condolences to the clergy and the faithful of Rumbek diocese. In an email to Good News Radio, Missio’s head of Africa Desk, Hans-Peter Hecking said that he has been out of office for a long time and only came to know about the death of the bishop.
He recalled his first extensive encounter with the late bishop just one week before his sudden death, adding that he was “deeply impressed by his friendliness and hospitality, the peacefulness and sincerity he was interacting with people around him and with those entrusted to him, (and) by the simplicity of his way of life.”
Mr. Hecking encourages the Clergy and faithful to hold fast to the words of Jesus in John, Chapter 11, that is, “I am the resurrection and the life; whoever believes in me, even if he dies, will live, and everyone who lives and believes in me will never die.”