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Pope Transfers Bishop in South Sudan, Appoints New Bishops in Congo-Brazzaville, Nigeria

Papal appointments of December 12, 2019: from left, Archbishop-elect Stephen Ameyu of Juba in South Sudan, Bishop-elect Daniel Nzika of Congo-Brazzaville’s Impfondo, and Bishop-elect Julius Yakubu Kundi of Kafanchan in Nigeria.

On Thursday, December 12, Pope Francis accepted the resignation of two African Prelates and made three Episcopal appointments for the Church in Africa that included the transfer of the Local Ordinary of South Sudan’s Torit diocese, Bishop Stephen Ameyu to Juba Archdiocese and the naming of Fr. Daniel Nzika and Fr. Julius Yakubu Kundi as new Bishops in the Congo and Nigeria respectively.

“In follow-up to the telephone conversation, His Eminence Cardinal Filoni, the outgoing Prefect of the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples, has asked me to inform you that the Holy Father, Pope Francis, has accepted your request for the end of the pastoral governance of the Archdiocese of Juba,” begins the letter addressed to 79-year-old South Sudanese Archbishop Paolino Lukudu Loro issued by the Charge d’Affaires of the Apostolic Nunciature in South Sudan, Mons. Mark Kadima.

Kenyan-born Mons. Kadima announced the Papal transfer of Bishop Ameyu, set to mark his 56th birthday in January, to South Sudan’s capital, Juba, as Metropolitan Archbishop.

Addressing himself to Archbishop-elect and the outgoing Archbishop Lukudu, a Comboni Missionary, Mons. Kadima wrote in the December 12 letter, “Both of you will choose the day when the new Archbishop will take possession and governance of the Archdiocese, a date not more than two months from today.”

Incardinated in Torit diocese at his diaconate ordination in October 1990, Juba’s Archbishop-elect is an alumnus of the Pontifical Urbaniana University where he obtained his masters and doctoral degrees in Dogmatic Theology.’

Until his appointment as Bishop of Torit in January 2019, Archbishop-elect Ameyu had been teaching and forming candidates for priesthood at the Juba-based St. Paul’s Major Seminary.

In November, the South Sudanese Prelate was elected Vice President of Sudan Catholic Bishop’s Conference (SCBC) and Vice Chairman of the Commission for Seminaries in Sudan and South Sudan.

In Congo-Brazzaville’s Diocese of Impfondo, Pope Francis accepted the resignation of 78-year-old French Spiritan Bishop Jean Charles Gardin and appointed Fr. Nzika, a clergy of Ouessa who has been serving as Vicar General of Impfondo as Bishop of the same Diocese.

Bishop-elect Nzika, 48, was ordained a priest in December 2000 after completing his formation to priesthood alongside philosophy and theology studies at the Catholic University of Toulouse in France.

Prior to his appointment, the Bishop-elect has ministered in various capacities, including parish apostolate as Parish Vicar and Parish Priest, seminary formation as Spiritual Director and Vicar General of Impfondo Diocese.

He is an alumnus of the Catholic Institute of Angers (L’Institut Catholique d’Angers) in France where he obtained his licentiate in dogmatic theology.

In Africa’s most populous country of Nigeria, the Holy Father appointed Fr. Kundi, a clergy of Zaria as the new Bishop of Kafanchan Diocese.

The Nigerian Bishop-elect who will turn 52 next February was, until his appointment, Pastor of St. John in Muchia.

A native of Nigeria’s Zaria Diocese who initially trained as a teacher, Bishop-elect Kundi was ordained a priest for the Archdiocese of Kaduna in 1997. He worked as parish vicar in Kaduna Archdiocese and also as a  fidei donum priest in the Diocese of Jalingo, eastern Nigeria.

He obtained his licentiate in Moral Theology from the Catholic Institute of West Africa in 2006.

Some of his previous assignments have included Vice-Rector and Acting Rector of Saint Joseph’s Minor Seminary in Bassawa Zaria, Administrator of Christ the King Cathedral in Zaria, Vicar General, Diocesan Treasurer, and Chaplain of Zaria Police Corps.

He also served at Our Lady of the Lake in the Diocese of Phoenix, USA where he was in 2018 for his sabbatical.

Sr. Jecinter Okoth and Peter Mapuor Makur contributed to this story

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