Be “an example the whole flock can follow”: Archbishop in South Africa to New Bishop

Bishop Masilo John Selemela, new Auxiliary Bishop of South Africa's Pretoria Archdiocese. Credit: Archdiocese of Pretoria

The newly consecrated Auxiliary Bishop of South Africa’s Pretoria Archdiocese has been encouraged to live his Episcopal Ministry in a manner that inspires the people of God.

In his homily during the consecration of Bishop Masilo John Selemela on September 3, Archbishop Dabula Anthony Mpako of Pretoria urged the new Bishop to “bring the good news, especially to those who find themselves in different situations of darkness.”

“Bishop Masilo should not be a dictator over the flock entrusted to him, but rather an example that the whole flock can follow,” Archbishop Mpako said during the Episcopal Consecration event that was held at Moreleta park in Pretoria.

The South African Archbishop added, “The leadership we give must be about being catalysts who facilitate those we lead in their commitment to become evangelized evangelizers.”

The leadership, he continued, “must be about enabling and empowering those we shepherd to become living stones in building up the temple of God.”


Archbishop Mpako further encouraged the first Auxiliary Bishop of Pretoria Archdiocese to be a caring shepherd who strives to bring out the “best in those entrusted to our leadership and partially so that they become in their own right, active agents of the good news, people on fire with the gospel values, evangelized evangelizers.”

Bishop Selemela who was ordained a Priest in June 1999 was appointed Auxiliary Bishop of Pretoria Archdiocese in July. 

In his September 3 homily, Archbishop Mpako made reference to Bishop Selemela’s coat of arms, “Called to Discipleship”, saying the message on it “echoes the great commissioning of the gospel of Matthew 28:1, Go therefore and make disciples of all nations.”

“This great commissioning reminds everyone that the Church by its very nature is missionary, that is, the Church by its very nature is sent out,” he said.

The 63-year-old Archbishop encouraged the new Auxiliary Bishop to emulate Prophet Isaiah’s “process of evangelization” in bringing good news, especially to those most in need of hearing and experiencing this good news.”

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“We, the present-day Church, as part of our prophetic mission, are called upon to bring good news, especially to those who find themselves in different situations of darkness,” Archbishop Mpako said.

He continued, “We the Catholic Church in Southern Africa desire to take up this call and to articulate clearly for ourselves how best to carry out our missionary calling in our time and context.”

The South African Archbishop who started his Episcopal Ministry in August 2011 as Bishop of South Africa’s Queenstown Diocese also noted the importance of the recently launched Archdiocesan pastoral plan in the ministry of the new Bishop.

“In the local Church of the Archdiocese of Pretoria, after carrying out a consultation process through the diocesan Synod, we have just launched our adopted pastoral plan, which guides us on how to best implement the personal plan of the Catholic Church in Southern Africa,” he said. 

He added, “As our mission, Bishop Masilo, we have committed ourselves to promote and foster a personal encounter with Christ to deepen our faith and spirituality, to become truly and authentically an evangelizing and missionary Church together.”


Archbishop Mpako underscored the need “to work at becoming a self-supporting, self-reliant, self-ministering and self-propagating Church.”

Bishop Selemela is expected to assist Archbishop Mpako shepherding in the people of God in the 16,579 square kilometer Metropolitan Archdiocese with an estimated population of 249,510 Catholics, according to 2019 statistics

Established in April 1948 as the Apostolic Vicariate of Pretoria, the South African Episcopal See was elevated to a Metropolitan in January 1951. Its Ecclesiastical province comprises five Suffragan sees, which include Francistown, Gaborone, Polokwane, Rustenburg and Tzaneen.

Sheila Pires is a veteran radio and television Mozambican journalist based in South Africa. She studied communications at the University of South Africa. She is passionate about writing on the works of the Church through Catholic journalism.