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“Rejoice because we have suffered enough”: Bishop-elect in South Sudan to Citizens

Mons. Emmanuel Bernardino Lowi Napeta speaking to journalists at Juba International Airport on Thursday, November 17. Credit: Radio Bakhita

The Bishop-elect for South Sudan’s Catholic Diocese of Torit has called on the people of God in the East-Central African nation to look beyond the challenges they have experienced in the past as a result of protracted violent conflict and to cheer up. 

Mons. Emmanuel Bernardino Lowi Napeta who was speaking at Juba International Airport on Thursday, November 17, invited the people of God in Torit Diocese to rejoice in appreciation to the missionaries who started the ministry of Christian evangelization in the South Sudanese Episcopal see in 1920.

It’s time for us to rejoice because we have suffered enough from what is happening in our country,” Mons. Napeta said, and added, “The people of South Sudan have shed tears many times but with all these challenges God has sent us a message that there is time for everything.”

The Bishop-elect who is expected to take part in celebrations marking the centenary of Torit Diocese on the Solemnity of Christ the King, Sunday, November 20, challenged South Sudanese to explore ways of doing “better things for our people and the country.”

The centenary celebration, the South Sudanese Bishop-elect further said, is a moment to give thanks to God “for the little we did to review our way of life and the way we do things.” 

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“It’s also time for us to challenge ourselves and behave accordingly and respect our people with dignity,” Mons. Napeta who was arriving from the Archdiocese of Khartoum, Sudan, in the accompany of Gabriel Cardinal Zubeir Wako further said.

The centenary celebration is a time for all Christians “to reflect on what we have been doing in our lives, relate with one another and work on how we handle our responsibilities,” he said, and expressed his appreciation to members of the Clergy ministering Torit Diocese for being “instrumental” in peoples’ lives during the protracted conflict in South Sudan.

Through the efforts of the members of the Clergy in Torit Diocese, Christians “were able to stand firm,” Mons. Napeta who was appointed Bishop of the South Sudanese Episcopal See on November 8 further said. 

Making reference to Christians in what is to be his Episcopal See, he continued, “I want them to continue to build that faith through the contribution they are offering to the communities under the Diocese.”

The 48-year-old Bishop-elect thanked all those who turned up at the airport to welcome his to the country after having been away for a long time” ahead of the centenary celebration of Torit Diocese, to be celebrated under the theme, “Determined to Journey on the Path of Faith, United in Love and Reconciliation”.

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Also addressing journalists at Juba airport on November 17, Archbishop Stephen Ameyu of Juba Archdiocese invited members of the public to join representatives from the 18 Parishes of Torit Diocese during the November 20 centenary celebrations, to be presided by Cardinal Zubeir Wako at Saints Peter and Paul Cathedral of Torit Diocese.

Torit Diocese has been vacant since December 2019 when Archbishop Ameyu was transferred to Juba Archdiocese.

Once ordained Bishop, Mons. Napeta is expected to serve as the fourth Local Ordinary of the South Sudanese Diocese that has a population of 1,139,835 Catholics, according to 2020 statistics.

The 82,542 square-kilometer Catholic Diocese of Torit was erected in May 1983 and is part of the Ecclesiastical Province of Juba.