“I am not here to work on a tribal basis but as a Catholic”: Bishop-elect in South Sudan

Mons. Emmanuel Bernardino Lowi Napeta folowing arrives Torit Diocese ahead of his Episcopal ORdination on January 15. Credit: Courtesy Photo

The Bishop-elect for South Sudan’s Catholic Diocese of Torit has cautioned the people of God in the East-Central African nation again the tendency to offer services on the basis of tribe and instead consider the common good.

Mons. Emmanuel Bernardino Lowi Napeta who was speaking during his reception at Sts. Peter and Paul Cathedral of Torit Diocese on January 6 offered the example of his own life, saying his pastoral ministry will not be based on people’s tribe.

 “I am not here to work on a tribal basis but as a Catholic,” Mons. Napeta said, and added, “We should put aside mentioning our tribes while serving the people of God because when we do things based on our tribes we will not go anywhere.”

The South Sudanese Bishop-elect who was appointed Bishop for the Diocese of Torit in November last year is in Torit to prepare for Episcopal Ordination scheduled to take place on 15 January said, “We should not allow ourselves to be put down by tribalism because anything based on tribe is against what we are doing, especially serving our people.”

“We should forget about the tribal ideas in our minds,” he emphasized, adding, “We need to have that mindset that will help us to look further than ourselves and to support one another.”


Mons. Napeta went on to underscore the unity of the children of God in the person of Jesus Christ, saying, “We are from one tribe and that tribe is Christianity because Christianity is the biggest tribe in the world.”

“In the Catholic Church, we don’t have a tribe because the only tribe we have is Christianity, which is bringing us together as the children of God,” he reiterated, adding, “The Catholic Church is universal and Christians should identify themselves as people of God without boundaries.”

A native of Torit Diocese where he was born in December 1973, Mons. Napeta was ordained a Priest for the Archdiocese of Khartoum in October 2004 after completing his Priestly formation from St. Paul’s Major Seminary in Khartoum.

Speaking during January 6 event, Mons. Napeta expressed his appreciation to members of the Clergy in Torit Diocese for receiving him in the Diocese, and called upon them to be his collaborators in his plans to make the Diocese of Torit “exemplary”. 

“I want you to help me to make our Diocese exemplary and that only comes through your support,” the South Sudanese Bishop-elect said, adding, “I am counting on you and I trust that we will not put our Diocese down.”

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He continued, “I know there are still many challenges but we will have to continue walking together to reach where we want.”

“I have seen how powerful and resilient you are despite the difficulties you still play an important role in keeping the Diocese moving,” Mons. Napeta further said.

He encouraged life founded on faith in the person of Jesus Christ, saying, “We still have a long way to go but with Jesus, we shall reach there to make sure our Church welcomes everybody.”

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.