Cardinal in CAR Urges New Bishop to be Attentive to Needs of Impoverished Community

Bishop Aurelio Gazzero, Coadjutor Bishop of the Catholic Diocese of Bangassou in the Central African Republic (CAR). Credit: Lanoca

The Archbishop of Bangui Archdiocese in the Central African Republic (CAR) has urged the new Bishop of the Catholic Diocese of Bangassou to be a source of hope for the impoverished community he has been called to serve.

In his homily during the Episcopal Ordination of Mons. Aurelio Gazzero as Coadjutor Bishop of the Central African Episcopal See,  Dieudonné Cardinal Nzapalainga reminded the new Bishop that the faithful of Bangassou still bear scars of decades of violence are living in deplorable conditions.

Cardinal Nzapalainga encouraged the new Bishop to  “remain a man of prayer”, living his faith and fostering hope and charity in the communities that still have rebel territories.

Reflecting on the challenges in Bangassou Diocese, the Cardinal said, “The roads are inaccessible and difficult to drive on. There are only two male and two female religious communities in this diocese. This diocese still bears the scars of the military-political crises. Some localities are still in the hands of rebel groups.”

“Beyond the inaccessible roads, the insecurity, the soaring prices of basic commodities and building materials, there are men and women waiting to receive from you the Word of God that comforts and uplifts, sacraments that increase the life of God within them, peasant populations who want to go about their business in complete safety, to sell their produce from the fields, fishing and hunting, and to be able to live with dignity and decency, people who are afflicted and suffering and who want to benefit from appropriate health care; children who want to receive quality education and training; young people who hope for a better future,” Cardinal Nzapalainga said during the Sunday, June 9 Eucharistic celebration that was held at Our Lady of Immaculate Conception Cathedral of Bagui Archdiocese.


The member of the Congregation of the Holy Spirit under the protection of the Immaculate Heart of Mary (CSSp.) told Mons. Gazzero to “remain a man of prayer, faith, hope, and charity” in the face of the numerous challenges.

“Christ will challenge you, just as he challenged the apostle Peter, the head of the college of apostles, after his resurrection: Aurelio, do you love me?” the Cardinal said.

He added, “It's through intimate dialogue, prayer, lectio divina, daily celebration of the Eucharist, and service to the people of God that you'll know how to answer him: Lord, you know everything, you know that I love you!”

He reminded the new Bishop to always be open to be guided by the Holy Spirit in the face of doubt and possible discouragement.

“There will be times when you'll need to show boldness, tenacity, and courage. You'll be called upon to become the voice of the voiceless, and to take a stand in the face of socio-political and economic realities in the name of your faith and the Gospel,” Cardinal Nzapalainga said.

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The Cardinal further invited the faithful of Bangassou diocese to unite with its future Pastor, and to become one with him in the proclamation of the Gospel.

He said, “Know how to work in collaboration with local clergy. Listen to and dialogue with priests, close collaborators, religious, catechists, and all God's people.”

Until his appointment as Coadjutor Bishop of Bangassou on February 23, Mons. Gazzero had been serving as Director of Caritas in the Catholic Diocese of Bouar.

Born in May 1964 in Cuneo, Italy, Mons. Gazzero entered the Minor Seminary of the Order of Discalced Carmelites (OCD) of Arenzano in 1974. In 1979, he made his first profession in the same Religious Order, as a member of the OCD Province of Genoa.

Bishop Gazzero is to assist 69-year-old Bishop Juan-José Aguirre Muñoz, who started his Episcopal Ministry in Bangassou Diocese, first as Coadjutor Bishop in May 1998, and later, on 21 December 2000, succeeded Bishop Antoine Marie Maanicus upon his passing on. 


With the right to succeed Bishop Aguirre Muñoz, the Coadjutor Bishop is to serve as the immediate collaborator of the Spanish-born member of the Comboni Missionaries of the Heart of Jesus (MCCJ) in the Diocese that measures 134,284 square-kilometer with a population of 82500 Catholics representing 14.2 percent of the total population, according to the 2020 statistics.

Erected in June 1954 as the Vicariate Apostolic of Bangui before being elevated to a Diocese in February 1964, Bangassou Diocese is part of the Ecclesiastical province of Bangui.

Jude Atemanke is a Cameroonian journalist with a passion for Catholic Church communication. He holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Journalism and Mass Communication from the University of Buea in Cameroon. Currently, Jude serves as a journalist for ACI Africa.