, 06 August, 2020 / 9:20 PM
Pope Francis has appointed Fr. Claudio Lurati, a member of the Congregation of the Comboni Missionaries of the Heart of Jesus (MCCJ), as the Apostolic Vicar of Alexandria in Egypt.
The Thursday, August 6 appointment will see Fr. Claudio shepherd the people of God in the Apostolic Vicariate of Alexandria, which has been vacant since July 2019 when Bishop Adel Zaki, a member of the Order of Friars Minor (OFM), died at the age of 71.
The 58-year-old Bishop-elect who has been serving as the Treasurer General of the Congregation of the Comboni Missionaries since 2019 is expected to become the fifth Apostolic Vicar of Alexandria.
The native of the Diocese of Como in the Italian region of Lombardy was ordained a Priest in December 1989.
Following the news of his episcopal appointment, the Bishop of Como, Oscar Cantoni has congratulated the Bishop-elect, praising the Lord, on behalf of the people of God in the Diocese of Como, for the call “to the service.”
“Dear Father Claudio, in the name of the whole Church of Como, which has guided you to the faith, I praise the Lord for the gift of grace that He grants you, calling you to the service of his Church as Apostolic Vicar of Alexandria,” Bishop Cantoni writes in the message issued Thursday, August 6.
He adds in reference to Fr. Claudio’s appointment, “It is a sign of great trust and for you a task of high responsibility.”
“I am close to you in prayer, in unity with the whole diocesan presbytery and in particular with the members of the parish community of Lipomo, so that you may respond generously and joyfully to the new call which the Lord, through his Church, addresses to you today,” the 69-year-old Italian Prelate says.
He continues in his one-page statement obtained by ACI Africa, “In the fidelity of his love, the Lord gives you the gift of bringing to fulfilment, in its fullness, that missionary vocation which has been the fundamental dimension of your existence, to which you have responded with full and generous availability.”
The Bishop-elect obtained a Baccalaureate in Theology from Kenya-based Tangaza University College, a constituent College of the Catholic University of Eastern Africa (CUEA).
In the first years of his Priestly ministry, he was engaged with missionary press apostolate. He was appointed to South Sudan in 1995 and transferred to Egypt two years later.
He was appointed Vice Superior of the Comboni Missionaries Delegation in 1999 and later Superior of the Delegation (2002-2007).
In his 31 years as a Priest, the Italian-born Comboni Missionary has also served as the Episcopal Vicar for the Africans of the Latin Vicariate of Egypt and engaged in the pastoral care of Sudanese refugees.
He will be administering the See of Alexandria that was erected as the Apostolic Vicariate of Egypt and Arabia in 1839 before it was renamed Apostolic Vicariate of Alexandria of Egypt in 1927.
The Vicariate has a population of 64,720 Catholics according to 2017 statistics.
ACI Africa was officially inaugurated on August 17, 2019 as a continental Catholic news agency at the service of the Church in Africa. Headquartered in Kenya’s capital, Nairobi, this media apostolate will strive to facilitate the telling of Africa’s story by providing media coverage of Catholic events on the African continent, giving visibility to the activities of the Church across Africa where statistics show significant growth in numbers and the continent gradually becoming the axis of Catholicism. This is expected to contribute to an awareness of and appreciation for the significant role of the Church in Africa and over time, the realization of a realistic image of Africa that often receives negative media framing.
Father Don Bosco Onyalla
Editor-in-Chief, ACI Africa