“It is not a question of being a conservative or a liberal because both of these factions are good. It requires wisdom from you as a Bishop to take and synthesize and choose and feed the sheep that is entrusted to you,” Bishop Sipuka said, adding, “Help us not to be locked in the past that does not give life, but please help us also not to be swayed by false teachings.”
He encouraged the new Bishop to pray for wisdom in view of helping the people of God “appreciate the foundation revelation of Christ in which the Holy Spirit who takes from what belongs to Christ develops and continues the presence and work of God among us.”
Bishop Vanqa, a member of the Society of the Catholic Apostolate (SAC - Pallottines), was appointed as the Local Ordinary of Queenstown Diocese in March after serving as Diocesan Administrator since 2019.
He has Jesus’ prayer for unity, “That they may be one,” as his Episcopal Motto.
Making reference to the motto during his homily, Bishop Sipuka told the new Local Ordinary of Queenstown Diocese, “Bring us together both at the level of the Diocese, the Conference at the Universal Church together with other Bishops.”
The South African Bishop also noted that Bishop Vanqa is set to be the first native Local Ordinary of Queenstown Diocese and cautioned, “Getting one’s own can be both a blessing and a curse because while it brings joy and appreciation to get one’s own, it can also bring to disdain.”
“We know from the Bible people are rejected not because they have nothing to offer but because of who they are known to be,” Bishop Sipuka remarked and posed, “Was Jesus not rejected by his own?”
Addressing himself to those who will be under Bishop Vanqa’s pastoral care, Bishop Sipuka said, “You know this man too well. Yet he is at this time your Bishop. Let us avoid the temptation to occupy ourselves with the knowledge about him and focus on the life and work we are called to do with him as a Bishop.”
He further advised the members of the Church in Queenstown to “make good use” of their time with the new Bishop “and build a foundation that those who come after us will stand on. Focus on what is important, good for the Diocese and not on the man.”
Speaking about obedience to the Local Ordinary, Bishop Sipuka remarked, “Catholics are good at ritualizing things but sometimes we engage in these rituals without even thinking about them. And one of those is the lining up of Priests, Religious and Laity lining up to the Bishop as an expression of commitment to work with the Bishop.”