In Maiden Visit of South Sudanese Diocese, Apostolic Administrator Urges “reflection”

Bishop Matthew Remijio Adam, Apostolic Administrator of Rumbek Diocese, South Sudan, being received at Rumbek Airport on 16 June 2021. Credit Courtesy Photo

In his maiden visit of Rumbek Diocese whose Bishop-elect was shot and wounded in April, the Apostolic Administrator of the South Sudanese Diocese has called for “reflection” and the seeking of spiritual renewal.

Bishop Matthew Remijio Adam was appointed Apostolic Administrator of the Diocese of Rumbek last month with the mandate to “temporarily govern” the South Sudanese Diocese “until the Bishop elect, the Most Reverend Christian Carlassare is healed, ordained and takes over the governance of that Diocese.”

“This is a moment of reflection, to think of reconciliation and forgiveness because we are all sons and daughters of God. It is not a moment of abandoning the Church but a moment where we come to the Church because it strengthens our faith,” Bishop Remijio told journalists Wednesday, June 16 when he arrived in Rumbek. 

Reflecting on the mood in Rumbek Diocese following the shooting of the Bishop-elect, the Local Ordinary of South Sudan’s Wau Diocese said, “My message to the faithful is that this moment is a moment whereby we pray more than ever because we need to come closer to God.”

“This is a moment where we reflect and turn back to God,” the member of the Comboni Missionaries said, adding, “Whenever our faith is tested, it becomes stronger.”


“The Church will never abandon its flock and that’s why the Holy Father said that I come and take care of the flock of Rumbek until the Bishop-elect recovers well and returns to take his position as the Bishop of Rumbek,” the Apostolic Administrator of the Catholic Diocese of Rumbek said.

Msgr. Carlassare was appointed Bishop for Rumbek Diocese on March 8. He traveled to Rumbek Diocese April 15 in readiness for his episcopal ordination, which had been scheduled to take place on Pentecost Sunday, May 23.

In the early morning of April 26, he was shot in both legs when two gunmen shot multiple bullets on his door, gaining access to his room in a block that houses Fathers serving at Holy Family Cathedral of the South Sudanese Diocese.

Three members of the Clergy of Rumbek Diocese were among dozens initially detained following the shooting, the Head of Investigative and Security Committee in Lakes State telling ACI Africa that the three members of the Clergy were charged for “instigating” the two gunmen who shot Msgr. Carlassare.

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On May 14, two members of the Clergy, Fr. Luka Dor and Deacon Stephen Mangar, were “conditionally” set free..

On June 11, a man suspected to be one of the two gunmen who shot the Bishop-elect was detained.

Speaking about this latest arrest, Lakes State Police spokesperson, Elijia Mabor Makuac said, “Through more initiative being inserted towards this case, relatives of the suspect were able to convince him to surrender and he’s currently under the control of security authorities in Lakes State.”

“The government is not looking for anyone else in connection with the case. Investigations will continue this week and hopefully the case will be heard soon,” a source in Rumbek told ACI Africa June 11, adding, “Six people are now detained in Rumbek prison, including Fr. (John) Mathiang.”

The Italian-born Bishop-elect is currently recuperating at a Nairobi community after having been discharged from hospital on May 17.


The member of Comboni Missionaries told ACI Africa that he is offering his pain for the purification of Rumbek Diocese.

“I offer the pain I'm going through so that the Lord, our God, may purify the church of Rumbek from all errors and things like these may happen no more; no room for violence, division, (and) selfish desires that come from the devil,” Msgr. Carlassare told ACI Africa on May 3. 

He added, “I bend low in front of God to intercede for the Church of Rumbek. I pray for the conversion of sinners.”

Rumbek Diocese became vacant on 16 July 2011 following the sudden death of Bishop Caesar Mazzolari, a member of the Comboni Missionaries.

Fr. Fernando Colombo, also a member of the Comboni Missionaries, governed the Diocese as Diocesan Administrator until 27 December 2013, when Fernando Cardinal Filoni, then Prefect of the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples, appointed Fr. Mathiang Diocesan Coordinator.

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