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Postponed Episcopal Ordination of New Bishop for Uganda’s Nebbi Diocese Rescheduled

Msgr. Raphael Wokorach of Uganda's Nebbi Diocese whose Episcopal Ordination has been rescheduled to next week, Saturday, August 14. Credit: AMECEA

The Episcopal Ordination of Msgr. Raphael Wokorach that had been postponed owing to COVID-19 restrictions in Uganda has been rescheduled to next week, Saturday, August 14.

Initially planned for June 26, the Episcopal Ordination of the new Bishop for the Diocese of Nebbi in Uganda was postponed by the leadership of the Uganda Episcopal Conference (UEC) who cited the “situation of COVID-19 pandemic” in the East African country in a June 24 statement that was posted on Facebook.

In a statement dated Sunday, August 1, the Chancellor of Nebbi Diocese announces the new date when the Ugandan-born member of the Comboni Missionaries (MCCJ) is to be ordained a Bishop.

“The Apostolic Nunciature in Uganda through the office of the Diocesan Administrator Nebbi Catholic Diocese, has the pleasure to inform that His Lordship Raphael p'Mony Wokorach, MCCI, Bishop-Elect of Nebbi Catholic Diocese, will receive the Episcopal consecration on Saturday 14 August 2021 in Nebbi,” Fr. Isalah Milton Bicanduwun states in his message obtained by ACI Africa.

Fr. Bicanduwun implores, “May the Lord give abundant blessings upon the new Bishop and the entire Nebbi Catholic Diocese, while we continue to pray for the end of the pandemic.”

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In his address to the nation June 18, Uganda’s President Yoweri Museveni announced new restrictions amid an upsurge in COVID-19 infections and deaths.

In the 42-day COVID-19 lockdown, President Museveni halted the movement of public and private vehicles in the East African nation, with the exception of security and essential service providers, including the police, the military, and firefighters, among others.

All public gatherings, including congressional worship, in the country were indefinitely suspended.

According to a June 24 report, 200 cases of COVID-19 were reported among Uganda’s members of parliament and staff.

Last Friday, July 30, the Ugandan President announced a partial lifting of the lockdown after the 42 days, following recommendations from the members of the National Covid Taskforce and the Scientific Advisory Committee, Daily Monitor, a Ugandan publication, reported.

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The experts reportedly “asked the President to go slow on full reopening of the economy and warned him about the possibility of a dangerous third wave.”

The experts, according to Daily Monitor, further “called for ‘a partial opening’ of some sectors they refused to disclose and noted that continued complete lockdown is unsustainable.”

It is against this background of “a partial opening” that the Episcopal Ordination of the Bishop-elect for Nebbi Diocese who was appointed Bishop March 31 has been rescheduled to August 14.

In an interview with ACI Africa soon after the news of his episcopal appointment became public, Msgr. Wokorach said his elevation was a sign that God is guiding his Priestly ministry, reminding “me of what I should do to make people access God.”

When ordained a Bishop, the Ugandan-born Cleric said, he would continue to participate in “the Priesthood of Christ,” and explained, “In the Priesthood of Christ I see one thing: being closer to the people because we work hard to bridge the gaps, the separation, which may be a reality in the Church or the ministry.”

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“The Priesthood also requires discipline, which transforms this life so that we may day by day be worthy to offer the sacrifice and make the people accessible to God. By being closer to God, we also make people access God,” Msgr. Wokorach told ACI Africa March 31.

In a June 12 interview with the Uganda Episcopal Youth Apostolate, the Bishop-elect expressed joy and readiness to shepherd the people of God in the Ugandan Diocese that has been vacant since November 2018 when Bishop Sanctus Lino Wanokhe was transferred to Uganda’s Lira Diocese.

“I have never been given a chance to work in Uganda all my missionary life. I worked in Democratic Republic of Congo from 1993 to 2000, and then went to Togo,” the Bishop-elect further said.

The Comboni missionary continued, “I also went to serve in Italy for some courses before I moved to the U.S.  I later came to Kenya where I served in Nairobi as a formatter in Nairobi-based Comboni International Theologate.”