Guide Faithful to be Disciples of Jesus Christ: Cardinal in Sudan to New Bishop of Rumbek

Bishop Carlassare receives the Holy Bible from Gabriel Cardinal Zubeir Wako during the March 25 Episcopal Ordination held at Holy Father Cathedral of the Diocese of Rumbek. Credit: Fr. Wanyonyi Eric Simiyu, S.J. (Rumbek)

The Archbishop Emeritus of Sudan’s Khartoum Archdiocese has told the newly ordained Bishop of Rumbek Diocese in South Sudan to guide the people of God in his Episcopal See to be disciples of Jesus Christ.

In his homily during the Episcopal Ordination of Mons. Christian Carlassare Friday, March 25, Gabriel Cardinal Zubeir Wako said just as Jesus Christ called people to journey with him in faith, Bishops guide people in their discipleship. 

Credit: Fr. Wanyonyi Eric Simiyu, S.J. (Rumbek)

Jesus went around inviting people “to be his disciples. He also sent out his apostles into the world to make new disciples,” Cardinal Zubeir Wako said, adding that Bishops have a duty to foster discipleship so that those they invite to follow Jesus Christ “stay as disciples.”

The ministry of shepherding followers of Christ “is the work the Church is giving today to Father Christian; to guide the faithful to be disciples of Jesus Christ and to be among them an example of discipleship,” the Cardinal said during the March 25 event held at Holy Father Cathedral of the Diocese of Rumbek.


Credit: Fr. Wanyonyi Eric Simiyu, S.J. (Rumbek)

The ministry of Catholic Bishops has “very often” been “misunderstood, especially by our people at this time,” the Cardinal who retired as Archbishop of Khartoum in December 2016 at the age of 75 lamented, making reference to those who take a Bishop for a wielder of power and wealth through what he termed “a big man”. 

“It is rather unfortunate that many of us do not understand this. We feel that becoming a Bishop means you are a rich man,” he said during the March 25 event that had the Apostolic Nuncio in Kenya and South Sudan, Archbishop Hubertus van Megen, in attendance.

Taking a Bishop for “a big man”, the 80-year-old Cardinal cautioned, is among the “things Jesus doesn't want in his Church.” 

Addressing himself to Mons. Carlassare, Cardinal Zubeir Wako underscored the need for servant leadership saying, “You are going to be nothing but the servant of everybody. You are called to serve, to help, to guide the people, to be behind them … You are not going to take their chairs, or their money or their houses.”

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Credit: Fr. Wanyonyi Eric Simiyu, S.J. (Rumbek)

“But Jesus says all the riches are nonsense because you are there for Him. As I came into the world poor and left poor, you go and serve the poor,” the Cardinal said in reference to the Episcopal Ministry. 

Bishop Carlassare who had been serving in South Sudan’s Malakal Diocese since his arrival in the country in 2005 was appointed Bishop on 8 March 2021.

He traveled to Rumbek Diocese on 15 April 2021 following days of spiritual retreat in South Sudan’s capital, Juba. Some 10 days later, in the early hours of 26 April 2021, he was attacked and shot in both legs

Credit: Fr. Wanyonyi Eric Simiyu, S.J. (Rumbek)


He was airlifted to Nairobi for specialized treatment after receiving initial treatment from Doctors with Africa CUAMM in Rumbek. 

After receiving treatment in Kenya and his native country of Italy, the member of the Comboni Missionaries (MCCJ) returned to South Sudan on March 18, and arrived in Rumbek to a heroic reception on March 23 ahead of his Episcopal Ordination on March 25.

The 44-year-old Bishop who had a private meeting with Pope Francis on March 14 has “Omnes unum in Christo (You are all one in Christ Jesus)” as his Episcopal Motto.

Pope Francis with Mons. Christian Carlassare in Rome. Credit: Vatican Media

He succeeds his confrere and compatriot, Bishop Caesar Mazzolari who died on 16 July 2011, a week after South Sudan had gained independence from Sudan.

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In his homily during the March 25 Episcopal Ordination event, Cardinal Zubier invited the people of God in Rumbek Diocese to support their new Bishop.

“The Bishop needs people to help him,” the Archbishop emeritus of Khartoum said, and added, “Those who say that they are the big people, the strong people, use your strength and greatness to support the Bishop who is supporting the poor people in your place.”

Credit: Fr. Wanyonyi Eric Simiyu, S.J. (Rumbek)

The Cardinal added, “Encourage him to go on in his ministry for the greatest support of the Bishop is you the faithful.” 

He prayed that God blesses Bishop Carlassare in his Episcopal Ministry to “work and help our Church to grow to be a Church founded by Christ, leaning on Jesus Christ and proclaiming Jesus Christ.”

Also speaking at the March 25 event, the Governor of Lakes State, General Rin Tueny Mabor congratulated the new Bishop saying, “On behalf of the government and the people of Lakes State, I congratulate Bishop Christian Carlassare for his consecration as the Bishop of the Catholic Diocese of Rumbek.”

Bishop Christian Carlassare with his parents (left) and sister (right). Credit: Fr. Wanyonyi Eric Simiyu, S.J. (Rumbek)

“We thank Pope Francis for appointing Bishop Carlassare and we thank His Lordship Bishop Matthew Remijio Adam, the Bishop of Wau Diocese, who was Apostolic Administrator of Rumbek,” Governor Tueny said.

He added, “This is a wonderful day for the people of Lakes State and South Sudan.”

“We are blessed to have our new Bishop. This is a new beginning and a new chapter for the Diocese of Rumbek after our beloved Bishop was called by God in 2011,” the Governor of Lakes State said March 25.

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.