‘Rumbek Bishop-elect recovering well, consecration postponed’-Archbishop Ameyu
The Archbishop of Juba Catholic Archdiocese, Rev. Stephen Ameyu Martin Mulla, has said that Fr. Christian Carlassare, the Bishop-Elect of Rumbek Diocese is recuperating well in a Kenyan hospital and will soon be discharged.
Speaking to Radio Tamazuj this morning, Archbishop Ameyu said, “Thanks to God, he is recovering well and can now walk but he is not yet very strong. He is still in the hospital and yesterday he had another surgery to remove a splinter of a bullet which they discovered under the skin of his leg. He is now much better and might be discharged from the hospital at the end of this week.”
The Catholic prelate said plans for the installation of the priest who was attacked and shot last Sunday night at his residence in Rumbek town have been postponed and that another date will be communicated.
“He was supposed to have been ordained on 23 May but now it has to be postponed until another time. A new date has not yet been announced,” Archbishop Ameyu said. “The Bishops' conference of Sudan and South Sudan with support from the Vatican and the Nuncio here in Juba and the one in Kenya decided that the consecration of Rumbek Bishop-elect will take place when he has healed both physically and spiritually. Then we will announce a date for his consecration.”
He revealed that several people, including three priests, have been apprehended on suspicion of planning the attack on Fr. Carlassare.
“About 24 people have been arrested and among them, there are three priests, Fr. John Mathiang, Fr. Luka Dor, and Deacon Stephen Longar. I don’t have the names of the other people,” the prelate said. Investigations are still ongoing and some people have not yet been arrested. Until they are arrested, those that are said to be behind this heinous crime, then the court will rule on who is guilty.”
He appealed to the faithful and the people of South Sudan to remain calm and wait for investigations to be finalized.
“I want to say that people should be patient because we cannot say so and so is bad. But let the faithful pray for the recovery of the Bishop-elect and the priests of the diocese of Rumbek because this problem happened there,” Archbishop Ameyu appealed. “So, let us all pray to God to bring unity and love among the people because this is the plan of the devil to kill the Bishop-elect. Let all faithful in South Sudan pray for Rumbek so that the church does not collapse.”
The Italian-born Comboni Missionary Cleric was appointed Bishop for Rumbek Diocese on March 8. His episcopal ordination was scheduled to take place on Pentecost Sunday, May 23.
He had been serving in South Sudan’s Malakal Diocese since he arrived in the East-Central African country in 2005.
Fr. Carlassare traveled to Rumbek Diocese on April 15 following days of spiritual retreat in South Sudan’s capital, Juba.
Rumbek Diocese has been without a bishop for the last 10 years since the death of Bishop Caesar Mazzolari in 2011. The diocese is also known for acrimonious internal church politics and several foreign clergymen have previously been attacked.
In 2018, a Kenyan Jesuit priest working in the Diocese of Rumbek was killed by unknown gunmen.