By Bida Elly David
The Catholic Archdiocese of Yei finally consecrated and installed the formerly appointed Bishop elect by Pope Francis of the Catholic Church succeeding his predecessor Bishop Emeritus Erkulano Lado Tombe for the Bishopric yesterday.
This came following a series of preparations that started earlier awaiting for the replacement of Bishop Emeritus Erkulano Lado Tombe who recently retired from the Bishopric position due to age frequency.
The celebration was attended by a number of clerics such as the Sudanese Cardinal Zubeir Wako, the apostolic Nuncio for South Sudan and Kenya, Bert Van Megan, Bishops from different Catholic Dioceses, Clerics from other denominations, a joyful congregation and government officials among many others.
Speaking during his homily, Cardinal Zubeir Wako the Sudanese Cardinal and the main celebrant called on the faithful in Yei to join hands with the new Bishop towards building the Church of the Lord leaving tribal centrism, when in the house of the Lord.
Zubeir added that the appointment of Bishop Lodiong by the Holy Father Pope Francis occurred due to the trust and commitment he has been showing regarding to his service to the Lord as well as a call from God.
Furthermore, he denounced the application of tribal perceptions towards struggling for the leadership in the Church.
He urged the faithful of Yei Diocese to support the New Bishop as he started his Bishopric duties especially at this preliminary stage where he deserved to build more experience to strengthen the Church.
“Consideration of tribalism is not what the church needs. The church needs to be run by people guided by the power of the Holy Spirit, love, courage and forgiveness. Jesus does not want us to be slaves to one another but to be slaves to him through character, the love, strength and the mercy of Jesus. Alex is coming here to be the head of the Church and that is you all. That Church has a name and the name is the body of Jesus Christ. If our country is going bad in many places, it is because this name of Jesus Christ is falling apart. Not only among the common faithful but also among the clerics who were ordained in the name of Jesus Christ for every body and they become priests on the altar, tribalism becomes the subject of the day” he said.
Zubeir pointed out that with tribalism, salvation wouldn’t be experienced in the country and people would not be saved.
“Let today be the announcement of a beginning of a time for salvation to our country and to our diocese. We should work hard to ensure that we transform the Diocese into a centre for Christianity and holiness” he said.
In his part, the former Bishop Emeritus Erkulano Ladu Tombe congratulated the decision taken by his holiness Pope Francis for the long awaited appointment of his heir Alex Lodiong for the new Bishopric.
“I am glad today and delighted for seeing a young man who is courageous taking over the Bishopric of Yei. I have been waiting to retire since my age couldn’t allow me to be in the Bishopric any more. I need you faithful to respect the new Bishop designated to head the diocese. Cooperate with him; join your hands to make the Church grow. We know that there are challenges but strengthen Lodiong since he is a young man who demands to be built up through experience. With harmony you will make Yei Diocese a devoted zone for Christ” he said.
However, Bishop Alex Lodiong in his remarks termed his appointment as a call from God to serve his people and vowed to work for the church.
Alex urged the state government to help them return citizens who fled the country to other countries for refuge due to the insecurity.
“I am not pleased to see citizens of Yei suffering in the camps as the results of the war caused by some individuals who are against peace. I will be going for a visit after here to refugee camps through the help of the security officers to assess the lives of the children of God at the camps. We need the government to ensure that people return. Many children need to be baptised, many need to have access to education. It is our mandate to go for visits and come out with a positive outcome to address the challenges facing the people of God” Alex said.
In continuation, Alex cautioned the perspective of rating some people in the society as “very important people (VIPs)”.
“I strongly dislike the state of categorising people as being VIPs. We are all very important people before the Lord and in the Church. Our Motto should be living a simple life with love and with this, we shall uniformly progress well” he said.