National, News

Pope names Juba’s first Cardinal

By Bida Elly David

Pope Francis on Sunday named Archbishop, His Grace, Stephen Ameyu Martin Mulla as Cardinal of Juba.

The pontiff, during “Angelus” at St Peter’s Square in Vatican announced the appointment of Archbishop Ameyu, the first Cardinal for Juba, alongside 20 other new cardinals.

The shepherds of God are expected to be made cardinals, at “a consistory” on 30th September this year in the Vatican.

According to the Vatican news agency, three African men of God were part of 21 catholic bishops who have been promoted to the rank of cardinal by the Holy Father Pope Francis.

Two other African fathers are Archbishop Stephen Brislin of Cape Town in South Africa and Archbishop Protase Rugambwa, the former Secretary of the Dicastery for Evangelization.

Archbishop Protase Rugambwa was earlier on April 13 appointed Coadjutor Archbishop for Tabora Archdiocese, Tanzania.

Pope Francis in his message urged the congregation to put the 21 cardinals particularly the three nominates from Africa into daily devotions as they part take in helping him in the Catholic Ministry.

“Let us pray for the new cardinals, so that, confirming their adhesion to Christ, the merciful and faithful High Priest, they might help me in my ministry as Bishop of Rome for the good of the entire Holy People faithful to God,” Francis said.

The Pope said the cardinals elect, will join the members of the College of Cardinals, two archbishops and one religious who have distinguished themselves for their service to the Church.

Pope Francis has since his election in 2013, created 121 cardinals from 66 countries at eight consistories.

Reacting to the news, Archbishop Ameyu welcomed his appointment as the Cardinal of South Sudan.

“I am really grateful for what the Holy Father has done. My appointment came out of my notice but indeed the Holy Father has seen the faces of people of God in South Sudan,” he said.

“Being the Cardinal of South Sudan does not divide the Church as we say, the church is still universal. We need to remember that when the cardinal was appointed in Sudan, the church remained one,” Ameyu said.

He promised to always be ready for any apostolic mission the Pope Francis will assign him.

Archbishop Martin was ordained as a priest of Torit Diocese in April 1991 and served in various capacities in the Catholic Church before his elevation to the bishop of Torit in March 2019.

In one-year time of office as Bishop of the Catholic Diocese of Torit, Pope Francis, in March 2020, appointed Bishop Ameyu as the Metropolitan Archbishop of Juba.

After three years, the Shepherd of God, Archbishop Stephen Martin Ameyu Mulla has now been lifted to Cardinal of Juba.

Archbishop Ameyu pursued and obtained a doctorate in dogmatic theology from the Pontifical Urban University in 1997.

The elevation of Archbishop Ameyu, to the rank of cardinal, is a recognition of his service to the Catholic Church and his leadership in South Sudan.

Archbishop Stephen Martin Ameyu Mulla, therefore, has become the first Cardinal of Juba, as created by Pope Francis following the 9th July announcement.

The Archdiocese of Juba was previously under Khartoum.

The 21 new cardinals come from countries including the United States, Italy, Argentina, Switzerland, South Africa, Spain, Colombia, South Sudan, Hong Kong, Poland, Malaysia, Tanzania, and Portugal.

Eighteen of the 21 are under 80 and can enter an eventual secret conclave to choose the next Pope, in which capacity they will be known as cardinal electors.

After the September consistory, there will be 137 cardinal electors, about 73 percent of them chosen by Pope Francis.

Francis has also increased the possibility that the next pope will come from Asia or Africa, having consistently named cardinal electors from those continents and giving less importance than his predecessor to countries in Europe.

The other three new cardinals, who are above 80 years, will vote in a conclave.

All cardinals, regardless of age, are allowed to participate in pre-conclave meetings, known as General Congregations, giving them a say in the type of person they think the younger cardinals should choose.

Cardinals rank second only to the pope in the Church hierarchy and serve as his closest advisers.



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