Pope Francis appointed Christian Carlassare bishop in early March and his episcopal ordination was scheduled for May, 23rd, Pentecost Sunday this year.
Addressing journalists at his residence on Saturday evening, Archbishop of the Catholic Church in South Sudan, Stephen Ameyu Martin says the delay is necessary to allow Christian Carlassare recover from physical and traumatic wounds.
“After the incidents in the Catholic Diocese of Rumbek, I, on behalf of the Catholic Bishops from Sudan and South Sudan and in collaboration with the Papal Nuncio to South Sudan H.G. Bert Van Magen and Charge D’ affaires Msgr. Mark Kadima would like to inform the public that the date of consecration of Bishop elected Christian Carlassare is postponed until later date, which will be fixed as soon as he recovers from the physical and traumatic wounds. Therefore, we call upon all people of Good will to pray for Bishop Elect Christian Carlassare the Christians of the Diocese of Rumbek,” reads a statement read by Archbishop Stephen Ameyu
In the meantime, Fr. Andrea Osman, a priest in the Rumbek Catholic Diocese has been delegated to lead the church in coordination with some priests, religious sisters and laity.
Bishop designate Christian who was shot on both legs Monday last week is being treated in the Kenyan Capital Nairobi.
He, however says that he looks forward to returning to Rumbek and that he has forgiven his attackers though hinting that “finding the truth about why he was shot in the legs at his home in Rumbek will help achieve reconciliation.
Archbishop Stephen Ameyu | 1/5/2021 | Photo by: Maura Ajak
“Only the truth, even if it is painful will be able to point out what choices we will have to make. It is a great suffering for the church, perhaps necessary for building something on a clean foundation,” Christian Carlassare told the daily newspaper of the Italian Catholic bishops conference on 29th April.
Authorities in Lakes State have apprehended over twenty people in connection with the shooting of the Bishop elect including Fr. John Matiang who had administered the Diocese of Rumbek for the past nine years since the death of Bishop Cesare Mazzolari, an Italian-born missionary in 2011.
The three priests arrested are suspected to have been part of a network of conspiracy that led to the priest’s attack.
The priests’ arrest followed the extraction of records from a mobile phone that one of the assailants had dropped while fleeing the residence. The last call on the phone was from a priest and the words, in the dinka dialect, were “where is his room,” James Oyet General Secretary of the South Sudan Council of Churches told the Catholic News Service on 27th April.
However, Bishop Ameyu said the committees preparing the consecration of the Archbishop will continue with their activities.