Church Hopes to Evangelize in Sudan and Collaborate with Muslims

New Apostolic Nuncio in Sudan Is Consecrated Bishop in Rome

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VATICAN CITY, JULY 5, 2002 (Zenit.org).- Although Sudan is at war, everyone "aspires for peace," Cardinal Angelo Sodano said when he consecrated Monsignor Dominique Mamberti bishop.



Monsignor Mamberti was appointed apostolic nuncio for Sudan and apostolic delegate in Somalia a month ago. He was consecrated bishop by the Vatican secretary of state at Mass on Thursday in St. Peter's Basilica.

During his homily, Cardinal Sodano said the Church in the northern African nation is engaged in evangelization and human development, but is forced to live amid conflict in a prevailing Muslim atmosphere.

The cardinal also mentioned John Paul II's apostolic trip to Sudan in 1993. He recalled that when the Holy Father arrived in Khartoum and said by way of greeting, "Peace be with you," the crowd welcomed him with enormous enthusiasm.

The Sudanese need to recover a sense of mutual respect and reciprocal collaboration between Christians and Muslims, the cardinal emphasized. He added that the "Christian community does not ask for more than the right to religious liberty, the freedom to proclaim the Gospel as a message of peace and hope."

The protection of Blessed Daniel Comboni (1831-1881) was invoked during the episcopal consecration.

Comboni's "Plan for the Regeneration of Africa" initiated a new evangelization in Sudan. Also invoked was St. Josephine Bakhita (1869-1947), the Sudanese woman who was kidnapped and reduced to slavery. Lastly, the missionaries who gave their life in this region were also invoked.

The new bishop was born in Morocco in 1952, and ordained a priest in 1981. After obtaining a licentiate in civil and canon law, he entered the Vatican's diplomatic service in 1986.

He has worked in Algeria, Chile, Lebanon, the United Nations in New York, and the Section for Relations with States of the Vatican State Secretariat.