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Sierra Leone News: In Makeni Diocese…Pope Francis lays Bishop saga to rest

Cardinal Fernando Filoni presenting the Apostolic Administrator Fr. Natale PaganelliThe Holy Sea, Pope Francis through the Prefect of the Congregation for the Evangelisation of the Peoples, Cardinal Fernando Filoni has confirmed the appointment of Fr. Natale Paganelli SX as Apostolic Administrator with Episcopal character of Makeni Diocese.
In his brief statement during the appointment ceremony held at Pastoral center in Makeni on Saturday 18 July 2015 at 10a.m, the Apostolic Nuncio, His Excellency Miroslaw Adamczyk on behalf of the Holy Sea stated that numerous attempts to carry out a sincere dialogue had been made through the mediation of Archbishop Prostase Rugambwa, then by His Eminence Peter Kodwo Appiah Cardinal Turkson, the Personal bearer of Pope Francis’ Letter, and finally by the Apostolic Nuncios and various Ecclesiastics, all in the hope that these would lead to receive with trust the decision of the Pope.
The Apostolic Nuncio pointed out that the patient work of Fr. Natale Panganelli, SX has preserved the Church in Makeni from even greater disorder and has lessened the suffering of the people of God still deprived of its Shepherd.
Caring for a young Church the Apostolic Nuncio said that had its beginning in 1952 as an Apostolic Prefecture that became a Diocese in 1962, and with a population that has suffered much due to civil war, poverty, and more recently to the serious Ebola epidemic, Pope Francis has appointed His Excellency Most Rev. Aruna as Auxiliary Bishop for the Diocese of Kenema and confirmed the appointment of Fr. Paganelli as Apostolic Administrator with Episcopal Character. He will manage the Diocese of Makeni on behalf of the Pope until the Pope himself will decide otherwise.
His Excellency Miroslaw Adamczyk also affirmed that the Diocese of Makeni is part of the Catholic Church in Sierra Leone, which is composed of four Ecclesiastical Circumscriptions noting that as a Diocese, Makeni is part of this very same ecclesial reality, notwithstanding the ethnic diversity, culture, and its own traditions by which it is characterised. ‘Catholicity’, which is another word for universality, is one of the indispensable attributes of the church and as such embraces all the diversities that are humanly present among peoples and ethnic groups.
Therefore, he said diversity should never prevail over catholicity because this would make the church a national or tribal church. He warned that this is against the will of Christ since it would lead to the disintegration of unity and applies equally to both the ethnic groups of the north and south of Sierra Leone, as well as to any similar situation in Africa and elsewhere.
Concluding, the Apostolic Nuncio said he is certain the new Bishop, Most Reverend Paganelli, will carry out his duties with great zeal and love, as he has shown until now. The Holy Father considers Fr. Paganelli, in so far as he is a member of a missionary Institute that has given and continues to give everything for the sake of the evangelisation, to be the most suitable person to serve the church on his behalf. He asked the clergy for an act of deep spiritual, moral and ecclesial examination of conscience regarding their erroneous behaviour. To the Bishops of Sierra Leone as well as the civil authorities he hoped they will sustain and help Bishop Paganelli in his mandate to serve the church in Makeni.
Similar pronouncement was also made by Bishop Patrick Koroma in Kenema Diocese on behalf of the Pope on the appointment of HE Bishop Henry Aruna as Auxiliary Bishop in Kenema at the same time on the same day.
Religious analysts have disclosed that this recent strategy adopted by the Catholic Church in addressing the Bishop impasse in the Diocese of Makeni is a right step in enhancing peace in the diocese. Another observer is of the opinion that as the saying goes in our local parlance “If marrade nor right the woman for go back to im people dem.”
By Emmanuel Turay
Monday July 20, 2015

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