Loading
South Sudan bishop dies while celebrating Mass
Bishop Caesar Mazzolari of South Sudan
Bishop Caesar Mazzolari of South Sudan
Facebook Twitter Google+ Pinterest Addthis

.- Catholics in South Sudan are mourning the loss of Bishop Caesar Mazzolari of Rumbek, who died at the age of 74 while concelebrating Mass on July 16.

The Rumbek diocese said local faithful are “shocked and deeply saddened” by the Italian bishop's death, and expressed its “heartfelt appreciation of his dedicated service and lifelong faithful witness to the Gospel among the people of South Sudan.”

Bishop Mazzolari had a seizure at an early morning Mass on Saturday. Witnesses say he stumbled back onto a chair during the consecration and grabbed his chest while gasping for air.

After being taken to the State Hospital in Rumbek, he was pronounced dead at 8 a.m.

Bishop Mazzolari was known for his outspoken stance against warfare and for championing the rights of Sudan's poor and marginalized. The bishop also advocated for increased education and health care and was seen as pivotal in promoting dialogue and reconciliation across the 10 states of South Sudan.

“Evangelization was at the heart of his ministry which was nourished by his commitment to a deep life of prayer,” read the July 16 diocesan statement. 

“Like St Paul, Bishop Mazzolari spent his life at the service of the Gospel,” the diocese added. “His fatherly care and compassion, generosity and selflessness were sources of hope and comfort to all those he encountered.”

The bishop was born in 1937 in the Italian city of Brescia, later joined the Comboni Missionaries and was ordained a priest in 1962.

He first arrived in Sudan in 1981 and worked in the Diocese of Tombura-Yambio, then the south-central Archdiocese of Juba. In 1990, he became apostolic administrator of the Diocese of Rumbek in South Sudan and that same year, helped free 150 child slaves.

Well acquainted with dangers of his work, Bishop Mazzolari was captured and held hostage for 24 hours by guerrillas from the Sudan People's Liberation Army in 1994. 

In 1999 he was ordained a bishop by Pope John Paul II.

According to Vatican Radio, Bishop Mazzolari constantly appealed to the global community “not to forget that the people of South Sudan need a just peace in respect of human rights.”

Messages of condolence have been sent to the diocese by Pope Benedict XVI as well as local leaders.

Governor of Lakes state Chol Tong Mayay mourned Bishop Mazzolari's death, saying that the bishop was expected to help lead in the shaping of South Sudan after its July 9 independence.

The community expressed grief over the bishop's passing as the new nation struggles to overcome recent political violence.

In 2011 alone, 2,000 people have been killed and over 300,000 displaced due to the conflict, the U.N. reported.

Northern forces based in Khartoum have been accused of ethnically cleansing the Nuba people, a mostly Christian minority that fought alongside the south during the decades-long independence struggle. The situation has been described by some as a “new Darfur.”

 

Ads by AdsLiveMedia(What's this?)

* The number of messages that can be online is limited. CNA reserves the right to edit messages for content and tone. Comments and opinions expressed by users do not necessarily reflect the opinions or beliefs of CNA. CNA will not publish comments with abusive language, insults or links to other pages

RESOURCES »

Ads by Google (What's this?)
Ads by Google

Featured Videos

Little Sisters of the Poor press conference in Denver
Little Sisters of the Poor press conference in Denver
Family thrilled to see Pope Francis in Istanbul
Syrian Refugee, Sara, 14, Before Meeting Pope
Ebola orphans thousands of children in West Africa
One year after Haiyan: Philippines rebuilds homes, lives
An Indian contribution to the Vatican's Synod on the Family
Christ Cathedral CNA video Sept 2014
Alejandro Bermudez of CNA accepts ice bucket challenge
'The Real Albania,' remembering those who fled
Pope Francis in Albania, "one of the most important visits of the post-communist era in Albania"
Pope Francis greets paralyzed man who risked all to see him
Franciscans on the banks of the Tiber in Rome, working for the New Evangelization
Pilgrimage from Czech Republic to Assisi and Rome for intentions
Testimony of young Indian who met Pope in Korea
Preparations of the Closing Mass of 6th Asian Youth Day
Missionary of Charity, Korea
Testimony of Christian Love during Pope's Visit to Korea
Religious Sisters in South Korea react to Pope Francis kissing a baby
Warm atmosphere during Holy Mass at Daejeon World Cup Stadium
Images inside Pope Francis flight to South Korea
Dec
22

Liturgical Calendar

December 22, 2014

Advent Weekday

All readings:
Today »
This year »

Catholic Daily

Gospel of the Day

Mt 21:23-27

Gospel
Date
12/15/14
12/14/14
12/13/14

Daily Readings


First Reading:: 1 Sam 1: 24-28
Gospel:: Lk 1: 46-56

Saint of the Day

St. Romuald »

Saint
Date
12/15/14

Homily of the Day

Mt 21:23-27

Homily
Date
12/15/14
12/14/14
12/13/14