VATICAN CITY, JULY 10, 2023 (SUDANS POST) – Pope Francis has announced that he will elevate three African bishops to the rank of cardinal in his consistory on September 30.
The three men are Archbishop Stephen Brislin of Cape Town in South Africa, Archbishop Stephen Ameyu Martin of Juba in South Sudan, and Archbishop Protase Rugambwa, the former Secretary of the Dicastery for Evangelization, who was appointed Coadjutor Archbishop for Tanzania’s Tabora Archdiocese on April 13.
They are part of 21 catholic bishops who have been promoted to teh rank of cardinal.
The announcement was made by Pope Francis during the Angelus on July 9.
The new cardinals who will be installed September 30 come from across the globe, with the Holy Father saying the lineup “expresses the universality of the Church that continues to announce the merciful love of God to all men of the earth.”
“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.
Archbishop Stephen Ameyu Martin Mulla of Juba in South Sudan faced stiff resistance when he was transferred to the country’s only metropolitan see.
On December 12, 2019, Ameyu was appointed by Pope Francis to head the Juba archdiocese.
A group of three priests and five laymen from the Archdiocese of Juba, claiming to be indigenous and representing “the majority of concerned people of the Archdiocese,” wrote a protest letter stating that Ameyu “will not be accepted to serve as Archbishop of Juba under any circumstance.”
They accused the prelate of conspiring with some government officials and some Juba priests to promote himself as archbishop for personal reasons, charging that Ameyu had influenced a Vatican diplomat to push through the appointment and that the cleric had sired at least six children.
Ameyu denied the allegations. By elevating him to the rank of cardinal, Francis seems to have reconfirmed his faith in his choice.
Born in Ido in Sudan on January 10, 1964, Ameyu received his priestly ordination in 1991. After carrying out pastoral work in Khartoum, he studied at the Pontifical Urban University in Rome from 1993 to 1997, obtaining a doctorate in dogmatic theology.
He then taught at the seminary of Juba, South Sudan, eventually becoming its rector.
On January 3, 2019, Pope Francis named him bishop of Torit, a diocese that had been vacant for five years since the passing of Bishop Akio Johnson Mutek in 2013.
He was named the archbishop of Juba by Pope Francis on December 12 the same year and he took office on March 22, 2020.
Ameyu continued to serve as the Torit Diocese’s Apostolic Administrator. He also served as the Diocese of Wau’s Apostolic Administrator from September 21, 2020 to January 24, 2021.