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Indonesia's Archbishop Anicetus Sinaga dies at 79

Apostolic administrator of Sibolga Diocese was battling Covid-19 shortly before his death

Indonesia's Archbishop Anicetus Sinaga dies at 79

Archbishop Anicetus Bongsu Antonius Sinaga died on Nov. 7 at the age of 79. (Photo supplied)

Archbishop Anicetus Bongsu Antonius Sinaga, the apostolic administrator of Sibolga Diocese in Indonesia’s North Sumatra province, has died at the age of 79.

Diocesan secretary Father Blasius Super Yesse told UCA News on Nov. 8 that the prelate died in hospital soon after appearing to have recovered from Covid-19 in provincial capital Medan on Nov. 7.

“A week before he died, he tested negative for Covid-19, but he developed a severe lung infection,” he said.

He said the archbishop had been in hospital since Oct. 16 after falling sick following a deacon’s ordination in St. Therese of Lisieux Cathedral Church in Sibolga and tested positive for Covid-19 three days later.

He said the archbishop’s body was taken to the Immaculate Conception of Mary Cathedral Church in Medan for a requiem Mass led by Capuchin Archbishop Kornelius Sipayung of Medan on Nov. 8 before being taken to Sibolga.

More requiem Masses were to be held on Nov. 9 there under tight health protocols ahead of Archbishop Sinaga's funeral on Nov. 10.

The archbishop was to be buried in the cemetery of St. Peter Minor Seminary in Aek Tolang in Central Tapanuli district.

Capuchin Archbishop Anicetus Bongsu Sinaga was born in Negeriasih in North Sumatra on Sept. 25, 1941. He was ordained a priest on Dec. 13, 1969.

He was appointed prefect of Sibolga in 1978 and then its bishop on Oct. 24, 1980. His episcopal ordination was on Jan. 6, 1981. 

Pope John Paul II appointed him coadjutor archbishop of Medan on Jan. 3, 2004, before he became archbishop of Medan on Feb. 22, 2009. 

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On Sept. 22, 2018, Archbishop Sinaga was appointed apostolic administrator of Sibolga shortly before retiring as archbishop of Medan in December of that year.

Archbishop Sipayung said in his homily during the livestreamed requiem Mass in Medan that the prelate “let God guide him through his life.” 

“Monsignor Anicetus [Sinaga] was a humble yet open-minded prelate. He was a prelate who cared about cultures, particularly the Bataknese one. In every formal and non-formal meeting, he often reminded us of the importance to see the Christian values in cultures,” he said.

Father Blasius described Archbishop Sinaga as “an optimistic, disciplined and hard-working prelate.”

“He always spent 30 minutes a day meditating before attending a morning prayer service,” he said. 

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