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Indonesia's Sibolga Diocese announces new administrator

New appointment follows death of apostolic administrator Archbishop Anicetus Sinaga

Indonesia's Sibolga Diocese announces new administrator

Capuchin Father Charles Sebastian Sihombing has been appointed diocesan administrator of Sibolga Diocese in North Sumatra following the death of Archbishop Anicetus Bonsu Sinaga. (Photo supplied)

The Indonesian Church has announced the appointment of a diocesan administrator for Sibolga Diocese in North Sumatra province, three days after its apostolic administrator Archbishop Anicetus Bongsu Antonius Sinaga died.

Archbishop Sinaga died in the provincial capital Medan on Nov. 7 at the age of 79 following a battle with the coronavirus.

A requiem Mass for the archbishop was held in St. Therese of Lisieux Cathedral Church in the port city of Sibolga before he was buried in the cemetery at St. Peter Minor Seminary in Aek Tolang in Central Tapanuli district.

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During the Mass, Capuchin Archbishop Kornelius Sipayung of Medan, who is also the moderator of the Secretariat of Gender and Women Empowerment at the Indonesian Bishops’ Conference, announced the appointment of Capuchin Father Charles Sihombing as Sibolga Diocese’s diocesan administrator.

Sibolga Diocese has around 199,000 Catholics.

Speaking to UCA News, Father Sihombing said he will continue to materialize diocesan pastoral programs focusing on the grassroots despite challenges posed by the Covid-19 pandemic.

As of Nov. 10, Indonesia had recorded 444,348 cases and 14,761 deaths. Of this number, North Sumatra province had 13,894 cases and 569 deaths.

“The basic ecclesial communities are our focus and locus this year. We will have an evaluation by the end of this month,” Father Sihombing said.

Local Catholics have longed for a new bishop following the deaths of Capuchin Bishop Ludovikus Simanullang of Sibolga and Archbishop Sinaga, he said.

Bishop Simanullang died at the age of 63 after a short illness on Sept. 20, 2018. Archbishop Anicetus was appointed apostolic administrator of Sibolga two days later.

“We have distributed prayer cards to local Catholics. When there is a prayer meeting, even daily, local Catholics always pray that God will soon give Sibolga Diocese a new bishop. We hope that God will give us the best,” Father Sihombing said.

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