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Pope Francis appoints new Indonesian bishop, archbishop

Father Vitus Solichin becomes bishop of Padang, while Bishop Yohanes Yuwono is to head Palembang Archdiocese

Pope Francis appoints new Indonesian bishop, archbishop

Archbishop-elect Yohanes Harun Yuwono (left) and Bishop-elect Vitus Rubianto Solichin. (Photos supplied)

Pope Francis has appointed Xaverian Father Vitus Rubianto Solichin as bishop of Padang in Indonesia’s West Sumatra province and made Bishop Yohanes Harun Yuwono of Tanjungkarang the new archbishop of Palembang in South Sumatra province.

Both appointments were announced on July 3.

The appointment of the 52-year-old priest from the Pious Society of St. Francis Xavier for the Foreign Missions as bishop of Padang was announced by the diocesan administrator, Father Alexander Irwan Suwandi, via a video message uploaded on the YouTube channel of Padang Diocese’s commission for social communications.

Bishop-elect Solichin said he will focus on developing basic ecclesial communities in his diocese covering West Sumatra and Riau provinces as well as the Mentawai Islands.

“It is not easy to say what I will do without really knowing what local Catholics exactly need. I will focus on the development of basic ecclesial communities,” he told UCA News by phone.

“I visited a parish in Pekanbaru, capital of Riau province, once for a Bible study program, where I got to know the parishioners. The parish church looks nice, but it serves a large number of parishioners.

Local Catholics need to grow. That is why I want to develop basic ecclesial communities on these islands

“Also, when I was still a seminarian, I spent my pastoral orientation year in a parish in the Mentawai Islands. Local Catholics need to grow. That is why I want to develop basic ecclesial communities on these islands.”

He also said he will build greater solidarity among local Catholics.

“I learn from Jakarta Archdiocese. Cardinal Ignatius Suharyo Hardjoatmodjo of Jakarta’s popular word is compassion. Thus, spreading … compassion is what I want to do,” he said.

Bishop-elect Solichin was born on Nov. 15, 1968, in Semarang, capital of Central Java province. He attended St. Peter Canisius Minor Seminary in Mertoyudan, also in the province, before joining the Pious Society of St. Francis Xavier for the Foreign Missions.

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He continued his philosophical studies at the Driyarkara School of Philosophy in Jakarta and theological studies at Wedabhakti Pontifical Faculty of Theology at Sanata Dharma University in Yogyakarta province.

After being ordained a Xaverian priest on July 7, 1997, he obtained a licentiate in sacred Scripture at the Pontifical Biblical Institute in Rome from 1997 until 2001.

From 2001 until 2007, he served as a lecturer of sacred Scripture at Driyarkara School of Philosophy in Jakarta and the Fermentum Major Seminary in Bandung in West Java province.

In 2012, he obtained a degree in biblical theology at the Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome. And since 2013, he has served as a lecturer and vice-chairman for academic affairs at Driyarkara School of Philosophy in Jakarta, a member of the Xaverian formation team and the Xaverian Provincial Council of Indonesia.

He has also served as rector at the Xaverian Scholasticate and president of the Indonesian Biblical Scholars Association since 2015 and 2018 respectively.

He has a licentiate in Islamology from the Pontifical Institute of Arab and Islamic Studies, Rome

Meanwhile, Bishop Yuwono’s appointment as archbishop of Palembang and apostolic administrator of Tanjungkarang Diocese was announced by the diocesan secretary, Father Kornelius Anjarsi.

Archbishop-elect Yuwono was born on July 4, 1964, and ordained a priest in 1992. 

He has a licentiate in Islamology from the Pontifical Institute of Arab and Islamic Studies, Rome, and has served in several pastoral roles, including parish vicar in Sungaliat and chairman of the diocesan pastoral secretariat in Pangkalpinang. He is currently rector at the Interdiocesan Major Seminary of Pematangsiantar and a teacher of Islamic studies at St. Yohanes Institute of Philosophy and Theology in Pematangsiantar.

He was appointed bishop of Tanjungkarang in Lampung province on July 19, 2013, and installed on Oct. 10.

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