Saturday, March 23, 2024
Pope Francis has accepted the retirement of Archbishop John Baptist Odama from the pastoral care of Uganda’s Gulu Catholic Archdiocese, and has appointed Bishop Raphael p’Mony Wokorach of the country’s Nebbi Catholic Diocese as his successor. The latest administrative changes in the East African nation were made public by the Holy See Press Office on Friday, March 22, and confirmed in writing by the Apostolic Nuncio in the country, Archbishop Luigi Bianco. [Credit: Ugandan Catholics Online. ACI Africa]

In his letter announcing the transfer and elevation of Bishop Wokorach, Archbishop Bianco says, “The Holy Father has accepted the resignation from the pastoral care of the Archdiocese of Gulu presented by Archbishop John Baptist Odama, for reaching the age limit, according to Can 401, § 1 of the Code of Canon Law”. Archbishop Odama, the Apostolic Nuncio adds, who becomes “Archbishop Emeritus of Gulu, has been appointed Apostolic Administrator of the Archdiocese of Gulu until the day of the canonical possession by the new Archbishop.”

The Ugandan Archdiocese has been under the pastoral care of 76-year-old Archbishop Odama since its erection in 1999. He had been serving as the Local Ordinary of Nebbi since his Episcopal Consecration in May 1996. The Archbishop-elect for Gulu Archdiocese is a member of the Comboni Missionaries (MCCJ). He started his Episcopal Ministry in August 2021 following his Episcopal appointment in March 2021 for Nebbi Diocese. 

His Episcopal Consecration that had been initially scheduled to take place in June 2021 was postponed amid COVID-19 restrictions; it was later rescheduled to 14 August 2021.  The alumnus of the Uganda Martyrs’ National Major Seminary Alokum in Gulu Archdiocese and the Nairobi-based Tangaza University College (TUC) Nairobi, where he undertook his philosophical and theological studies, respectively, was ordained a Priest in September 1993.

As a Priest, the 63-year-old holder of a master’s degree in philosophy served as the bursar of the Comboni Community in Kisangani, Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), formator at the MCCJ postulancy in DRC, missionary in Togo and formator of Comboni Postulants in the West African country; missionary in Chicago in the U.S.A, and formator at the Nairobi-based Comboni International Theologate.

Bishop Wokorach will serve as the second Archbishop of Gulu Diocese once he is installed. The 27,945 square-kilometer Archdiocese comprises three suffragan Dioceses: Arua, Lira, and Nebbi.

ACI Africa