July 21, 2011

"A peacemaker, he rescued child soldiers and bought slaves in order to set them free"

Born in Italy, ordained a priest in San Diego, Cesare Mazzolati  began his most challenging mission in  Sudan, almost 30 years ago.  In 1990, he was appointed apostolic administrator of the war-torn Diocese of Rumbek where "he zealously set to work, re-opening missions and negotiating humanitarian assistance and the freedom of very young slaves."

He was consecrated bishop in 1999 by Pope John Paul II.  The diocese stated: "He took to heart the mandate given to him on that day by the Holy Father, John Paul II, namely, to relieve 'a people who have suffered too much for too long' from 'the anguish of an unjust war' and 'to help them to restore the dignity of their human rights.'

Following the comprehensive peace agreement of 2005 and after decades of civil war,  South Sudan became an independent nation on July 9 of this year.  Bishop Mazzolati presided over the official opening prayer during the Independence Day celebrations.

Just one week later, the South Sudan Bishop died while celebrating Mass.

"A week later," a communiqué from the diocese announced, "God called home his faithful servant during Eucharist, at the moment of consecration. Surely, it was a privilege from God for Bishop Cesare Mazzolari to die in the presence of Jesus during the Eucharist, in his own cathedral and among his priests, religious and faithful."

The faithful of the diocese expressed "deep and heartfelt appreciation of his dedicated service and lifelong faithful witness to the Gospel among the people of South Sudan."

 Bishop Mazzolari2

A peacemaker, he rescued child soldiers and bought slaves in order to set them free.

Posted by Jill Fallon at July 21, 2011 11:21 AM | Permalink