11/11/2022, 14.07
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Mgr Saeng ordained new bishop of Sanggau (West Kalimantan)

by Mathias Hariyadi

An ethnic Dayak, he replaces Bishop Giulio Mencuccini. Now all Indonesian dioceses are led by Indonesian bishops. For Card Suharyo, the new bishop will take care of the good done by his predecessor. His background in  philosophy will help him accommodate local wisdoms with Christianity.

Sanggau (AsiaNews) – Mgr Valentinus Saeng is the new bishop of Sanggau in the province of West Kalimantan.

The episcopal ordination took place today in the Cathedral of the Sacred Heart of Jesus in the presence of the Apostolic Nuncio Piero Pioppo and Archbishop Card Ignatius Suharyo Hardjoatmodjo of Jakarta, president of the Catholic Bishops' Conference of Indonesia.

Several bishops and government representatives were also present, as were thousands of Catholic faithful.

Archbishop Simon Peter Poh Hoon Seng of Kuching (Malaysia) was also in attendance. The Diocese of Sanggau has an extensive border with Malaysia.as well as the Indonesian dioceses of Pontianak and Sintang.

An ethnic Dayak and a member of the Congregation of the Passion (Passionists), Bishop Saeng was appointed in June by Pope Francis, replacing Bishop Giulio Mencuccini, an Italian-born Passionist who had led the diocese since 1990 and left it having reached the age limit.

Now the Catholic Church in Indonesia will no longer have any foreign missionary at the helm of any local diocese.

As a pastoral motto, Bishop Saeng chose bonum depositum custodi (Guard the good deposit), taken from the words of Saint Paul to Timothy after making him bishop, a choice praised by Card Suharyo, because it reflects the new pastor’s strong commitment to take care of the good done by his predecessor, Bishop Mencuccini.

Speaking to those present, Bishop Saeng said he never expected to be chosen as bishop. "My only personal ambition was to become a professor of philosophy, but when the pontiff appointed me, I could not back down because God is everywhere to guide me.”

In his address, Bishop Mencuccini stressed the background of his successor, a former professor of philosophy at Widya Mandala Catholic University in Surabaya and at the Catholic University of St Thomas in Medan. “He will certainly be able to accommodate local wisdoms with our Christianity,” Mencuccini said.

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