10/31/2022, 13.34
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Mgr Yanuarius Teofilus Matopai You becomes Jayapura’s new bishop

by Mathias Hariyadi

The Holy See chose an indigenous clergyman to replace 78-year-old Bishop Leo Laba Ladjar. Bishop You has always supported Indonesia’s national unity. Born in Uwebuta, he followed his priestly vocation from a very young age.

Jayapura (AsiaNews) – Pope Francis announced on Saturday the appointment of Fr Yanuarius Teofilus Matopai You, an indigenous priest from Painai, as the new bishop of the Diocese of Jayapura, Papua province, Indonesia’s easternmost territory.

His predecessor, Bishop Leo Laba Ladjar, now 78 years old, had repeatedly expressed hope of retiring after leading the diocese for 28 years.

Jayapura has been the scene of clashes between Indonesian security forces and pro-independence indigenous groups. The Holy See has chosen an indigenous man, but one who supports Indonesian unity.

According to Archbishop Petrus Canisius Mandagi of Merauke, this is "the best choice" because "the bishop-elect is indeed a nationalist figure.”

Born in Uwebuta, Bishop You grew up in a Catholic family and expressed the desire of becoming a priest from an early age, after he realised that children in his village did not have access to the teachings of the Church due to the lack of priests in the region.

As the eldest son he was pushed by his parents to marry, but "I was already interested in becoming a priest during my childhood years,” the new prelate explained.

“I have always been motivated to be faithful to my priestly vocation until my last breath," he said in 2016 during the celebrations for the 25th anniversary of his priesthood.

Bishop You “is a senior native Papuan priest, widely respected by his fellow priests, indigenous or not,” said Fr Istata, who has worked in Papua for 11 years.

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