By Konradus Epa
Pope Francis appointed new bishops to two Indonesian dioceses on July 14, the first time the Vatican has appointed two prelates at the same time.
The Holy Father appointed Father Ewaldus Martinus Sedu, 55, as bishop of Maumere Diocese in East Nusa Tenggara province and Father Christopher Tri Harsono, 52, as prelate of Purwokerto Diocese in central Java province.
Bishop-elect Harsono is currently vicar-general of Bogor Diocese in West Java. He succeeds Jesuit Bishop Julianus Sunarka who resigned on December 2016 after reaching the retirement age of 75.
Born in Bogor on Jan. 18, 1966, he was ordained priest on Feb. 15, 1995. From 1998 to 2001 he studied Arabic in Egypt and at the Pontifical Institute for Arabic and Islamic Studies in Rome, Italy.
A year later he was appointed rector of St. Peter-Paul Major Seminary in Bandung, West Java.
He currently teaches philosophy at Parahyangan Catholic University in Bandung.
Franciscan Bishop Paskalis Bruno Syukur of Bogor said Catholics in his diocese are very happy that a local member of the clergy, born and raised in Bogor had been appointed a bishop.
“We are extremely proud that Father Harsono is being trusted by the Vatican to shepherd Catholics in Purwokerto,” Bishop Syukur told ucanews.com.
The prelate said Father Harsono deserves to be a bishop because he has extensive pastoral experience and good knowledge.
Purwokerto Diocese has about 61,000 Catholics in 25 parishes ministered by 46 diocesan priests, 35 religious priests, 145 sisters, and 24 brothers.
Meanwhile, bishop-elect Sedu will succeed Divine Word Bishop Gerulfus Kherubim Pareira who resigned in September 2016.
Father Sedu was born in Bajawa on East Nusa Tenggara province’s Catholic majority Island of Flores on July 30, 1963, and ordained a priest on July 1991.
From 1997-2001 Father Sedu studied pedagogy in Rome, Italy, later becoming a lecturer at St. Paul Major Seminary of Ledalero, in Maumere.
He also served as rector of St. Peter Major Seminary at Ritapiret, Maumere from 2005 to 2010.
He is currently vicar-general of Maumere Diocese.
“I can’t believe I’ve been appointed a bishop. This is a major responsibility for me,” Bishop-elect Sedu told ucanews.com.
He asked local Catholics to support and help him in his new mission.
He said one of the challenges the diocese faces is a shortage of priests so he “will work hard to promote priestly vocations.”
Maumere Diocese has about 302,000 Catholics in 36 parishes, administered by 62 diocesan priests, 134 religious priests, 157 sisters, and 13 brothers.