Khartoum's Cardinal-Designate "Profoundly Moved"

An Honor for Long-suffering Sudan

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KHARTOUM, Sudan, SEPT. 30, 2003 ( Khartoum’s archbishop said he was «profoundly moved» by the Pope’s decision to name him a cardinal, the first ever for Sudan.

Archbishop Gabriel Zubeir Wako will receive a red hat at the ninth consistory of John Paul II’s pontificate, on Oct. 21. The Pope announced Sunday that he named 31 new cardinals.

The name of the archbishop of the capital of Sudan, a country where Christians have suffered from a civil war and campaigns of Islamization, was one of the great surprises on the list of new cardinals.

When he heard the news, Archbishop Zubeir Wako gave thanks «to the Lord for the great gifts he has received in his life,» according to statements reported by the Missionary Service News Agency.

«The Lord has done great things in the life of my people and I am certain he will continue to do wonders, also through the intercession of Monsignor Comboni,» he said. Daniel Comboni (1831-1881) was an apostolic vicar of Central Africa who lived in Khartoum and who will be canonized this Sunday.

Archbishop Zubeir Wako appealed for prayers for peace in Sudan, whose 20-year conflict has cost the lives of more than 2 million people.

The future cardinal, 62, was born in Mboro, in the Diocese of Wau. He was ordained a priest in 1963 and consecrated bishop of that same Sudanese diocese in 1975. In 1979 he was appointed coadjutor archbishop of Khartoum, and took possession of the see in 1981.

The Khartoum Archdiocese has 20 million residents, including almost 1 million Catholics. There are 28 parishes, 71 diocesan priests, 48 religious priests, four permanent deacons, 81 religious who are not priests, 150 nuns, 455 educational centers and 33 welfare centers.

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