Comboni Missionary Named as Bishop for Kuwait

KUWAIT, JULY 14, 2005 ( Benedict XVI named Father Camillo Ballin, a Comboni missionary, new bishop for the Apostolic Vicariate of Kuwait.

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He is replacing Bishop Francis Micallef, 76, who presented his resignation for reasons of age, the Vatican press office said in its announcement today.

Father Ballin, 61, has been director of the Center of Arab and Islamic Studies in Cairo, Egypt.

Born in Fontaniva, Italy, Camillo Ballin was ordained a priest as religious of the Comboni Missionaries in 1969. After his ordination, he learned Arabic in Lebanon and Syria. From 1972 to 1979 he was a parish priest in Zamalek-El Cairo.

From 1980 to 1989 he was delegation superior and provincial superior of his religious congregation. In 1989-2000 he was involved in the founding in Sudan of the Institute for the Formation of Religion Teachers.

Since 2000, he has been director of the Dar Comboni Center of Arab and Islamic Studies in Cairo and professor in the inter-ritual major seminary.

The Apostolic Vicariate of Kuwait has 2.6 million inhabitants, including 158,500 Catholics, according to data of the Annual Yearbook of the Holy See. Pastoral agents there include two diocesan priests and religious-order priests.

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