Archive for July 16, 2011

Bishop Ceasar Mazzolari of Rumbek Diocese is Dead

Posted: July 16, 2011 by PaanLuel Wël Media Ltd. in Junub Sudan

Bishop Mazzolari of Rumbek Diocese is dead.

By East African Counter Human Trafficking Efforts

At last, all-powerful Master, you give leave to your servant  to go in peace, according to your promise. For my eyes have seen your salvation which you have prepared for all nations, the light to enlighten the Gentiles and give glory to … your people.

Monsignor Caesar Mazzolari died this morning  in the town of Rumbek (South Sudan), the Episcopal seat of his diocese. According to the news posted in Radio Vatican, the death took place at 8.00 am local time and is attributed to cardiac complications which started as he celebrated mass. Bishop Mazzolari was born on February 9, 1937 in Brescia.

CISA  reports that according to Fr Don Bosco Ochieng, Director of Radio Good News Rumbek, Sudan the bishop was con-celebrating at the morning Eucharistic celebration presided over by Fr Justin Atit, Director Healing the Healers. Right at the beginning of consecration, the late prelate fell back on his chair in what seemed a total lack of strength, raised his head which fell back beyond the back of the chair, and was clearly gasping for breath with his left hand holding firmly on his chest. With the help of fathers, sisters and some faithful, the late was carried to the sacristy and a few minutes later to his room, while a Rumbek-based doctor was being contacted. The bishop was pronounced dead after some basic tests were carried out on him.

Monsignor Caesar Mazzolari belonged to the congregation of  Comboni Missionaries of the Heart of Jesus. According to the Comboni MissionariesSuperior General, Bishop Mazzolari performed many good deeds and he was seen as a symbol of hope for the Church in South Sudan.

Mazzolari was ordained a priest in the USA on March 17th, 1962. His first years after ordination were spent in diocese of Cincinati where he ministered to the American and African populations. In 1981 he arrived in Sudan where he worked first in the diocese of Tombura-  Yambio, later in the Archdiocese of Juba, which also covered  the position of provincial superior of the Comboni Missionaries of the entire South Sudan.
In 1990 Monsignor Mazzolari was appointed by John Paul II as Apostolic Administrator of Rumbek. Those were years of the war that brought to the local population  unspeakable pain. In those circumstances the bishop worked tirelessly to meet the spiritual and material needs of his diocese. In 1991 he opened a mission in Yirol despite fighting that raged throughout Equatoria.  In April the same year was forced to abandon the mission under pressure from government forces but he never lost hope.  In 1994 he was captured and held hostage for 24 hours by rebels of the SPLA (Army Sudan People’s Liberation), the armed struggle wing of Sudanese People Liberation Movement (SPLM) which was struggling against the cruel treatment of the South Sudan by the  Khartoum government in the North Sudan.

On 6 January 1999 he was ordained a bishop by Pope John Paul II and was co-consecrated by archbishop, Cardinal Giovanni Battista Re Francesco Monterisi. The presence of Monsignor Mazzolari alongside a people so shamefully humiliated and crushed in their dignity has always been a sign of extraordinary hope for the Church of Sudan.

During his numerous trips to Italy he always ”giving voice to the voiceless”, resulting in a strong resonance
in public opinion. The death of the Bishop comes at a time when the many years of the struggle for liberation have led to the birth of a new nation of South Sudan on 9th July 2011.  The churches should continue putting more effort to ensure that  the people of Southern Sudan are not forgotten even after the creation of a new republic of South Sudan. They should continue working for peace, justice and promoting the dignity and respect of human rights.

In Rumbek is the cathedral of the Holy Family, which was built and destroyed several times during the Civil War, showing the resilience of the late prelate.  This resilience bore fruits  as evidenced last week when the  late prelate graced his presence during the ceremony of Independence of the new Republic of South Sudan in Juba. May the Good Lord receive him in paradise.



Dear Beloved Faithful of Rumbek Catholic Diocese,

I can’t tell you how shocked and saddened I was to hear of Bishop Mazzolari’s sudden and all too early passing. What a difficult time this is for us as people of the Sudan and THE New REPUBLIC OF south Sudan, but at the same time we are the followers of Christ, the only one who Resurrected from the dead and promised all those who would follow him as Bishop Mazzollari will never see death but life, is available.


Bishop Mozzallari arrived to the Sudan in 1982 at the invitation of Bishop Joseph Gasi Emeritus of the Catholic Diocese of Tombura-Yambio. Bishop Caesar by then a priest worked in Nzara parish as curate and Spiritual Director in St. Joseph Minor Seminary at Riimenze 20 miles away from Yambio, the capital of Western Equatoria for two years. I was one of his directees/student. He really influenced us very spiritually. The Catholic Diocese of Tombura-Yambio has lost its ardent son and assures him Eternal Peace.


TO ALL THE CATHOLIC DIOCESE OF RUMBEK, SUDAN CATHOLIC BISHOP’S CONFERENCE, THE COMBONI, BRESCIA FAMILIES AND FRIENDS OF BISHOP MAZZOLLARI – Accept the sincere condolence of the Catholic Diocese of Tombura-Yambio – and it a sad day. He carried us all through thick and thin days while living in the Sudan.

Bishop Mazzollari was a Holy a great person. His contribution towards an independent Republic of South Sudan cannot be questioned. He made the small beautiful suffered country self-determined in most of the sectors within years. He managed pastoral gains, infrastructure, civic awareness, education, agriculture and above all the ‘IMAGE” and Dignity of the people of South Sudan a treasure to invest into.

Bishop Ceasar was a dear man. He was gracious, gentle and humble and, in his last days and months, he was a living witness of his unshakeable faith in the resurrection to eternal life.


As so many of us know, from our experience with him, he had no fear of death. He knew that death would have no victory over him. Death held no sting for him. Many times he publicly thanked God for his physical pains, which allowed him time to prepare to enter into eternal life.


The words of St. Paul were the words of his beloved Lord to Bishop Mazzollari: “Therefore, my beloved, be steadfast, immovable, always excelling in the work of the Lord, because you know that in the Lord your labour is not in vain.”


Bishop Mazzollari’s legacy to us is perhaps this final witness of faith that our work for the Lord also is not meaningless but will have abiding results. Our belief in the resurrection does not mean that all our attention is directed to the future life only where these mortal bodies will put on immortality, but rather it becomes the basis for how we live now. We live now with hope and confidence and freedom from fear because death has been swallowed up in victory and our lives are lived “in the Lord.”  His example of self-giving for the good of people and right cause will continue to inspire us. Let the people of South Sudan take this and do likewise.

Dear people of the Sudan, it is sad that our lives must overlap. It is sad that some live longer and some live shorter lives. It is sad because we are human, and because we will miss one another. It is sad because a promise that was so strong and so selfless, should be taken from us so soon. But in the midst of the pain that we share, we must also call to mind that God has a purpose for each of us, and that only God can see into the soul of each of us, discerning there how we may play our part in the work of salvation. This church in the Sudan has known sorrow before; this church has borne heavy burdens. But oh…how generous God is, to give us help when we need it. Today, we must begin to think of the future, we must turn to the work at hand, and resume the patient but insistent work of the Gospel, which is our mission and our life. Let us be thankful that today, in heaven, one more voice that of Bishop Mazzollari, who leaves and lives in South Sudan will lend its sonority to those powers which intercede for us unceasingly around the throne of God.

Let us bid farewell to the brother we knew, who has been gathered on the way, enfolded by the truth, and crowned with the eternal Life, which is Jesus Christ. May his faithful example remind us always to make this prayer our own:

Hold then your cross before my closing eyes; Shine through the gloom, and point me to the skies: Heaven’s morning breaks, and earth’s vain shadows flee; In life, in death O Lord, abide with me! (John Keble)


Thank you Bishop Mazzollari for offering the Republic of South Sudan for which you suffered all kinds of humiliation and pain, you have seen it and May Our Father and Your Father put you among His Redeemed – Amen!


Barani Eduardo Hiiboro, Bishop of the Catholic Diocese of Tombura-Yambio