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Pope names new archbishop of Durban, South Africa, as cardinal retires

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Pope names new archbishop of Durban, South Africa, as cardinal retires

VATICAN CITY (CNS) — Pope Francis accepted the resignation of Cardinal Wilfrid F. Napier, 80, for reasons of age and appointed Bishop Siegfried Mandla Jwara to succeed him as archbishop of Durban, South Africa.

The appointment June 9 comes after Archbishop Abel D. Gabuza, whom the pope had named in late 2018 as coadjutor archbishop and eventual leader of the archdiocese, died Jan. 17 of COVID-19 at the age of 65.

Bishop Jwara, a member of the Congregation of the Missionaries of Mariannhill, was born Feb. 1, 1957, in St. Nivard and was ordained a priest in 1987.

With degrees in human development and leadership, as well as theology, he has served in several parishes and in a variety of offices with his congregation, including regional superior.

Pope Francis appointed him apostolic vicar of Ingwavuma in 2016 and made him a bishop.

Cardinal Napier, who turned 80 in March, had been archbishop of Durban since 1992 and was created a cardinal by St. John Paul II in 2001, becoming South Africa’s first Black cardinal.

Born in Swartberg in 1941, he was ordained a Franciscan priest in 1970. Ten years later he was appointed bishop of Kokstad where he served 12 years before going to Durban.

He served several terms as president of the Southern African Catholic Bishops’ Conference and played a leading role in the church’s opposition to apartheid in the 1980s. He was also instrumental in designing pastoral strategies in the post-apartheid era.

Pope Francis named him a member of the Vatican’s Council for the Economy in 2014 and appointed him apostolic administrator of Eshowe in February.

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