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Bishop Matteo Zuppi to be Ordained Auxilliary Bishop of Rome and Titular Bishop of Villa Nova

On April 14, 2012, Bishop Matteo Maria Zuppi, the new Titular Bishop of Villa Nova and Auxiliary to The Holy Father Benedict XVI, the Bishop of Rome, will be ordained in Rome. An Auxiliary Bishop of Rome is a direct auxiliary to the Pope or the Catholic Holy Father. He fulfills episcopal duties for the diocese of Rome in lieu of the Pope, who is diocesan Bishop of Rome.

Bishop Matter Zuppi was appointed the Titular Bishop of Villa Nova, and Auxiliary Bishop of Rome on January 31, 2012. He was then serving as the Church Assistant of the Community of Sant’Egidio and Parish Priest of the Church of St Simon and St Judas Thaddeus in the district of Torre Angela in Rome.
Bishop Matteo Zuppi who was born in Rome in 1955, has been a member of the Community of Sant’Egidio since his youth. He served for more than 10 years as the Parish Priest of Santa Maria in Trastevere.
A committed peace activist and broker, he was one of the architects of the peace accord in Mozambique in the 1982 conflict.
Over the last decade, Bishop Matteo Zuppi’s name has been linked to several initiatives for peace in Rwanda, especially with the Rwandan rebels based in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC).
In 2008-2009, he was the peace brokers on the behalf of The Community of Sant’Egidio, along with SIK-NOrway and Church of Christ in the Congo (EGlise du Christ au Congo – ECC) of peace negotiations between the Government of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) and the National Democratic Congress (NDC), made of the Rwandan rebels of the Rally for Unity and Democracy (RUD-Urunana) and the Rally for the Rwandan People (RPR-Inkeragutabara).
The peace negotiations eventually led to the Kisangani peace process roadmap and the peaceful disarmament of RUD and RPF fighters in Kasiki in May 2008.
The peace process eventually collapsed when the Rwandan government, opposed to the repatriation of the refugees, sent troops to the Kivu in Eastern DRC. Rwandan troops attacked the camp of the disarmed combatants and their dependents in February 2009, hence thwarting the peace efforts.

Now that Bishop Matteo Zuppi has become the Auxiliary Bishop of Rome, hence closer to the Pope, it would be interesting to know whether a new momentum will be given to the peace process in Rwanda.

The episcopal ordinal ceremony will be held at the Papal Archbasilica of Saint John Lateran and led by Cardinal Agostino Vallini, Vicar General of Rome, Archpriest of the Archbasilica of Saint John Lateran with Archbishop Filippo Iannone, Auxiliary Bishop of Rome and and Bishop Domenico Sigalini, Bishop of Palestrina serving as Co-consecrators.

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