PRIESTS IN THE NEWS:
Father Aniedi Okure, OP appointed Executive Director of the African Faith & Justice Network
Dominican Father Aniedi Okure has been appointed Executive Director of the Africa Faith & Justice Network. The announcement was made by AFJN Board Chairman, Father Christopher Promis, CSSp. He succeeds Father Rocco Puopolo, SX, who leaves the Washington, DC office of AFJN for a position with his Xaverian Community in Boston after serving in the position since 2006.
Fr. Rocco Puopolo, SX (left) and Fr. Aniedi Okure, OP
Father Okure co-authored with Dr. Dean Hoge the NFPC-commissioned book, International Priests in America: Challenges and Opportunities (Liturgical Press, 2006). From 1995 to 2001 he was coordinator of the Ethnic Ministries Office for the Pastoral Care of Migrants and Refugees at the US Conference of Catholic Bishops. In addition he served as co-chair for breakout sessions at Encuentro 2000, the millennium celebration of diversity in the church. Father Okure is a member of the Dominican Province of St. Joseph the Worker (Nigeria and Ghana). He was ordained in 1980. Prior to coming to the US, Father Okure was University Chaplain at the University of Ife as well as being chaplain for the Nigeria Catholic Students Association. He holds a doctorate in sociology from the Catholic University of America.
The Africa Faith & Justice Network is a membership community of advocates for responsible US relations with Africa. As a 501(c)3 organization AFJN stresses issues of peace building, human rights and social justice that tie directly into Catholic social teaching. Its membership includes 33 religious institutes of men and women and an archdiocesan mission office. Web site: www.afjn.org.
Indianapolis Archbishop Buechlein’s resignation accepted; Manchester, NH bishop appointed
Pope Benedict XVI has accepted the resignation of Indianapolis Archbishop Daniel Buechlein, OSB for health reasons. He requested retirement earlier this year. Although at 73, two years away from the normal retirement age for bishop, Archbishop Buechlein has suffered from numerous health problems in recent years including a mild stroke, Hodgkin’s lymphoma, a shoulder replacement surgery and removal of a benign stomach tumor. According to the Catholic News Agency web site, he intends to spend his retirement at St. Meinrad Archabbey, where he made solemn profession as a Benedictine monk nearly 50 years ago.
In other action, Pope Benedict named Auxiliary Bishop Peter A. Libasci of Rockville Centre, NY as bishop of Manchester, NH. He succeeds Bishop John McCormack whose resignation was accepted due to age. Bishop Libasci, 59 was ordained a priest of Rockville Centre in 1978. He became auxiliary bishop in 2007. He holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from St. John’s University, Jamaica, New York, a master of divinity degree from St. Meinrad’s Seminary, St. Meinrad, Indiana, and a Master of Arts degree in theology and catechetics from St. John’s University. He is bi-ritual and celebrates the liturgy in both the Roman Catholic and the Byzantine Ruthenian Catholic Church.