Comboni Missionary, Bishop Cesare Mazzolari, 74, died of a heart attack on Saturday morning while celebrating Mass. Msgr Mazzolari, the Bishop of Rumbek in the newly-formed South Sudan devoted much of his life to building peace in the region. He rescued child soldiers and bought slaves in order to set them free.
Just a week earlier, on Saturday, 9 July Bishop Mazzolari had taken part in the ceremony for the independence of Southern Sudan. Born on 9 February, 1937 in Brescia, Italiy, he joined Comboni Fathers and was ordained a priest on 17 March, 1962.
After working in the United States in Afro-American and Mexican communities, he was sent to Sudan in 1981 and became apostolic administrator of the diocese of Rumbek (South Sudan) in 1990.
In 1994 he was kidnapped and held hostage for 24 hours by guerrillas of the SPLA (Sudan People's Liberation Army), a separatist armed group fighting against the Khartoum government. He was ordained a bishop by Pope John Paul II, on 6 January 1999.
Source: Comboni Fathers
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