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Saturday, February 10, 2007


VATICAN CITY, FEB 10, 2007 (VIS) - The Holy Father:

 - Accepted the resignation from the pastoral care of the diocese of Speyer, Germany, presented by Bishop Anton Schlembach, upon having reached the age limit.

 - Appointed Bishop Dionisio Guillermo Garcia Ibanez of Santisimo Salvador de Bayamo y Manzanillo, Cuba, as metropolitan archbishop of Santiago de Cuba (area 6,043, population 1,017,785, Catholics 242,378, priests 20, permanent deacons 3, religious 53), Cuba. The archbishop-elect was born in Guantanamo, Cuba in 1945, he was ordained a priest in 1985, and consecrated a bishop in 1996. He succeeds Archbishop Pedro Claro Meurice Estiu, whose resignation from the pastoral care of the same archdiocese, the Holy Father accepted, upon having reached the age limit.

 - Elevated the apostolic prefecture of Nepal (area 147,181, population 23,700,000, Catholics 6,681, priests 51, religious 112), Nepal to the rank of apostolic vicariate, with the same name and territorial boundaries. He appointed Fr. Anthony Francis Sharma S.J., apostolic prefect of Nepal, as the first apostolic vicar of the new apostolic vicariate, at the same time elevating him to the dignity of bishop. The bishop-elect was born in Kathmandu, Nepal in 1937 and ordained a priest in 1968.

 - Confirmed the election, carried out by the Synod of Bishops of the Syro-Malankar Church, meeting on February 8, 2007, of Archbishop Issac Cleemis Thottunkal of Tiruvalla, India as major archbishop of Trivandrum of the Syro-Malankars (area 8,684, population 8,657,000, Catholics 270,000, priests 300, religious 1,056), India.
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