Pope Francis appoints new Archbishop for Pretoria


Pope Francis has received the resignation of Archbishop William Slattery of Pretoria, having reached the age of retirement and has appointed Bishop Dabula Mpako of Queenstown to succeed Slattery in Pretoria.

At midday today, 30 April 2019, in the Vatican, Pope Francis announced he had accepted the resignation of Archbishop William Slattery OFM of Pretoria. The Holy Father thanked the archbishop for his service to the people of Pretoria over the past nine years.

At the same time, the pope announced he had named Bishop Dabula Mpako of Queenstown as the next archbishop of the metropolitan archdiocese of Pretoria. The suffragan sees of the archdiocese include Rustenburg, Polokwane, Tzaneen in South Africa, and Gaborone and Francistown in Botswana. 

Mpako was appointed to Queenstown on 23 May 2011 and ordained bishop on 6 August 2011. Before moving to Queenstown, the archbishop-elect was ordained and served as a priest in the archdiocese of Pretoria. He was later appointed to the senior position of vicar-general of the archdiocese. His prior familiarity with the archdiocese is likely to have been a favourable factor in the decision to appoint him the new shepherd of his home diocese. 

The archbishop-elect was, last year, elected the first vice-president of the Southern African Catholic Bishops’ Conference, a role he assumed this year, after the first plenary meeting of the region’s bishops. He holds a doctorate in pastoral theology from UNISA and a master’s degree in pastoral therapy and pastoral studies from the Jesuits’ Loyola University in Chicago.

A year after his ordination to the priesthood, he was appointed lecturer at St Paul’s Orientation Seminary in Hammanskraal. He later served there as rector, until 1990. In 1994, he was appointed rector at St Peter’s and was responsible for the philosophical formation of those training for the priesthood. He continued in that role until 2004.

Following his time at the seminaries, he served as pastor in the archdiocese of Pretoria at the parishes of Christ the King and St Mark in Mabopane and St Columba in Capital Park. He was the pastor at St Thomas More in Monavoni, when he was appointed bishop of Queenstown.

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* The opinions expressed here by Spotlight.Africa contributors and editors are their own and not official statements of the Society of Jesus in South Africa or of the Catholic Church unless explicitly stated.


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Pope Francis appoints new Archbishop for Pretoria