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Pope appoints new bishops for Rustenburg and Witbank dioceses

At noon today it was announced by the Holy See’s Press Office that the Holy Father Pope Francis has accepted the resignation of Bishop Kevin Dowling, C.S.s.R. as Bishop of the Diocese of Rustenburg, and has appointed the Vicar-General of the Archdiocese of Pretoria, Fr. Robert Mogapi Mphiwe, to be the new Bishop of Rustenburg. At the same time, it was also announced that the current Bishop of Eshowe, Bishop Xolelo Thaddaeus Kumalo has been transferred to care for the Diocese of Witbank.

The Holy Father, Pope Francis, has accepted the resignation of Bishop Kevin Dowling, C.S.s.R. from the Diocese of Rustenburg, which he has served from 2 December 1990 when he was appointed until 25 November 2020, a week short of 30 years, it was announced.

Bishop-designate Robert Mogapi Mphiwe – for Rustenburg

Bishop-designate Robert Mogapi Mphiwe was born on 14 March, 1972, in Pretoria. He completed his ecclesiastical studies at St. Peter’s Seminary in Garsfontein for Philosophy studies (1990-1992), and entered St. John Vianney Seminary in Pretoria for studies in theology (1993-1996) before obtaining a Licentiate in Liturgy from the Pontifical Athenaeum Sant’Anselmo in Rome. He was ordained a priest on 1 November, 1997 for the Archdiocese of Pretoria, where he served as:

Bishop-Designate Robert Mogapi Mphiwe, previously Vicar-General of the Archdiocse of Pretoria.
  • Parish Vicar of St. Kizito in Marapyane (1997-1999);
  • Lecturer and trainer at St. Peter’s Seminary in Garsfontein (2000-2001 and 2005-2008);
  • Parish priest of St. Anne’s in Atteridgeville (2009-2010);
  • Pastor of St. Thomas More in Centurion (2011 to present)
  • Vicar General of the Archdiocese of Pretoria (2015 to present).

According to the website of the Southern African Catholic Bishops’ Conference (SACBC), the Diocese of Rustenburg, in the Ecclesiastical Province of the Metropolitan of Pretoria, comprises the magisterial districts of Rustenburg, Koster, Swartruggens, Marico, Thabazimbi, Phokeng, Mankwe, Madikwe, Lehurutse and a portion of Odi.

Bishop Xolelo Thaddaeus Kumalo – for Witbank
Bishop Xolelo Thaddaeus Kumalo
// Source: Diocese of Eshowe

Bishop Kumalo was born on 2 July 1954 at Gogele in the Diocese of Kokstad. He was ordained priest for the Diocese of Bethlehem on 10 October 1991 and was Vicar-General of that Diocese from 2000-2006. On 11 March 2008 he was appointed Bishop and was ordained Bishop on 7 June 2008 at Little Flower, Eshowe for the Diocese of Eshowe. On 25 November 2020 it was announced that he was to be transferred to take care of the Diocese of Witbank.

According to the website of the Southern African Catholic Bishops’ Conference (SACBC), the Diocese of Witbank, in the Ecclesiastical Province of the Metropolitan of Johannesburg, comprises the magisterial districts of Barberton, Belfast, Carolina, Kamhlushwa, Lydenburg, Mapulaneng, Mhala, Middelburg, Nebo, Nelspruit, Nsikazi, Pilgrim’s Rest, Sekhukhune, Waterval-Boven, White River, Witbank, and portions of Eerstehoek and Groblersdal. Some of these districts are located in the province of Mpumlanga, others in that of Limpopo.

* 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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