Sokoto — On the 25th of October 2012, the Vatican Press Service announced the appointment of Bishop Matthew Hassan Kukah, Catholic Bishop of the Diocese of Sokoto as a member of the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue, Vatican City. Following on the heels of the appointment of His Grace Archbishop John Onaiyekan, Archbishop of Abuja as a Cardinal, this is good news for the Catholic Church in Nigeria.
The members of the Council, the highest decision and policy making body for the Council for the Holy Father is made up of the following:
Cardinal Fernando Filoni, prefect of the Congregation for the Evangelisation of Peoples; Archbishop Peter Takeo Okada of Tokyo, Japan; Archbishop Jean Benjamin Sleiman O.C.D. of Baghdad of the Latins, Iraq; Archbishop Daniel J. Bohan of Regina, Canada; Archbishop Salvatore Fisichella, president of the Pontifical Council for Promoting New Evangelisation; Bishop Michel Dubost C.I.M. of Evry-Corbeil-Essonnes, France; Bishop Angelito R. Lampon O.M.I., Apostolic Vicar of Jolo, Philippines; Bishop Francesco Biasin of Barra do Pirai-Volta Redonda, Brazil; Bishop Joseph Chusak Sirisut of Nakhon Ratchasima, Thailand; Bishop Sebastian Francis Shah O.F.M., Auxiliary of Lahore, Pakistan; Bishop Michael Didi Adgum Mangoria, Coadjutor of El-Obeid, Sudan; Bishop Tomo Vuksic, Military ordinary of Bosnia Herzegovina. The President of the Council is Jean-Louis Cardinal Tauran
This adds to Bishop Kukah's other appointment appointments. In May this year, the President of the Conference of Bishops of English and French speaking West Africa (RECOWA-CERAO) announced his appointment as the Chairman of the Commission on Culture, Interreligious Dialogue and Ecumenism. In February this year, Bishop Kukah was elected, Chairman of the Commission on Inter-religious Dialogue for the Catholic Bishops' Conference of Nigeria.
Hitherto, Bishop Kukah had served the Council for a five-year tenure when His Eminence Cardinal Francis Arinze served as the President of the Council. He was a delegate at the just concluded Synod of Bishops for the New Evangelisation in the Vatican.
Fr Sixtus Onuh,
Chancellor, Diocese of Sokoto.