The recent wave of African migrants is bringing "new blood to the Australian Church", Sudanese Bishop Santo Loku Pio said in Adelaide during a solidarity visit by a group of African clergy, reports The Southern Cross.
Bishop Santo, Auxiliary Bishop of Juba, South Sudan, together with Mgr Roko Taban the Apostolic Administrator of the Diocese of Malakal and Fr Samuel Akoch the Parish Priest of Bentiu were visiting African-Australians from South Sudan.
"This is a solidarity visit," Bishop Santo said. "Coming to Australia has given us an opportunity, after being invited by the Australian Bishops Conference's Office for Migrants and Refugees, to encourage the young migrant community in Australia.
"We've come especially to encourage them in their faith and their responsibility, to really resettle as Christians and as Catholics and to carry out their duties and responsibilities."
Bishop Santo said he was particularly happy to see young Africans in lay ministry in the Australian Church. "They're getting involved," he said.
"Some are now commissioned catechists here and in other dioceses and many professionals are assisting them to get them to join into the church life in Australia, which is so different from the life back in South Sudan.
"They're getting trained. They're getting the capacities to fit into the church and to give the support that they need in their communities.
"Also we have a permanent deacon ordained already in Melbourne from this migrant community." Deacon George Piech Meat was ordained for the Melbourne Archdiocese on October 27.
"We realise that here there are many people who came from the Democratic Republic of Congo, Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi, Tanzania, Kenya, and so on," Bishop Santo said.
"They're forming up a family, a family of the African community.
"We're encouraging them to carry out their leadership responsibility, to be good Catholics and carry out their duties."