The first Indigenous bishop of Indonesia’s Papua province was ordained this week at the Christ the King Cathedral in the provincial capital Jayapura.
“I never dreamed of becoming a bishop, but the Holy See chose me, making my mother’s dream come true,” said Bishop Yanuarius Theofilus Matopai You.
“I was in tears when the papal nuncio informed me of the choice of Pope Francis,” recalled the new prelate, adding that he will continue the programs started by his predecessor.
“My vision is to build a Church with a missionary identity,” he was quoted as saying in a report on AsiaNews.
“I am a native Papuan but will serve all parts in Papua,” said the new bishop. “The bishop is morally destined to become a figure of union who does not implement preferences,” he said.
The Vatican announced the appointment of Bishop You as prelate of the Diocese of Jayapura on Oct. 29, 2022.
A member of the indigenous Mee tribe in Papua, Bishop You, 61, succeeded retired Bishop Leo Laba Ladjar.
Born in 1961, Bishop You was ordained a priest in 1991. In 2002, he became the parish priest of the Cathedral Church in Jayapura and served as the vicar general of the diocese until 2007.
He studied for a master’s degree in psychology at state-university Gadjah Mada Yogyakarta from 2008-2010 and a doctorate in anthropology at Cenderawasih University Jayapura from 2015-2018.
Since September 2019, he has been the rector of the Fajar Timur Abepura School of Theological Philosophy. He is also a lecturer at the John the Apostle Catholic Pastoral High School, Waena.
Papua is a former Dutch colony that declared independence in 1961. Indonesia later annexed the territory.
The Diocese Jayapura has an area of 115,350 square kilometers and a population of 67,500 Catholics spread over 25 parishes.