Pope Francis appoints Bishop Wokorach as new Archbishop of Gulu

Nebbi Diocese Bishop, Rev Fr Raphael Wokorach is New Gulu Archdiocese Archbishop. Photo/Courtesy

Gulu, (UG):– Pope Francis, the head of the Catholic Church worldwide has appointed Nebbi Diocese Bishop, Rt Rev Fr Raphael P’mony Wokorach as the new archbishop of Gulu Ecclesiastical Province.

The Apostolic Nuncio of Uganda Luigi Bianco announcing the appointment on Friday afternoon explained that Bishop Wokorach’s appointment as a replacement for Archbishop John Baptist Odama who sought retirement after clocking the mandatory 75-year age limit two years ago.

He however clarified that Bishop Wokorach will remain serving at his diocese until when he is enthroned archbishop and his replacement at Nebbi is found.

Bishop Wokorach who has been the lead prelate at Nebbi Catholic Diocese since his consecration in August 2021 described his appointment “as an ambush and a moment of change.”

He added; “As a missionary, I have had my heart open to go where God and my superiors have asked me to go. I wholeheartedly thank Pope Francis for his trust in me.”

Profile Background

Born in 1961 at Ragem in Arua, Raphael Wokorach had early childhood studies at Ragem Primary School, and later Sts. Peter and Paul Minor Seminar Pokea in Arua Diocese from 1975-1979 for post-primary education.

Between 1980-1982, he went to St. Joseph College Ombaci, Arua, where he obtained his Uganda Advanced Certificate of Education Certificate.

In 1983-1987, he joined the Comboni postulancy and studied Philosophy at Uganda Martyrs’ National Major Seminary in Alokolum, Gulu-Uganda, where he obtained a BA degree in Philosophy from the Pontifical Urbaniana University.

In 1988-1989, he did the novitiate of the Comboni Missionaries in Tartar, Kenya and in Kampala.

In 1989-1993, he studied Theology in Tangaza College, Nairobi-Kenya.

In 1994 Wokorach obtained a Master Degree in Philosophy at the Catholic University of Eastern Africa (CUEA), Nairobi, Kenya. His thesis title is: “The Good-for-man as a Principle of Moral Character in Aristotle’s Nicomachean Ethics.”

In 2000-2001, he pursued a course for Formators at the Salesian Pontifical University, Rome.

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He took his first religious profession on April 29, 1989 and the perpetual vows on October 12, 1992. He was ordained priest on September 25, 1993 at Wadelai Parish-Nebbi Diocese by Bishop Martin Luluga (Emeritus).

Ministry Service

In 1993-1994, he was a member of the Ugandan province while pursuing his Master’s program in Philosophy at CUEA.

In 1994-2001 he travelled to Kisangani in the neighbouring Democratic Republic of Congo and served as curate in a parish for a couple of years before he was later appointed as Formator in the Postulancy for candidates to the priesthood.

The widely travelled Bishop Wokorach, as demanded by the principles of Comboni Missionaries, was then transferred to work in Lome, Togo from 2001-2003 as Formator at the Brothers ’Postulancy. 

And from 2003-2007, he was transferred to Chicago, USA, as Formator in the Theologate. From 2007-2015 he was taken to serve in Nairobi, Kenya, as Formator in the Theologate and lecturer at Tangaza University College where he served as Chair of the Governing Council of the College.

At the same time, he served as Vice Provincial of the Kenyan Province from 2011-2013.

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From 2015-2018, he was appointed as Apostolic Visitator for the Institute of the Apostles of Jesus.

On June 21, 2018, the Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life appointed him Pontifical Commissary for the same Institute of the Apostles of Jesus.

Nearly in his entire priesthood, he worked as a Formator and a leader. He is gifted to speak different languages like his native Alur, English, French, and Italian among others.

Wokorach becomes the second bishop from Nebbi Catholic Diocese to be appointed archbishop, after Odama in 1999. The latter had also served in Nebbi for three years when he was appointed archbishop. 

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