Vatican City (Fides Service) - The Holy Father, Pope John Paul II, on 4 January 2005, appointed Bishop of Tarahumara (Mexico), Rev. Rafael Sandoval Sandoval, M.N.M., parish priest at Monterrey and former Superior General of the Missionaries of the Nativity of Mary .
The Bishop elect was born at Guáscaro Michoacán, 10 April 1947. After attending the diocesan seminary at Zamora (Michoacán), he entered the Congregation of the Misioneros de la Natividad de María. He studied for the priesthood in Mexico and in Rome, at the Teresianum (Licentiate Spirituality) and in Bogota, Colombia, where he took a course in Pastoral Planning. He was ordained a priest on 2 July 1974. He has since been: parish priest at Chihuahua (1974-79); Vicar General of the Prelature of Nuevo Casas Grandes and parish priest (1980-86); Student in spiritual theology at the Teresianum in Rome (1987-88); spiritual director at the seminary of his Congregation (1988-93) and then Superior General (1993-99); since 1999 parish priest in the archdiocese of Monterrey.
The diocese of Tarahumara (1994) is suffragan of the archdiocese of Chihuahua. It has an area of 31,353 sq. km a population of 227,450 (40% indigenous peoples) including 216,070 Catholics gathered in 12 parishes assisted by 32 priests (15 diocesan, 17 religious), 12 Brothers, 125 women Religious, 13 major seminarians. (S.L.) (Agenzia Fides 10/1/2005; Righe 15; Parole 189)