Vatican City (Fides Service)
The Holy Father, Pope John Paul II has, (12 June 2003) created the diocese of Kimbe in Papua New Guinea, with territory taken from the Archdiocese of Rabaul, making it suffragan of the same metropolitan Church.
The Holy Father has (12 June 2003) appointed first Bishop of Kimbe, Papua New Guinea, Bishop Alphonse Chaupa, until now titular of Torre di Tamalleno and auxiliary of Rabaul.
The new diocese of Kimbe will include two civil districts of West New Britain province and remain a suffragan of Rabaul archdiocese.
Here are statistics of the mother diocese and the new diocese of Kimbe:
Rabaul Kimbe Rabaul today
area 40,500 sq. km. 15,500 sq. km 25,000 sq. km.
population 440,000 260,000 180,000
parishes 43 25 18
Catholics 235,000 125,000 110,000
priests (diocesan) 31 16 15
priests (religious) 40 31 9
Brothers 24 24 -
Sisters 134 115 12
major seminarians 32 113 84
catechists 197 113 84
The Bishop will reside in Kimbe and the Mary Help of Christians church will serve as the cathedral.
(Fides Service 4/7/2003 EM lines 38 Words: 478)