Bogota (Agenzia Fides) - "The most important thing is the Gospel, and unity with the clergy, religious women, seminarians and the laity. We want to make the Church of Istmina-Tadó a welcoming community that feels and lives the mission": these are the intentions expressed by Don Mario de Jesus Álvarez Gomez, National Director of the Pontifical Mission Societies in Colombia, appointed by Pope Francis Bishop of Istmina-Tadó. "I welcome this call and I confide in everyone's prayers", said Don Mario during the recent plenary assembly of the episcopate. The new Bishop was born in Palmitas, province of Medellin, diocese of Santa Rosa de Osos, October 19, 1959, and has been a priest since 1985. As Fides learns, during the Bishops’ assembly he was able to confront himself with his predecessor, transferred to the diocese of Garagoa, and with the current apostolic administrator, the Archbishop of Santa Fe de Antioquía.
The challenges and hopes are those of "an extended diocese, with a good number of priests and religious communities, a seminar and a population with a great spirit of faith", explained Don Mario. The new Bishop aims above all to "fill the need for God in people and then work for human promotion, according to the Gospel".
In particular, he indicates the presence of many communities "who do not even have the basic elements to live with a certain dignity".
The family of the Pontifical Mission Societies in Colombia has accepted the news of his appointment with "joy and great euphoria", said Alvarez. The celebration of the episcopal ordination will take place on 2 March in the Cathedral of Istmina. Istmina-Tadó diocese has an area of 22 240 Km2, inhabited by 225,200 people, of whom 210,200 are Catholics. It has 80 priests and 3 permanent deacons, and is divided into 63 parishes. (SM) (Agenzia Fides, 15/02/2018)