South Sudan retired Catholic Archbishop Paulino Lukudu Loro died on Monday morning at the Kenyan capital Nairobi, current archbishop Stephen Ameyu has confirmed.
The Archbishop Emeritus Lukudu suffered a short illness and died at the age of 81.
Archbishop Ameyu declared four days of mourning.
“I your shepherd by God’s will and design, bring to you the saddest news of my entire life time predecessor and father His Grace Archbishop Paulino Lukudu, a star that ceaselessly was shining over our church and nation for well over 30 years has this morning flickered out in the Kenyan capital city of Nairobi.
“This tragic and saddest of all news will affect not only the church but indeed the wider community of our South Sudan society,” reads Ameyu’s condolence message.
The Archbishop stressed said funeral announcements will be announced soon.
In March 2020, Ameyu was installed as the new Archbishop of Juba Archdiocese at St. Theresa Cathedral in Juba, replacing Lukudu.
On December 12, Pope Francis appointed Ameyu as the new Metropolitan Archbishop of the Archdioceses of Juba.
But the appointment of Bishop Ameyu to replace retired Archbishop Lukudu faced numerous challenges since 2019 when a group of clerics and laymen within the Archdiocese rejected his appointment.
In early March 2020, Archbishop Lukudu criticised the Papal appointment of Bishop Ameyu, saying his installation “will not work”, which echoed what clerics had written earlier. But Rome still installed Ameyu in late March.
Archbishop Lukudu was born on August 23, 1940 in Kwerijik village of Juba.
He joined the Congregation of the Comboni Missionaries and was ordained priest on April 12, 1970. He was appointed the Bishop of El Obeid on March 5, 1979, after five years of service as Apostolic Administrator of that Diocese in then Sudan.
He served as the President of Sudan Bishops' conference in 1989-1993 and in 1999-2006.
Lukudu was appointed archbishop of Juba on February 19, 1983 and served in this office up to 2020, when he retired and Archbishop Ameyu took over the post.