The Jolly, humorous and free nature of Bishop Mathew Remigio Adam will attract you to him effortlessly. It is even more humbling if you are told he is a Bishop. These qualities are so visible on first sight. As I had an opportunity to be close to the Bishop, I was taken aback and wished he could send me to make him a cup of coffee. Unfortunately, we were all visitors in Kotido to witness the consecration of the Bishop of Kotido. In the end, we managed to receive the episcopal blessing.
Bishop Remigio was ordained Bishop of Wau, South Sudan on January 24th 2021. The Diocese of Wau is made up of three states; the Western and Northern Bahr el-Ghazal and the administration area of Abei, consisting of 23 Parishes. The diocese of 23 Parishes has only 60 Priests but Bishop Remigo has mastered the art of working together with the Priests. The Bishop says, his biggest challenge is limited human resource.
“The diocese of Wau is very vast, to meet the needs of the faithfuls is a big challenge, priests are few and they are not able to cover the whole diocese,” commented the Bishop.
The diocese also has a challenge of reconstruction because many Parishes were affected by the civil war in South Sudan which caused a lot of destruction. Bishop Mathew added that 10 Parishes had been destroyed and reconstructing them is a big challenge.
Challenges have always been part of his mission experience. He noted that before he was appointed Bishop, he was working as Vicar General in Khartoum. His responsibility among other things was to see that the missionaries come to Sudan, which was so tasking but he had to be polite to the government so that the missionaries could be allowed in.
He remembers one time after South Sudan became independent. He was summoned by the Khartoum government to answer why he was still holding a big post in North Sudan and not return to South Sudan.
Bishop Remigo noted that the four years as the Vicar General were tough for him but it was a time that offered him the opportunity for immense learning. He is grateful to Archbishop Emeritus, Gabriel Cardinal Zubail Wako of Khartoum for always being there when he needed him.
When beginning his vocation, he did not expect to find all these Challenges. All he thought was that as a priest, he would celebrate Mass, visit the sick and help people.
His dream to become a priest was sealed the moment his father told the priest that he wanted his son to become a priest. He later picked interest and decided to join the altar servers. He however became one of them thinking that they were being trained to become priests.
When he was an altar server, he was told they were not training them to become priests but he got more information on how one would become a priest. That was the time he met Fr Mario Imperiale (R.I.P), a Comboni Missionary priest who later became his spiritual father and a role model. Fr Mario would take the legion of Mary, which he was a member of to visit the sick, something he enjoyed so much. One day, he decided he wanted to become a priest so that he can visit the sick fully. He already had information about the Comboni Missionaries.
In 1989, after he had completed his secondary school, he worked briefly in a milk company then later in 1994, he joined the Comboni missionary Postulancy in Khartoum. During his postulancy for his apostolate, he worked with the Shiluk in Malakal, a totally new language and culture for him. In 1997, he was sent to Namugongo Novitiate in Uganda, with his experience in Kasala Luwero and Kyamuhunga in Western Uganda.
In 1999, Bishop Remigio said his first vow at Our Lady of Africa, Mbuya. He was then sent to Peru to study theology on November 20th 2003, he was ordained Deacon and on Oct 03th 2004, ordained priest by Bishop of Wau, Bishop Emeritus, Rudolf Deng, his predecessor. He was then sent to Khartoum as Curate in the Parish of Masalama for four years. In 2008, he was sent to the Gregorian University to study Spiritual theology in the field of formation.
He then worked as a vocation promoter in 2010 and Spiritual Director at St Paul Major Seminary in 2011. In 2012, he was appointed the Vicar General in the diocese of Khartoum until 2017; all this while he had been working for the diocese of Khartoum. In 2017, he received his first assignment from the Superior General of his Congregation, the Comboni Missionaries to work as a formator in Nairobi, a place he worked in until November 18th 2020 when he was appointed Bishop of Wau Diocese by the Holy See.