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Pope names new bishop of Oita in Japan

St. Francis Xavier’s Church, the Cathedral of the Diocese of Oita, Japan

Pope Francis appointed Sulpizio Shinzo Moriyama, a priest of Fukuoka, as Bishop of the Diocese of Oita (Japan), on April 5. 

Currently, Father Moriyama is the secretary general of the Episcopal Conference of Japan, reports Fides news agency.

“We thank God for giving us a new bishop. Please pray for the elected bishop,” said a press statement from the Oita diocese.

Ōita is the capital city of Ōita Prefecture, located on the island of Kyushu, Japan.

The schedule and details of the bishop-elect's ordination will be known as soon as it is decided, the Oita diocese said. 

Moriyama was born on January 17, 1959, in Fukuoka. He received his Baccalaureate in Philosophy at the Keio University of Tokyo in 1984 and in Theology at the St. Sulpizio Seminary in Fukuoka in 1988.

He graduated with a Bachelor's degree in Philosophy from the Keio University of Tokyo in 1984 and finished his theology degree at St. Sulpizio Seminary in 1988. 

He was ordained as a priest and was incardinated in the Diocese of Fukuoka on March 21, 1988. 

From 1988 to 1991, he served as Vicar of Daimyo Cho, as well as Vicar of Kokura from 1991 to 1993. 

As the director of the Fukuoka Minor Seminary from 1993 to 1995, he guided many minor seminarians. 

He was a pastor in a parish called Tobata from 2001 to 2007. 

Between 2007 and 2013, he served as a parish priest in Nishijin, and from 2014 to 2017, he was a parish priest at Kurkume. 

He headed the Diocesan Committee for Evangelization from 2015 to 2017. 

In the Inter-Diocesan Seminary, he was in charge and responsible for forming candidates from 2017 to 2020. 

The Episcopal Conference of Japan appointed him as its undersecretary and then as its secretary general in 2020.

Since December 28, 2020, the Diocese of Ōita was vacant see (without a bishop). The former head of the diocese was Bishop Peter Takaaki Hirayama, who died on December 28, 2020.

The diocese was elevated on December 22, 1961.

The diocesan territory covers an area of 11,446 square kilometers (4419.3253 square miles) and includes the prefectures of Oita and Miyazaki.

In 2019, Catholics of the diocese were 5974, out of 2,221,236 people.


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