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Maltese bishop in Brazil to lead larger diocese

A Maltese bishop who has been leading the diocese of a state in Brazil for the past seven years has been chosen by Pope Benedict XVI to be the Bishop of Jundiaí, a larger diocese in the central eastern state of Sao Paulo.

Don Vicente Costa was born in Birkirkara on January 1, 1947 and was ordained in December 1972 after studying at a seminary in Brazil.

Speaking to The Times yesterday, Mgr Costa expressed his satisfaction at having been chosen to continue his "apostolic mission received from Jesus Christ by the will of God" elsewhere in Brazil.

"When I received the announcement to leave the diocese of Umuarama to continue my apostolic mission in the diocese of Jundiaí, I was surprised and at the same time, perplexed. I am sad to have to leave Rio de Janeiro, the state where I have lived since 1969. But I am happy to be given a new mission elsewhere," he said.

Bishop Costa said he would be facing new challenges in moving to the new diocese and would pay special attention to families, adolescents and young people and those suffering from exclusion and discrimination.

The diocese of Jundiaí, with an area of more than 2,200 square kilometres, has a population of over one million inhabitants, almost all Catholic, and is made up of 11 municipalities. The diocese, which is also more urban than Umuarama, consists of 59 parishes.

Mgr Costa spent 25 years working as a priest in the archdiocese of Maringá before being appointed Auxiliary Bishop of Londrina in the state of Parana. On December 13, 2002 he was consecrated Bishop of Umuarama. He will be officially installed as Bishop of Jundiaí on March 7.

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