Cardinal Toppo and (right) Pope Francis
Ranchi, Oct. 16: Cardinal Telesphore P. Toppo will have a request for Pope Francis when he meets him in Rome tomorrow.
The cardinal will plead before the Pope to post an auxiliary bishop in Ranchi for assisting the former in day-to-day activities of the Church in Jharkhand.
Toppo, who left for New Delhi today afternoon en route to Munich, Germany, will stop at the Vatican for a day.
On October 18, he will leave for Munich, where he will spend the next week attending various religious functions being organised by Missio Munich. He is slated to return to Ranchi on October 27.
“At the Vatican, I will put up at the Casa Santa Marta, a guesthouse on the outskirts of Vatican City, where Pope Francis has been staying ever since he was elected to the high Papal office early this year. I shall meet the Pope and officials of the Propaganda Fide of the Holy See to plead that I be given an auxiliary bishop to assist me in the day-to-day administration of the Church in Jharkhand,” Toppo told The Telegraph on his way to Birsa Munda airport this afternoon.
After his elevation as the Bishop of Rome and head of the Roman Catholic Church, Pope Francis shunned the Apostolic Palace, the official residence of the Pope.
He preferred to stay on at the Casa Sanya Marta guesthouse at the Vatican, where other bishops and cardinals from across the world put up during their visits to the Vatican.
“Since I will be staying at the same place where the Pope is also residing, it is only natural that I will run into him. Even if that does not happen, I will meet the Pope to pray that I be given an assistant. My last assistant, Vinay Kandulna, was consecrated the Bishop of Khunti in January this year following the demise of the previous incumbent, Stephen Tiru,” Toppo said.
According to the cardinal, Tiru expired in March 2012, after which Ranchi auxiliary bishop Binay Kandulna was made the administrator to run the affairs of the Khunti diocese.
Though Kandulna stayed back in Ranchi, he got busy with his official commitments for the Khunti diocese that left him with no time to assist Toppo.
In January this year, the Vatican officially nominated Kandulna as Khunti Bishop after which he was forced to leave Ranchi permanently.
“Though Kandulna officially moved to Khunti in January this year, I have been left to fend for myself since March last year. With age fast catching up on me — I am already 74 — I am finding it increasingly difficult to run the Church in Jharkhand, lead all religious functions et al. As cardinal and archbishop of Ranchi, I am also required to travel extensively throughout the state, to various parts of the country and even abroad,” Toppo said.
Given the cardinal’s busy schedule, such a request seems only justified.
Toppo has been appointed by the Pope as a member of the Commission of Cardinals that supervises the functioning of the Vatican Bank, officially known as the Institute for Works of Religion.
“I am also on the committee that oversees drafting and approving budgets of the Holy See. As a nominee of these two important committees, I am required to visit the Vatican and other countries across the globe a number of times every year. All these engagements leave me little time for the Church,” Toppo said.