The Catholic Church in Roraima promotes this Sunday (4) the episcopal ordination ceremony of the Father Raimundo Vanthuy Neto, appointed by Pope Francis to the role of Bishop of the Diocese of São Gabriel da Cachoeira, in the interior of Amazonas. The event is open to the public and takes place at Ginásio Totozão, in the center of Boa Vista.
The ceremony begins at 8:30 am and will be celebrated by Cardinal Leonardo Ulrich Steiner, archbishop of Manaus and president of the North Region1 of the National Conference of Bishops of Brazil (CNBB Norte1).
Father Raimundo Vanthuy Neto takes over as head of the Alto Rio Negro church on February 11th. His inauguration is scheduled to take place at 8 am at Ginásio Arnaldo Coimbra, in the city of São Gabriel da Cachoeira.
This is the first time that the Catholic church in Roraima promotes the episcopal ordination of a priest to make him a bishop in an Amazon region. Vanthuy Neto commented on the challenges to be faced when taking on a new Diocese.
“The first challenge is communication. São Gabriel is the most plural region in Brazil. There are 23 peoples, more than 18 languages. Second is the isolation, São Gabriel is still very isolated, (…) now that better quality internet is starting to arrive in São Gabriel through Starlink. And for me, the first sign in my life will be to remain silent, to listen because some of them I won’t understand because of the language. Secondly, love them as they are, because love also loves limits and defects”, he emphasized.
“The Church of Roraima made me a priest of the Amazon, with a main concern of caring for indigenous peoples, with the common home […]”, said the priest.
According to the bishop of the Diocese of Roraima, Dom Evaristo Pascoal Spengler, part of a bishop’s ordination rite is the delivery of insignia that are symbols or visible signs of the bishop’s mission, including the ring, abacus and miter.
“The bishop receives the ring on the ring finger of his right hand as a symbol of love and fidelity and union with the church, wife of Christ. He must always wear the ring inside and outside celebrations. Another sign is the miter, which is a symbol of the holiness that the bishop is called to live as a gift of love like Jesus was”, said the bishop of Roraima.
In November 2023, Pope Francis appointed Vanthuy Neto as the new bishop of the third largest Brazilian municipality in territorial extension, located on the border with Colombia and Venezuela. In Roraima, Vanthuy Neto is rector of the diocesan sanctuary Nossa Senhora Aparecida and the Propedeutic Seminary.
Father Raimundo Vanthuy Neto
Father Raimundo Vanthuy Neto is 50 years old. He was born on May 10, 1973, in Pau dos Ferros, in Rio Grande do Norte, diocese of Mossoró. In 1991 he entered the São José Seminary of the archdiocese of Manaus, where he studied Philosophy and Theology at the then Center for the Study of Human Behavior. He was ordained deacon on July 11, 1999 and priest on June 3, 2001.
Master in Theology, with a specialization in Missiology (1998/2000) from the then Pontifical Faculty of Theology Nossa Senhora da Assunção, in São Paulo. He did his diaconal internship at the Sagrada Família Parish – diocese of Santos (1998/2000). He was director and professor at the Institute of Theology, Pastoral and Higher Education of the Amazon (2014/17), now Faculdade Católica do Amazonas.
Collaborates with studies on Christianity and Indigenous Peoples in the Amazon. He has followed the ecclesiastical life of this region with his interregional meetings of bishops since 1997, when the 25th anniversary of the Santarém Document was celebrated. He participated as an auditor at the Synod for the Amazon 2019.