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Pope Francis names new bishop of Oita in Japan

The Vatican announced that Pope Francis has appointed Father Sulpizio Shinzo Moriyama of Fukuoka as the new bishop of the Diocese of Oita.

Father Moriyama, who was born on January 17, 1959, in Fukuoka, is currently the secretary general of the Episcopal Conference of Japan.

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

Father Moriyama was president of the Diocesan Committee for Evangelization from 2015 to 2017 and was later tasked to head the formation of candidates in the Interdiocesan Seminary.

Oita is the capital city of the Prefecture of Oita on the island of Kyushu.

On March 28, 1928, the prefectures of Miyazaki and Oita were separated from the Fukuoka diocese and entrusted to Italian Salesian Fathers.

On Jan. 28, 1935, it became the prefecture apostolic of Miyazaki and Father Vincenzo Cimatti, S.D.B., was appointed the first ordinary.

In 1940 Monsignor Cimatti resigned, and Monsignor Ichitaro Ideguchi, prefect apostolic of Kagoshima, served concomitantly as administrator apostolic of Miyazaki.

From 1946 Bishop Sen’emon Fukahori of Fukuoka served concomitantly as administrator apostolic of Miyazaki.

On Dec. 22, 1961, the prefecture apostolic of Miyazaki was raised to the status of a diocese and became the diocese of Oita. Father Saburo Hirata was appointed the first bishop of Oita and was consecrated on March 26, 1962.

On Nov. 15, 1969, Bishop Hirata was appointed bishop of Fukuoka and Father Takaaki Hirayama was appointed to replace him in Oita. He was consecrated bishop on Jan. 25, 1970.

On June 12, 2000, Bishop Hirayama retired and Nagasaki diocesan priest Father Ryoji Miyahara was appointed as his successor. He was consecrated bishop on Oct. 1, 2000.

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