On March 29, 2023, the Diocese of Jataí woke up to the news that its Bishop, Dom Nélio Domingos Zortea, had been appointed by Pope Francis, for the vacant diocese of Cruz Alta/RS. The diocese of Cruz Alta has been vacant since September 22, 2021, when Dom Adelar Baruffi was appointed Archbishop of Cascavel / PR.
Now it is the turn of the diocese of Jataí to be vacant, after having Bishop Dom Nélio for seven years at the head of the pastoral government of the diocese. He exercised his shepherding, as a just, merciful, compassionate shepherd committed to the truth. A pastor who went to meet the priests, always showing great concern for each one of them and each parishioner. A zealous bishop, both for people and for the material goods of the diocese. He was also taken by surprise with his transfer to the diocese of Cruz Alta, because he had many improvement projects for the diocese of Jataí, in pastoral terms, but also for reforms and the creation of new parishes. He planned to form a team to establish a Court for the causes of Declaration of Matrimonial Nullity; began the formation of a pastoral secretariat; he was the first bishop in the diocese who appointed a laywoman as chancellor. Dom Nélio always valued the presence and performance of women in general, religious women and, in particular, the Sisters of Jesus Bom Pastor – Pastorinhas, in the diocese.
During all these seven years of shepherding, he was always concerned with qualifying the performance of the sisters who passed through here, as a good shepherd he cared with zeal and sought to favor the strengthening of our spirituality, always when he was at the headquarters of the diocese he celebrated the Eucharist with the Sisters . During this period that I am here, I lived very rewarding and edifying experiences, in the community coexistence between the Sisters and with Dom Nélio, we had many moments of fraternization, formative moments, of participation in various Eucharistic celebrations, with the administration of the sacrament of confirmation to thousands of young people who, during this period, were confirmed in the parishes. It was an opportunity to get to know all the parishes that make up the diocese.
On May 14, at the Divino Espírito Santo/Jataí cathedral, a thanksgiving mass was celebrated, when, at the end of the celebration, the pastoralists had the opportunity to express their recognition and gratitude for all that Dom Nélio accomplished in his shepherding , in this diocese. The priests present also expressed gratitude for all the zeal that the bishop had for them and their parishioners. On May 16, in the last Eucharistic celebration presided over by Dom Nélio in the chapel of the episcopal house, in which Sister Selma Aparecida de Souza and I participated, he exhorted us to remain with faith, joy and courage in the mission of shepherdesses and always united to entire Congregation. Once again he expressed his pastoral zeal and demonstrated his love for Religious life. Moment in which we also had the opportunity to express once again our gratitude, for being able to collaborate with his pastoral zeal and our fraternal coexistence.
On May 21, at 4 pm, Dom Nélio will be sworn in as the 5th bishop of the Diocese of Cruz Alta. And we, in the diocese of Jataí, on Thursday, May 25th, will have the appointment of the diocesan administrator, who will take over the pastoral care during this vacant period, until we are awarded the new bishop, who will be appointed by Pope Francis. Let us unite in prayer, so that God sends to the diocese of Jataí the bishop that the People need, to remain and grow ever more in faith, in commitment to the Gospel, cultivating the sentiment and attitudes that make “the hearts of the people burn” to experience Pope Francis’ call to be an outgoing Church.
Sr. Lusineide Cardoso de Melo, sjbp