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Mumbai, Jun 30: Bishop Bosco Penha, Auxiliary Bishop of Bombay, was elected Diocesan Administrator sede vacante on June 27.

The archdiocesan six-member College of Consultors, comprising three Auxiliary Bishops Bosco Penha, Agnelo Gracias and Percival Fernandez and three senior priests, in a meeting held on June 27 elected Bishop Penha through secret ballot.

Bishop Agnelo Gracias, Auxiliary Bishop of Bombay Archdiocese was not present at the meeting.

The See of Bombay fell vacant on May 20 when Pope Benedict XVI appointed Cardinal Ivan Dias, Archbishop of Bombay, as the 37th Prefect of the Congregation of Evangelisation of Peoples which has 1000 ecclesiastical missions spread over five continents and 2,400 bishops and seminaries and formation houses under its jurisdiction.

Cardinal Dias was the Apostolic Administrator of the archdiocese till he left Mumbai on the night of June 26 for Rome and took charge of his new office in the Vatican on June 27.

"Now the process of electing the new archbishop will be set in motion by the Nuncio Archbishop Quintana based in New Delhi", Auxiliary Bishop Fernandez, former secretary general of the Catholic Bishops' Conference of India, told SAR News over phone June 27.

Father Anthony Charanghat, official spokesperson of the Archdiocese of Bombay and editor of 157-year-old archdiocesan weekly "The Examiner" in a statement said Bishop Penha will administer the archdiocese, the largest in India, till the appointment of the new Archbishop of Bombay by Pope Benedict XVI.

Archbishop Oswald Gracias of Agra, President of Conference of Catholic Bishops of India, who hails from Bombay Archdiocese, Bishop Penha and Bishop Fernandez are among the likely contenders for the top post. Cardinal Dias will play a key role in the papal appointment.


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