THE archdiocese of Port Moresby is currently mourning the passing of Archbishop Cherubim Dambui, 62, who passed away in Manila yesterday morning.
East Sepik is also mourning the death of Dambui, who was the first Sepik to be ordained a Catholic priest and then appointed first premier of the province at the inception of the provincial government system in 1976.
He died of kidney failure in the Philippines where he was undergoing treatment.
An email from Catholic Bishops Conference office in Port Moresby yesterday said Dambui’s condition had worsened in the past few days and on Monday he suffered kidney failure and was not able to recover from that.
“Fr Rodrigo (Campilan) is in Manila and will make arrangements for the return of Bishop Cherubim’s body.”
Dambui was born at Timbunke, East Sepik, on Feb 23, 1948, the eldest of six brothers and four sisters.
He attended St Johns minor seminary and Holy Spirit Seminary Bomana and was ordained as
the priest of Wewak on Dec 5, 1974.
One year after Independence, in 1976, Prime Minister Sir Michael Somare appointed him interim premier of East Sepik and in 1979 became a fully fledged premier (now governor) holding this position until 1983.
After a two-year sabbatical, Dambui held a number of positions, including teacher, pastor and seminary rector, before returning to the diocese of Wewak as vicar general in 1995.
On Nov 10, 2000, he was appointed auxilliary bishop of Port Moresby and received his episcopal ordination on Feb 10, 2001.
The Catholic church said during the past eight years, Dambui served the church and people of Port Moresby with great dedication and zeal.
Archbishop John Ribat has expressed his admiration for the work Dambui had done, especially for his assistance to him as his auxilliary bishop.
Ribat said he knew Dambui would be sadly missed by his family, his brother priests and people of Port Moresby and the East Sepik.
“At this time the prayers of the whole church of Port Moresby are with the family of Dambui that they may experience God’s consoling comfort at this time,” he said.