Catholic Diocese of Mendi

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"To a fellow missionary disciple" - a letter from Bishop Don

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Youth News

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Pastoral Letters

Read the Pastoral Letters and other writings of Bishop Donald

CBC Publications

Recent documents from the Catholic Bishops Conference

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Bishop Donald (5)

Items relating to Bishop Donald

Bishop Donald Francis Lippert, OFM Cap., is the third bishop of the Diocese of Mendi.  He was nominated to the episcopalBishop Donald Lippert ministry by Pope Benedict on 22 November 2011.  At the time, Most Rev. Francisco Padilla was the Apostolic Nuncio to Papua New Guinea and Solomon Islands. Bishop Don was ordained on 4 February 2012.  His Eminence Sean Cardinal O'Malley, OFM Cap., was the prinicpal consecrator.  The co-consecrators were Most Rev. Stephen Reichert, OFM Cap., Archbishop of Madang (and immediate predecessor of Bishop Don in Mendi) and the Most Rev. Bill Fey, OFM Cap., Bishop of Kimbe.

Bishop Don was born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA on 12 June 1957 to Donald and Elaine (Unites) Lippert.  He has two younger brothers, Dennis and Douglas - both of the Pittsburgh area.  He attended St Catherine of Siena Grade School in Beechview, staffed by the Sisters of Saint Joseph of Baden, PA.  He graduated from South Hills Catholic High School (staffed by the Christian Brothers) in 1975.

After a year at the University of Pittsburgh and two years at Duquesne University of the same city, Bishop Don entered Saint Fidelis Seminary, staffed by the Capuchins.  He graduated in 1979.  After a year in the Capuchin Novitiate, then in Annapolis, MD, he professed temporary vows as a Capuchin in 1980.

During his years of theological study at the Washington Theological Union he became involved in Latino ministry, influenced and inspired by the saintly example of now Cardinal Sean O'Malley, OFM Cap., who was then, the Director of the Spanish Catholic Center.  Bishop Don would maintain contact Latino ministry for many years - even returned to the Spanish Catholic Center to serve as its director for two years.

Bishop Don served as a deacon at Parroquia San Miguel, Utuado, Puerto Rico. He was ordained a priest by then Bishop Sean O'Malley on June 8, 1985.  After serving a year as assistant Vocation Director, he served for three years as parroquial vicar of Our Lady of Peace Parish in Conway, PA.  After this he served for five years as parroquiala vicar with responsibiity for the Latino community at the Shrine of the Sacred Heart in Washington, DC.

He was then sent to the Catholic University of Louvain in Belgium to do further studies in philosophy, after which he returned to teach philiosophy and serve as formation director for the college formation program at Borromeo Seminary in Cleveland, OH - a position he held for seven years.

After a two year assignment back in Washington mentioned above, Bishop Don was chosen as the Vicar Provincial of the Capuchin Province of Saint Augustine.  He had previously served for six years as one of the provincial definitors (councillors).

After being sent to visit Papua New Guinea to represent the province at an anniversary celebration, Bishop Don was touched by the needs of the Capuchin Vice-Province there and inspired by the incredible ministry of the Capuchin missionaries who had served there.  Some of the original Capuchin missionaries, were growing older, and some of the younger local friars were not yet prepared to take the reins.  After a period of discernment, Bishop Don volunteered to go to PNG to "help out for a few years".  

After a few months of orientation, Bishop Don was assigned as guardian and formation director at Capuchin Friars College and lecturer in philosophy at the Catholic Theological Institute in Bomana, near the captial city of Port Moresby.  At the next Chapter of the Capuchins, he was elected to serve on the Vice-Provincial Council.

After almost five years serving in Bomana, Bishop Don was appointed to serve as the third Bishop of Mendi on 22 November 2011.  (The previous bishop, Stephen Reichert, OFM Cap., had been appointed Archbishop of Madang the previous year.) Bishop Don was ordained on 4 February 2012 in Mendi in a joyful and colourful celebration of faith and culture with thousands of people from all over the diocese participating.

Coats of Arms are designed for all bishops.  By custom the left side of the Coat of Arms is the Coat of Arms of the Diocese, and the right side represents the bishop.

Click here to see a description of the Coat of Arms of the Diocese of Mendi.

The Coat of Arms of Bishop Donald has several meaningful symbols:

  • The Coat of Arms is surrounded by a traditional hat called a gallero.  For bishops, the gallero is presented in green and with twelve tassles.
  • A golden processional cross is behind the Coat of Arms.  The cross leads the believer to life.
  • The top shows the crossed arms of Jesus and Saint Francis, a typical Franciscan Symbol.  Bishop Donald is a Capuchin-Franciscan and strives to live the joy of the gospel of Jesus Christ, inspired by the life of Saint Francis of Assisi.
  • Dividing the rest of the Coat of Arms is a cross.  The Cross and Resurrection of Jesus Christ are the centre of the history of salvation.
  • The two checkerboard patterns come from the Coats of Arms of the City of Pittsburgh and the Diocese of Pittsburgh, where Bishop Donald was born and raised.
  • In upper right quadrant is a fleur-de-lis, a traditional symbol of the Virgin Mary.  Bishop Donald has a deep devotion to the Virgin Mary under various avocations: Our Lady of Fatima, Our Lady of Guadalupe, Mother of the Divine Shepherd...
  • In the lower left quadrant is the sword of Saint Michael the Archangel, Patron Saint of Papua New Guinea.  (Bishop Donald's Confirmation name is Michael.)  The intercession of Saint Michael is invoked as a protection from evil.

The Episcopal Motto of Bishop Donald is (in pidgin): Stap Wanbel Wantaim Sios.  In Latin it is rendered as "Sentire cum Ecclesia"; in Spanish, "Sentir con la Iglesia"; in English, "Be of one mind and one heart with the Church".  It is the same episcopal motto as the late Archbishop of San Salvador, Blessed Oscar Arnulfo Romero, martyred by enemies of the faith and truth on 24 March 1980.  The motto appears in various Christian sources, including the writings of Saint Ignatius Loyola.  It has two significant levels of meaning:  The first is that the people of God are called to respect and follow the sound teachings and example of their shepherds; and the second, shepherds are to be close to their people, sharing their joys and sorrows, their hopes and aspirations.  In this way, the shepherds will follow the example of Jesus, the Chief Shepherd and guardian of our souls.  The original Coat of Arms was produced by Deacon Paul Sullivan.

Wednesday, 01 July 2015 05:05

Pastoral Letter - Sanguma is a Sin

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This Letter was published in 2012.  The letter addresses the persistent belief in sorcery and witchcraft, also called by 'sanguma' and other local names.  (The text has been slightly edited.)

Wednesday, 01 July 2015 05:12

Pastoral Letter - Self-Reliance

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The Pastoral Letter on Self-Reliance was published in 2013.

In this letter Bishop Don outlines the importance of moving toward the goal of self-reliance in the areas of finance and personnel.  Dependence on foreign countries and foreign missionaries was necessary in the early years of the mission, but now is the time to take a step forward and begin to "stand on our own feet."

Wednesday, 01 July 2015 05:14

Pastoral Letters

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Bishop Donald's Coat of Arms - 150The following is a presentation of the the Pastoral Letters, Circular Letters and other important communications of Bishop Donald.

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