Eunice Sibanda : Post Correspondent
THOUSANDS of Roman Catholic Church members from across the country and abroad are expected to converge at Marymount Teachers’ College tomorrow (Saturday) for ordination and installation of a new bishop for the Mutare Diocese.Supreme Pontiff, Pope Francis, appointed Rev Fr Paul Horan, a Carmelite Friar, as the new bishop of Mutare Diocese.
The appointment was announced on May 28.
His Holiness, Pope Francis also accepted the resignation upon reaching the age limit of the outgoing bishop, Rt. Rev. Alexio Churu Muchabaiwa, who has been the shepherd of the diocese for the past 34 years.
Canon 401 of the Catholic Code of Canon Law states that diocesan bishops must submit their resignation to the Pope on reaching the age of 75 years.
Fr Paul becomes the second Carmelite and third bishop since Mutare became a diocese.
The late Rt Rev Donal Lamont, O.Carm was the first bishop of Mutare Diocese.
Mutare Diocese is also the only one in Zimbabwe with an auxiliary bishop, Rt Rev Patrick Mumbure Mutume.
Fr Paul was born on October 17, 1962 in Co. Tipperary, Ireland.
After his primary and secondary education, he qualified as a Certified Accountant and worked in Ireland and London.
Fr Paul joined the Carmelite Order at the novitiate in Kinsal, Ireland in 1989 and made his first profession on September 1, 1990. After completing his Baccalaureate in Philosophy and Bachelor of Divinity degrees at Milltown Institute, Dublin in Ireland, he was ordained a priest on June 7, 1997.
Fr Paul was appointed to Terenure College, Dublin, where he taught both at primary and secondary level. He was also chaplain to the students.
He went for further studies and completed a Masters of Arts Degree in Theology (specialising in Carmelite Studies) in May 2001 at the Washington Theological Union in the USA.
In September 2001, Fr Paul was appointed to work in Zimbabwe where he has held various roles including director of Pre-Novices, director of Novices, school manager at Kriste Mambo Girls’ High in Rusape and assistant pastor at St Killian’s Mission, Makoni.
At the time of his appointment, he was the Prior of the new Carmelite Community of the Prophet Elijah Priory, Nyazura.
Fr Paul, in a recent interview with The Manica Post, said he was shocked with the appointment: “I was not expecting to be the one who was going to be chosen to fill the shoes of Bishop Muchabaiwa.
‘‘I was thoroughly shocked and stunned when I heard from the Papal Nuncio, the Ambassador of the Vatican State to Zimbabwe that I had been appointed the new bishop.
“I wish to pay credit to Bishop Muchabaiwa for the tremendous work he did in the diocese. I assume responsibility in the comfort that I will be able to count on his assistance, experience and wisdom.
“It is my wish to keep growing the infrastructure which is already on the ground and even build more. This we can only achieve if we employ team effort with all priests, sisters, brothers, lay men and women and all our stakeholders,” he said.
Fr Paul said his wish was to see all baptised Christians in Manicaland growing the kingdom of God.
‘‘I ask all the people of Manicaland for their prayers and support that I may be a worthy servant of the people entrusted to my care.
‘‘Trusting in God’s help, I look forward to working with the many committed people of the diocese, priests, religious, lay men and women.
The outgoing Bishop of Mutare Diocese, Rt Rev Muchabaiwa, was happy with Fr Paul Horan’s appointment and said: “I am praying that the inauguration goes on well and kindly ask the whole diocese to co-operate with the new bishop because he cannot do this work alone.
Fr Horan is what the Lord has selected for us. I ask for love and unity in the diocese,” said Bishop Muchabaiwa, who always ask people to pray for unity in the country.