Pope Francis Accepts Resignation of Bishop in Seychelles, Appoints Successor

Bishop Alain Harel appointed by Pope Francis to succeed Bishop-emeritus Denis Wiehe as the Local Ordinary of the Diocese of Port Victoria in Seychelles.

Pope Francis has accepted the resignation of Bishop Denis Wiehe from the pastoral care of the Diocese of Port Victoria in Seychelles, the one-diocese Indian Ocean islands nation, off East Africa.

This was made public by the Holy See Press Office Thursday, September 10. Through the publication, the Holy Father also announced the appointment of Bishop Alain Harel who has been serving as the Vicar Apostolic of the Indian Ocean island of Rodrigues, a territory of Mauritius, as the successor of Bishop Wiehe.

Aged 80, Bishop Wiehe was ordained a Priest in August 1969.

A member of the Congregation of the Holy Spirit (Spiritans), the Bishop Emeritus was first appointed Coadjutor Bishop of the Diocese of Port Victoria in April 2001. He later succeeded Bishop Xavier-Marie Baronnet as the Local Ordinary of Port Victoria in August 2002.

Bishop Wiehe is being succeeded by 70-year-old Bishop Harel who, until his appointment, has been serving as the Vicar Apostolic of Rodrigues, which is part of his native country, Mauritius.  


A Clergy of Mauritius’ Diocese of Port Louis, Bishop Harel was ordained a Priest in September 1978. 

He studied Philosophy and Theology in Angers and Nantes. 

As a Priest, he served as vicar of the Basilica of Saint Helena in Curepipe, Mauritius, the Director of the Centre for Vocations and Future Seminarians and a Parish Priest. He was appointed Apostolic Vicar of Rodrigues in 2002. 

Upon receiving news of his appointment, Bishop Harel expressed his appreciation to the people of  Rodrigues who have been under his pastoral care for the last 20 years.

“The Church in Rodrigues has been my family and the school of my faith during these years. You allowed me to meet the risen Jesus who, just like with the pilgrims of Emmaus, is walking with us on the roads where the future of Rodrigues is played to help us build a more human world,” Bishop Harel said. 

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He appealed for prayers saying, “I ask you to pray for me in my new mission so that the Lord may give me the wisdom to understand my brothers in Seychelles and give me the enthusiasm to live the gospel with them.”

He added, “Seychelles and Rodrigues have the same cultures and a strong attachment to Jesus. I will do everything I can to strengthen this bond between our peoples through my mission in the Church.”

Bishop Harel will be shepherding the people of God in the one-diocese Island nation with a population of about 70,000 Catholics as per 2016 statistics.

Magdalene Kahiu is a Kenyan journalist with passion in Church communication. She holds a Degree in Social Communications from the Catholic University of Eastern Africa (CUEA). Currently, she works as a journalist for ACI Africa.