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New Bishops for Dioceses in Botswana, Zimbabwe Appointed, Bishop in Botswana Elevated

Archbishop-elect Franklyn Atese Nubuasah (left), Msgr. Anthony Pascal Rebello (right) and Msgr. Raphael Macebo Mabuza Ncube (center)/ Credit: Courtesy Photo

Pope Francis has appointed Local Ordinaries for the Dioceses of Hwange in Zimbabwe and Francistown in Botswana.

In the Monday, July 5 appointments that were made public by the Holy See Press Office, the Bishop of Botswana’s Gaborone Diocese was elevated to “Archbishop ad personam”, a rank, which the Holy Father confers on some Bishops who are not Local Ordinaries of Archdioceses.

Thus, the title of Archbishop is conferred on Bishop Franklyn Atese Nubuasah of Gaborone Diocese individually rather than on the Diocese he continues to govern.

The Holy Father has appointed Msgr. Anthony Pascal Rebello the new Bishop for Francistown in Botswana, an Episcopal See that has been vacant since June 2019, when Bishop Nubuasah was transferred to the Diocese of Gaborone. 

Until his appointment, Bishop-elect Rebello, 71, has been serving as the Parish Priest of Holy Cross Mogoditshane Parish of Gaborone Diocese.

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The Kenyan-born member of the Society of the Divine Word (SVD) was ordained a Priest in May 1977.

An alumnus of the Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome, Msgr. Rebello previously served as the Provincial Superior of the SVDs in Kenya and Parish Vicar in Angola.

He is expected to serve as the second Local Ordinary of the Motswana Diocese with a population of 26,500 Catholics, according to 2020 statistics

In the July 5 appointments, Pope Francis has also appointed Msgr. Raphael Macebo Mabuza Ncube as the new Bishop of Zimbabwe’s Diocese of Hwange.

The Zimbabwean Diocese has been under the leadership of 79-year-old Bishop José Alberto Serrano Antón whose retirement the Holy Father has accepted.

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Born in 1973, Msgr. Ncube was ordained a Priest for the Archdiocese of Bulawayo in February 2001. 

The Zimbabwean Cleric who is expected to become the sixth Bishop of Hwange Diocese has previously served as Rector of St. Bernard's Minor Seminary in the Archdiocese of Bulawayo, Parish Priest and Parish Vicar, among other responsibilities.

The Bishop-elect has been serving as the Spiritual Director of the National Seminary of Saints John Fisher and Thomas More of Chishawasha in Zimbabwe.

Meanwhile, Bishop Nubuasah who has been elevated to Archbishop ad personam is a Ghanaian-born member of SVD.

The Bishop who will turn 72 this Wednesday, July 7 has been at the helm of Gaborone Diocese since August 2019. He was ordained Bishop in November 1998.

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Following the July 5 appointments and elevation, the leadership of the Inter-Regional Meeting of the Bishops of Southern Africa (IMBISA) has congratulated the newly appointed Bishops “as well as extending a promise of prayers for the new Bishops and the people entrusted to their spiritual care.”

The leadership of the nine-member nation regional conference that includes Catholic Bishops in Zimbabwe and Botswana has also applauded Bishop Nubuasah saying his elevation “is a recognition of his hard work and commitment to the church in Botswana.”