Catholic Bishop in Zimbabwe Eulogized as Herald of “spiritual, social, economic growth”

Late Bishop Angelo Floro Martinez. Credit: Catholic Church News Zimbabwe

The late Bishop Angelo Floro Martinez who died at the age of 83 on March 14 in Gweru city, Central Zimbabwe, has been eulogized as a herald of people’s growth and progress “in the once most rural Diocese” of Gokwe.

The Spanish-born Catholic Bishop who had been at the helm of Zimbabwe's Gokwe Diocese from the time of his Episcopal Consecration in February 2000 till his retirement in January 2017 died hours after he was rushed to hospital after he developed breathing challenges, the Apostolic Administrator of Gokwe Diocese has said.  

“Bishop Floro has not been well for some time. He has been suffering from a heart problem. We realized that he was having breathing challenges in the early hours of Tuesday, 14 March 2023 and doctors were called in to assist and they transferred him to Gweru for further medical examinations. It is in Gweru that he died at 17:50hrs,” Bishop Rudolf Nyandoro has been quoted as saying

Bishop Nyandoro adds, “We are really saddened by the loss.”

Born in February 1940 in Spain, the late Bishop was ordained a Priest for the Instituto Espanol de San Francisco Javier para Misiones Extranjeras (IEME) in June 1965.


In a Wednesday, March 15 report in the “Catholic Church News Zimbabwe”, Bishop Floro "soldiered to develop different faculties of the Diocese of Gokwe from human capital, social and infrastructural development."

"He expanded mission centers in the Diocese, opening opportunities for spiritual, social and economic growth for people in the once most rural Diocese," Br. Alfonce Kugwa says in the report, adding that the late Bishop was behind the development of the Diocesan Shrine and Minor Seminary.

Br. Kugwa says that the Bishop who previously served as the President of the Zimbabwe Catholic pooBishops’ Conference "developed amicable relationships with government and religious leaders that saw him acquire many formerly council and government schools which he transformed into mission schools."

"Bishop Floro’s leadership inspired many Christians in Gokwe who turned to the Catholic faith because of his humble and simple lifestyle," he says.  

Br. Kugwa further says that the late Bishop "advanced the common good through his option for the poor, provision of education for the underprivileged and inclusive evangelization through projects that benefits almost all communities in Gokwe."

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The leadership of the Congregation of Missionary Sons of the Immaculate Heart of the Blessed Virgin Mary (Claretians) in Zimbabwe has also paid tribute to the deceased Bishop.

"If you have ever met Sekuru Angel Floro, you can be sure that you have met one of those called by Pope Francis 'saints of the next door'," Claretians in Zimbabwe say, and add that Bishop Floro "was a man of God, a good Shepherd, a great missionary, an example for his brothers and sisters."

As Claretians, they continue, “we had a special relationship with him. He was the Bishop who received us in Gokwe in 2002, when we arrived to Gwave Mission in our journey toward the establishment of a new mission in Zhomba, St. Claret Mission."

“Sekuru Floro, thank you for your vibrant testimony and continuous donated life! Pray for us and ask God to grant us the same pastoral zeal you had! Our Shepherd and brother, rest in peace!" they implore.

In another tribute published by “Catholic Church News Zimbabwe” on March 15, Moses T. Mazena eulogizes the late Bishop as “a great man of God in the apostolic priesthood; who lived a life of love and selfless service; always putting on that precious smile, and great love for the people of God.”


“You fully exercised your pastoral care for Gokwe Diocese, with wisdom, prudence and experience,” Moses says, adding that to the people of God under his pastoral care, Bishop Floro was “a man of truth, a soft spoken shepherd, swift to love and care for all, always ready to extent God’s love to the unloved, driving away from their hearts hopelessness and despair.”

Moses continues, “Today, the Church in Zimbabwe celebrates your life. As you journey home, to see the master of the vineyard, Jesus Christ, whom you followed to the very end, through serving the people of God, with a strong conviction of heart and mind.”

“Thank you, your Lordship, for the great pastoral care to the Church in Gokwe and in Zimbabwe. Now you’re in a better place, heavenly home. REST IN PEACE SEKURU,” Moses concludes his tribute to Bishop Floro published March 15.

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.