Pope Francis Appoints New Apostolic Nuncio for Zambia/Malawi, Bishop for Malawian Diocese

Mons. Gian Luca Perici (right), appointed Apostolic Nuncio for the Southern African countries of Zambia and Malawi and Mons. Alfred Chaima (left), appointed as Local Ordinary of Zomba Diocese in Malawi. Credit: Courtesy Photo

Pope Francis has appointed Mons. Gian Luca Perici as the Apostolic Nuncio for the Southern African countries of Zambia and Malawi.

In the latest administrative changes made public by the Holy See Press Office on Monday, June 5, the Holy Father also appointed Mons. Alfred Chaima as the Local Ordinary of Zomba Diocese in Malawi.

Born in September 1964, Mons. Perici, who has been assigned the Titular See of Bolsena with the dignity of Archbishop was ordained a Priest for Italy’s Velletri-Segni Diocese in September 1991.

He joined the Holy See Diplomatic Service on 1 July 2001 and has served in the Apostolic Nunciatures of Mexico, Haiti, Malta, Angola, Brazil, Sweden, Spain, and Portugal.

Besides his native Italian language, the successor of Archbishop Gianfranco Gallone, who was transferred to the Apostolic Nunciature in Uruguay in February also speaks French, English, Portuguese, and Spanish.


Meanwhile, when Consecrated Bishop for Zomba, Mons. Chaima, who has been serving as the Secretary General of the Episcopal Conference of Malawi (ECM) will take canonical possession of the Malawian Catholic Diocese that became vacant in October 2021 when Archbishop George Desmond Tambala was transferred to Lilongwe.

The Diocese has been under the temporary leadership of Archbishop Tambala as Apostolic Administrator.

Mons. Chaima was ordained a Priest for the Archdiocese of Blantyre on 4 July 1998. He studied philosophy at St. Anthony’s Major Seminary in Kachebere and theology at St. Peter’s Major Seminary in Zomba. 

The Malawian Bishop-elect holds a Licentiate and Doctorate in Pastoral Theology from the Kenya-based Catholic University of Eastern Africa (CUEA).

As a Priest, Mons. Chaima has served in various capacities, including Pastoral Secretary in the Archdiocese of Blantyre, Secretary of the late Archbishop Tarcisius Gervazio Ziyaye, Director of the Nantwipili Pastoral Centre, and Operations Manager of the Blantyre Archdiocese-owned Nantwipili Filling Station.

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He is set to govern the 3,522 square kilometer Diocese with a population of 263,467 Catholics, according to 2020 statistics. The Diocese is part of the Ecclesiastical Province of Blantyre.

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.