Pope Francis Accepts Retirement of Catholic Bishop in Madagascar, Appoints Successor

Bishop Vincent Rakotozafy (right) and Mons. Luc Olivier Razafitsimialona (left). Credit: Tôlagnaro Diocese

Pope Francis has accepted the retirement of Bishop Vincent Rakotozafy from the pastoral care of Tôlagnaro Diocese in Madagascar, and has appointed Mons. Luc Olivier Razafitsimialona, and member of the Clergy of the Diocese of Ihosy in the Indian Ocean Island nation, as his successor.

The latest administrative changes in the world's fourth-largest island nation located in the Southwestern Indian Ocean were made public by the Holy See Press Office on Tuesday, December 5. 

Tôlagnaro Diocese has been under the pastoral care of 79-year-old Bishop Rakotozafy since his Episcopal Ordination in September 2001; he succeeded the late Bishop Jean-Pierre-Dominique Zévaco.

Born in October 1969 in the Diocese of Ambositra, Bishop-elect Razafitsimialona was ordained a Priest for the Catholic Diocese of Ihosy in August 1998 after completing his Priestly studies at the Major Seminary of Fianarantsoa.

Mons. Razafitsimialona started his Priestly formation at the Immaculate Conception Minor Seminary in Farafangana. He carried out his national service in Faratsiho in Madagascar’s Catholic Diocese of Antsirabé.


As a Priest, the Bishop-elect has served in various capacities, including Parish Vicar of the Cathedral of St. Vincent De Paul; Vice-Rector and Rector of St. John the Baptist Major Seminary, and Diocesan accompanier of Seminarians.

The holder of Licentiate in Theology at the Catholic Institute of Madagascar (I.C.M.) in Antananarivo Archdiocese also served as the President of the Diocesan Confraternity and member of the Diocesan Commission for Catechesis.

He served as the Vice-Director of the Diocesan Radio; member of the College of Consultors; a Vicar General, and a Diocesan Administrator of the Ihosy Catholic Diocese.

Outside the country, the Bishop-elect has served as the Hospital Chaplain in Freiburg in Germany and Assistant Parish Priest of Sainte-Thérèse, Friborg in Switzerland.

At the time of his appointment as the Bishop of Tôlagnaro Diocese, Mons. Razafitsimialona was serving as lecturer and bursar at St. John the Baptist Major Seminary, Vohitsoa, in the Catholic Diocese of Antsirabé.

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Once he is Consecrated Bishop, the Malagasy-born Priest will serve as the sixth Local Ordinary of the 45,000 square-kilometer Diocese that was erected in January 1896.

The Diocese has a population of 126,770 Catholics, representing 9 percent of the total population in the Diocese, according to 2020 statistics. The Diocese is part of the Ecclesiastical Province of Toliara.

Silas Mwale Isenjia is a Kenyan journalist with a great zeal and interest for Catholic Church related communication. He holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Linguistics, Media and Communication from Moi University in Kenya. Silas has vast experience in the Media production industry. He currently works as a Journalist for ACI Africa.