The new Bishop for Mutare Diocese, Rt. Rev. Paul Horan was on 27 August 2016 ordained amid pomp and funfair at Marymount Teachers’ College in Mutare. Scores of people from all walks of life including Bishop Horan’s relatives from Ireland and Carmelite Order members from around the globe thronged the college’s grounds to witness the elevation of Monsignor Horan to episcopate. Bishop Horan joins the college of Bishops in Zimbabwe. He takes over from Bishop Alexio Muchabaiwa who has been at the helm of Manicaland Diocese for 34 years. Catholics from the eight dioceses of Masvingo, Gweru, Hwange, Gokwe, Chinhoyi, Mutare and the two Archdioceses of Bulawayo and Harare turned up in droves in support of the new bishop. The ordaining Bishop Most Rev. Robert Christopher Ndlovu presented the new bishop to his flock through the papal bull that was read for the public to appreciate the appointment and his legitimate control of the diocese. People ululated and clapped as Bishop Horan publicly accepted the responsibility as the new shepherd.
Bishop Xavier Munyongani encouraged people of the diocese to closely work with their shepherd and to support him for the spiritual and infrastructural development of the local church. He urged people to be united for the benefit of the diocese and challenged them to shun all kinds of discrimination and divisions.
“You must grow in the understanding of your faith and appreciate that the Catholic Church is universal. Our understanding of faith and our appreciation of the church should go beyond the idea of colour or race. Your faith should be of substance and your actions compatible to your faith as was the wish of the first missionaries of this diocese,” said Bishop Munyongani.
The chairperson of the Diocesan priests for Mutare Diocese, Fr. Francis Mudungwe and the representative of the religious congregations in the diocese, Sr. Evelyn Kadzere both called on the religious and priests to rally behind Bishop Horan to create an enabling environment for development. The two thanked Bishop Muchabaiwa for the role he played as the shepherd of Mutare. The two’s message was that of unity, collaboration and development.
“The power of the wolf if in the pack and the ability for Bishop Horan to lead us is in us and our willingness to cooperate with him. His coming means change in a lot of things and it means we need to change our perception and way of doing things. If it means changing ourselves for the betterment of the diocese we have to do it,” Fr. Mudungwe said.
Bishop Horan promised to be a servant for the Catholic community in Mutare Diocese trusting that Christ will lead his steps. He asked fellow bishops and the Papal Nuncio to guide him especially during the first days of his ministry. To the Catholic faithful he asked for prayers and cooperation that brings about a brighter future for the diocese. He said the support and moral shown by the people of Mutare since his appointment up to his ordination should be the spirit prevailing in the entire diocese.