The newly appointed Apostolic Nuncio to Zimbabwe, His Excellence Archbishop Marek Zalewski, has now arrived in Harare to assume his duties. He arrived last Thursday to a warm welcome at the airport by members of the local Church, and officers from the ministry of Foreign affairs.
The newly appointed Nuncio takes over from Archbishop George Kocherry who moved to Bangladesh towards the end of last year.
Archbishop Marek Zalewski was met at the airport by the Secretary to the Nuncio, Fr John the Baptist, as well as archbishops Robert Ndlovu (Harare), and Alex Thomas (Bulawayo). Other bishops who welcomed him at the airport are +Alex Muchabaiwa (Mutare), +Xavier Munyongani, and + Angel Floro who came all the way from Gokwe.
Speaking at a welcome reception held at the Nunciature in honour of the new Nuncio, Fr John Baptist was grateful that, after 10 months of waiting for a Nuncio, Archbishop Marek Zalewski has finally arrived.
“In the first week of September 2013, when Archbishop George Kocherry left for Bangladesh, this pontifical household was left in darkness. The head was going, leaving behind inexperienced staff who did not know anything about diplomatic functions.
“The vacuum created by the departure affected to a greater extent the ecclesiastical function of this mission hence there are a number of pending issues in our trays. We thank God that the era of darkness and uncertainty is coming to an end. We thank the Holy Father and God for the gift of the new Nuncio.”
Speaking at the same occasion, Archbishop Ndlovu said:
“The wait has come to an end and we have now joy. The announcement of the new Nuncio was made on the day of the Annunciation, (25 March) and we felt it was a befitting day for the good news. Last month when we were at the Vatican as Zimbabwean Bishops meeting the Pope, that’s when you were made Archbishop and we remembered to pray for you.
“We hope that your coming, with a lot of experience that you have had in different missions, will add value to our local Church.
“We have a lot to learn from you, and through interacting with all of us, you will soon know well the Church in Zimbabwe. We look forward to the day when we will invite you to our individual dioceses and there, you will come face to face with the people and also experience their warmth in one way or the other.
The Archbishop of Harare was also kind in his praise of Monsignor John the Baptist who had held fort at the Nunciature in the absence of a substantive Head.
“Monsignor has spoken about the “darkness” they experienced in the last 10 months without a Nuncio here, but I must say you have a very good secretary. He did quite well, I like his humility. He is a good John the Baptist who wants to decrease at the right time and point to the one who has come.
“On behalf of all Zimbabweans and on behalf of the local Church and the Archdiocese of Harare where you shall be a member, I say welcome.
The reception was attended by Superiors of Major Religious Congregations working in Zimbabwe, including Jesuit Provincial, Fr Stephen Buckland S.J.