Missionary to succeed Abp. Ncube in Zimbabwe

VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- Pope Benedict XVI has named a 49-year-old Indian member of the Society of the Divine Word to be the new archbishop of Bulawayo, Zimbabwe.

Bulawayo has been without an archbishop since September 2007 when Archbishop Pius Ncube, an outspoken opponent of Zimbabwe's political leadership, resigned in the midst of a sex scandal. He later admitted that he had an affair with a woman.

Pope Benedict named Father Alex Thomas Kaliyanil, the superior of the Divine Word missionaries in Zimbabwe, to be the new archbishop of Bulawayo.

Archbishop-designate Kaliyanil has served as a missionary in Zimbabwe since 1989, said the Vatican, which announced the appointment June 20.

Born May 27, 1960, in Vallamchira in India's Kerala state, he studied at the Divine Word minor seminary in Changanacherry. He studied philosophy and theology at Jnana Deepa Vidyapeeth, a pontifical institute in Pune, India. He also earned a diploma in economics from India's Mysore University.

Ordained to the priesthood in 1988, the archbishop-designate's ministry in Zimbabwe has included service in several parishes, as a diocesan treasurer and as an adviser to the Catholic aid agency Caritas Zimbabwe. He has been regional superior of the Divine Word missionaries, also known as Verbites, since 2008.

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