By Br. Alfonce Kugwa
Bishop Emeritus of Gokwe Rt. Rev. Angelo Floro Martinez I.E.M.E has died at the age of 83. Bishop Floro was rushed to Gweru General Hospital where he died at 17:50hrs on Tuesday, 14 March 2023. He was discovered to be struggling with breathing in the early hours of yesterday.
The Apostolic Administrator for Gokwe Diocese, Bishop Rudolph Nyandoro said doctors were called in and he was transferred to Gweru General Hospital for further examinations.
“Bishop Floro has not been well for some time. He has been suffering from a heart problem. We realised that he was having breathing challenges in the early hours of Tuesday, 14 March 2023 and doctors were called in to assist and they transferred him to Gweru for further medical examinations. It is in Gweru that he died at 17:50hrs. We are really saddened by the loss,” Bishop Nyandoro said.
Burial of the late Bishop will be held at 9am on Saturday, 18 March 2023 at Uganda Martyrs Mission in Gokwe. The burial will be preceded by the vigil mass to be held on Friday, 17 March 2023, at St. John Cathedral in Gokwe centre. 5 pm is the starting time for the vigil mass.
Bishop Floro was the head of the Catholic Diocese of Gokwe from 2000 up to 2017 when he retired from active ministry but remained in the diocese which he loved so much.
Bishop Floro was born on 24 February 1940 in Spain. On 28 June 1965, he was ordained a priest of the Instituto Espanol de San Francisco Javier para Misiones Extranjeras. Father Floro was appointed as Bishop of Gokwe, Zimbabwe on 15 October 1999 and was consecrated to episcopacy on 19 February 2000. On 28 January 2017, Bishop Floro retired and handed the reigns of the Diocese to Bishop Rudolph Nyandoro.
Bishop Floro soldiered to develop different faculties of the Diocese of Gokwe from human capital, social and infrastructural development. His outstanding achievements in the development of the diocese include construction of the iconic St. Paul Primary and Secondary Schools, many community schools, the diocesan shrine and the minor seminary. He expanded mission centers in the diocese, opening opportunities for spiritual, social and economic growth for people in the once most rural diocese. Through his leadership, he developed amicable relationships with government and religious leaders that saw him acquire many formerly council and government schools which he transformed into mission schools.
Bishop Floro’s leadership inspired many Christians in Gokwe who turned to Catholic faith because of his humble and simple lifestyle. He advanced the common good through his option for the poor, provision of education for the underprivileged and inclusive evangelization through projects that benefits almost all communities in Gokwe.
Bishop Floro held different positions within the Zimbabwe Catholic Bishops’ Conference where he was once president and headed the ZCBC Education Commission for many years as its chairman. He developed the education system in Catholic Schools during his tenure as chairman of the Commission a feat he also achieved in his Diocese Gokwe.