Death of Bishop Zichem - Paramaribo - Suriname

Bishop Aloysius Zichem died 13th November 2016 n Paramaribo, Suriname, he was 83 years old. Bishop Zichem was ordained a priest on the 14th day of August, 1960. He belonged to the Redemptorist Religious Family. He was ordained as Titular Bishop of Fluerteventura on the 8th of February, 1970 and appointed the second Bishop of the Diocese of Paramaribo on the 30th August, 1971. His installation as the Bishop of Paramaribo took place on the 24th October, 1971. He served as Bishop until illness prevented him from continuing in his Episcopal Ministry.

We wish to extend to Bishop Karel Choennie, the priests, religious and faithful of the Diocese of Paramaribo our condolences and assure them of our prayers. We give thanks for the dedicated and inspiring service of the late Bishop Zichem not only to the people and Church of Suriname but also his great contribution to the Antilles Episcopal Conference. May his soul rest in peace.


Suriname has a new Bishop

By: Paul Tjon Kiem Sang


More than 1,800 Catholic faithful of Suriname attended the solemn consecration of their new Bishop, Most Rev. Karel Choennie, as the fourth Bishop of Paramaribo, on Sunday January 24

After Rev. Esteban Kross had read and displayed the Pope’s appointment letter to all present, the ordination liturgy commenced. Karel’s predecessor, Rev. Wilhelmus de Bekker, was the principal consecrator, and the co-consecrators were Paramaribo’s metropolitan Archbishop Most Rev. Joseph Harris, and the president of the Antilles Episcopal Conference, Most Rev. Patrick Pinder, Archbishop of Nassau. Apart from these two prelates, the Archbishop of Castries, Most Rev. Robert Rivas, the Apostolic Nuncio, Most Rev. Nicola Girasoli, and our Caribbean Cardinal, His Eminence Kelvin Felix, were also present. Continue reading

Suriname bishop retires …Administrator appointed

Catholic News - Trinidad - 7th June 2014

The bishop’s seat at the Minor Basilica of Ss Peter and Paul in Paramaribo, Suriname, is now officially vacant, hopefully to be filled in the not too distant future.

Bishop Wilhelmus de Bekker turned 75 on April 27 and, as is mandatory, submitted his resignation letter to Rome. Papal Nuncio Archbishop Nicola Girasoli informed the bishops of the Antilles Episcopal Conference that the letter was accepted by Pope Francis.

Apostolic Administrator Fr Antonius te Dorsthorst (left) and Bishop Emeritus Wilhelmus de Bekker at the press conference. Photo taken from Continue reading

A ‘gift of love’ from Pope Francis- Paramaribo, Suriname

Catholic News - Trinidad 12th April, 2014

In an exquisitely decorated Sts Peter and Paul Cathedral, filled to capacity, Bishop Wilhelm De Bekker of Paramaribo presided at the April 6 celebration of the Eucharist marking its elevation to the rank of minor basilica.

Archbishop Joseph Harris unveils the seal of the Diocese of Paramaribo which adorns the entrance to the basilica. Continue reading

A basilica for Suriname

The Sts Peter and Paul Cathedral is to be elevated on April 6 to the status of Minor Basilica. Photos Lucien Chin A Foeng


Archbishop of Port of Spain Joseph Harris will be in Suriname today (April 6) for the elevation of Paramaribo’s Sts Peter and Paul Cathedral to the rank of a minor basilica. Continue reading

Signis - Letter to Bishop de Bekker

Dear Bishop de Bekker,

The Signis Caribbean Annual General Meeting (AGM) which took place 1-2 June 2012 in Barbados learnt with concern about the recent threats and personal attacks made against you because of the principled stand that you, the Catholic Church and so many other people in Suriname have taken on the recently passed adoption by the National Assembly of Suriname of the amendment to the 1992 Amnesty Law. 
Continue reading

Suriname - country information

Area: 163,194 sq. km. (63,037 sq. mi.); .

Cities: Capital-Paramaribo (pop. 242,946). Other cities-Nieuw Nickerie, Moengo, Brownsweg, Albina.
Terrain: Rain forest,
savanna, coastal swamps, hills.

Climate: Tropical.

Prelate Information

Monsignor Wilhelmus de Bekker




  Address: 12 Henck Arron Street 
Bishop Phone home: (597) 47 33 06
chancery Phone: (597) 42 59 18

Curriculum Vitae

A. Personalia
Surname : The Bekker
First Names : Wilhelmus Adrianus, Josephus, Mary
Date of birth : 27 April 1939
Place of birth : Helmond
Country : Netherlands
Nationality : Dutch
Christened : April 27,
First Communion : June 10, 1946
Confirmation : Rotterdam, St. Ignatius and Lawrence, Mgr. J. Huijbers
Deacon Ordination : Heerlen, St. Martin, November 10 1984, by Mgr. Aloysius Zichem
Ordination : Paramaribo, HH Peter and Paul, May 25, 1985, by Mgr. Aloysius Zichem
Award : Paramaribo, April 26, 1998, Member of the Order of Orange Nassau
  : Paramaribo, November 24 1998, Knight of the Order of the Yellow Star
B. Training
1946 - 1952 : Lower School, Helmond and Rotterdam, Netherlands
1952 - 1955 : HBS 3yr., St. Montfort College Rotterdam
1955 - 1959 :
Seminary, Teachers and Religious Act A Diploma, St. Thomas More, Rotterdam
1959 - 1960 : Teacher Training College, Head of Religion Act and Diploma B, St Thomas More, Rotterdam
1960 : LO-Crafts Act, The Hague
1961 : Diploma Russian translator (military service)
1962 - 1968 :-A Gymnasium. Evening Course (no certificate)
1968 : Collogicum doctum Katholieke.Universiteit of Nijmegen
1968 - 1974 : Master (MA) Cultural Anthropology
  : Master (MA) Social Anthropology
  : First-degree power Civics
1976 : Postgraduate training: Agricultural University Wageningen,
cooperatives and agricultural credit system
  : Postgraduate Training: Royal Tropical Institute Amsterdam and credit cooperatives in non-Western societies
  : Graduate degree from the Catholic University of Nijmegen
1983 - 1985 : Theological Studies, Paramaribo
1984 : Missiology, capita: Catholic University of Nijmegen
Various : Various seminars and workshops
C. Work and responsibilities
May-July 1959 : Temporary teacher, elementary school Rotterdam, Katendrecht
Sept. - Dec. 1960 : Temporary teacher, primary school, Rotterdam - South
December 1960 - Sept.1962 : Military service, sergeant, Russian translator
sept. 1962 - August 1965 : Teacher in permanent employment, school Rotterdam
  : Part time teacher manual, training college St. Thomas More, Rotterdam
1965 - 1968 : Teacher in permanent employment, school Heerlen
1968 - 1971 : Part-time physical education teacher, elementary school Nijmegen
febr.1972 - aug.1972 : Teacher primary school, Willemstad, Curacao (serving as a training study cultural anthropology)
1972 - 1976 : Teacher civics, Mavo
1976 : Research on the educational situation in the interior Suriname
Aug. 16 ’77 Sept. ’87-30 : Consultant inspectors for Catholic Education in Suriname, especially for the interior
Oct. 1 ’87 - 1 sept.2001 : Director of Fr Ahlbrinck Foundation (PAS)
1 Sept. ’86 - Feb. 28 ’87 : Part-time pastor of St. Alphonsus Parish in Paramaribo
March ’87 - January ’05 : Full-time pastor of St. Alphonsus Parish in Paramaribo
1 July ’95 - August 9, 2003 : Vicar-General of the Diocese of Paramaribo
11 August ’03 - 12 November ’04 : Diocesan Administrator of the Diocese of Paramaribo
1980 - 1987 : Member of the government commission for education in the interior
1980 - 1987 : Member of the Board of
the Father Foundation Ahlbrinck
1985 - 1992 : Member of the Diocesan Catechetical Commission
1986 - 1996 : Member of the Diocesan Liturgical Commission
1991 - 1997 : Member of the Board of the Association of NGO Forum
November 1995 : Member of the Delegation of the Holy Chair BGV 20 years political independence of Suriname
1994 - 1995 : National Council of Priests in the Marriage Encounter Suriname
1995 - January ’05 : Member / Chairman of the Board of Directors
1995 - January ’05 : Member / Chairman of the Curia
1997 : Marriage Encounter Foundation founder appearing Suriname
1998 : Appearing founder of the Foundation Day care for elderly housing and Safe - The Mantle
1998 - January ’05 : Advisor to the Board of the Foundation Day care for elderly housing and Safe - The Mantle
1998 - 2001 : Member of the Committee for Humanitarian Assistance
2003 - January ’05 : Vice-Chairman of the Committee Christian Churches (CCK)
2003 - present : Member of Interreligious Council in Suriname (IRIS)