Catholic News, Trinidad, Sunday November 8, 2015
Pope Francis has named Fr Karel Choennie, 56, to be the next bishop of the diocese of Paramaribo, Suriname.
The Antilles Episcopal Conference (AEC) was informed of the papal appointment early last week by Apostolic Nuncio Archbishop Nicola Girasoli, with the public pronouncement made last Wednesday.
Fr Choennie was born in Suriname on December 20, 1958. In 1978 he obtained a degree in Pedagogy at the Catholic University of Nijmegen, Holland.
From 1978 to 1984 he studied for the priesthood at the Regional Seminary of St John Vianney and the Uganda Martyrs, Mt St Benedict, and was ordained a priest on August 3, 1985.
In his home diocese, he has been parish priest of St Mary Queen of the Universe (1985–1994), St Clement (1994–1996), St Boniface and St Clement (1997–2001), St Clement (2001–present) and St Alfonsus (2005–present).
Between 1996–1998, Fr Choennie studied at the Catholic University in Louvain, Belgium, obtaining a STL degree in Pastoral Theology. Between 1999–2003 he held the post of Episcopal Vicar and member of the Diocesan Curia. He has been Vicar General of the diocese for the past ten years.
Bishop-elect Choennie replaces Bishop Wilhelmus de Bekker who turned 75 on April 27, 2014 and, as is mandatory, submitted his resignation to Rome.
Fr Antonius te Dorsthorst, of the Congregation of the Oblates of Mary Immaculate (OMI), was appointed diocesan administrator on May 31, 2014. Bishop Emeritus de Bekker has continued serving the diocese in Groningen, the capital town of the Saramacca District.
A date is to be fixed for Fr Choennie’s episcopal ordination, very likely in early 2016.