Bishop Anthony Pascal Rebello, pastor of the African diocese of Francistown, in Botswana, was “seriously injured” after being beaten by robbers on the night of Friday, April 29.
Diocese officials confirmed the attack in a statement posted on Facebook, saying the 72-year-old prelate is still “weak to walk unassisted” and “can’t remember much” of the assault.
“Mons. Anthony Rebello was attacked by robbers last night and seriously injured,” the April 30 statement said. It was also indicated that the prelate “is seeking medical attention at this time.”
“Please pray for him and his diocese at this difficult time imploring God’s mercy on him,” the diocese added.
The Archbishop of Gaborone (Botswana), Msgr. Frank Atese Nubuasah, reported on social media that Msgr. Anthony “was in the chapel last night when the attackers pounced on him.”
“You can see blood stains on the carpet. Furniture was removed and a seat was ripped off its base,” she recounted.
The archbishop said that on the morning of April 30, an aide at the episcopal see found the bishop unconscious, “which means he spent the whole night in that state.”
“He was transferred to the hospital, where he was treated and referred to the Teaching Hospital. Tests and a CT scan were done, and nothing abnormal was detected in the skull,” he added.
Archbishop Nubuasah said he is “saddened to hear that something like this happened in the house where I spent more than 21 years living without any security issues. The neighborhood is good and safe, and now this. What is happening to our country and the world? Why are people so violent in their efforts to claim for themselves what does not belong to them?
“I invite you to pray for the healing of Bishop Anthony Rebello, especially for the traumatic effect on such a simple and holy soul,” he concluded.
Bishop Rebello, of Indian origin, was appointed Bishop of Francistown in July 2021, after working for several years as pastor of Holy Cross Mogoditshane, in the Diocese of Gaborone.
He was ordained a priest of the Divine Word Missionaries in May 1977.
He was one of the three founding members of the Divine Word Missionaries in Kenya in 1984. They opened their first mission in Kayole in the Archdiocese of Nairobi (Kenya) and then the Galba Tulla mission in the Diocese of Meru.
He is an alumnus of the Rome-based Pontifical Gregorian University and previously served as provincial superior of the Divine Word Missionaries in Kenya and parochial vicar in Angola.