Pakistan, Jan 3 : Pope Francis has named Capuchin Father Khalid Rehmat as the new vicar apostolic of Quetta in Pakistan's Balochistan province.

The Vatican announced the appointment on 1st January 2021, making some local Catholics call it a New Year gift from Pope Francis.

Catholics worldwide took to social media to congratulate the bishop-elect.

Father Khalid is "the first Pakistani Capuchin priest to be nominated as a bishop in Pakistan. God bless you, dear bishop-elect," said their post.

Bishop-elect Rehmat was born in 1968 in Islamabad-Rawalpindi Diocese. He made the solemn profession of a Capuchin priest in 2007.

Since 2018, he has been editor of Lahore Archdiocese's bimonthly magazine Catholic Naqeeb (herald).

He succeeds the late Bishop Victor Gnanapragasam, who founded the apostolic prefecture of Quetta. The Sri Lankan missionary died on Dec. 12, 2020.

The mission of Quetta was given to the Oblates in 1982 by the southern Diocese of Hyderabad. It now goes to Capuchins with the appointment of a Capuchin as its head.

The bishop-elect also served as rector of Capuchin Formation House in Lahore and a teacher at St Mary's Minor Seminary, the Franciscan priests' formation house.

He was also a member of the College of Consultors of the Archdiocese of Lahore and Archdiocesan Biblical Commission. He was the Pakistani Capuchins' Economic Commission coordinator. He was also a member of the Provincial Council of the Capuchins until October 2020.

The bishop-elect also has pastoral experience as parish priest of Our Lady of Mount Carmel in Adah, Sialkot, in the Archdiocese of Lahore.

In November, he was elected custos of the Capuchins in Pakistan in an election held online for the first time due to the coronavirus pandemic.

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