Bishop Zichem to be laid to rest at P&P Cathedral
The beloved Bishop Aloysius Zichem will be laid to rest in a tomb after Sunday’s funeral service.
Father Esteban Kross told Times of Suriname that the bishop’s body will be placed in a crypt located under the Saint Peter and Paul Cathedral Basilica underneath the sacristy. Zichem will officially become the first Surinamese church leader whose final resting place will be at the Cathedral Basilica. Father Kross explained that crypt tombs were constructed during the restoration of the Basilica for the sole purpose of letting it become the final resting place of bishops. It is common practice worldwide that bishops are put in the crypt underneath the cathedral. Father Esteban pointed out that prior to the funeral service of the bishop in Paramaribo there will be various activities in the Cathedral Basilica and the Chancellery. The Surinamese flag and the flag with the Papal coat of arms have been flying half-mast since Monday. A book of condolence will be placed at the Chancellery as of today. Members of the public can sign the book of condolence from Thursday until Saturday between 10 a.m. and 1 p.m.
Father Kross pointed out that the body of Bishop Zichem will be lying in state at the Cathedral Basilica from 3 p.m. until 7 p.m. on Saturday so that people can say their final goodbye to Monsignor Zichem. Father Kross made it clear that this is the only period when people can say farewell to the bishop. Afterwards there will be a special evening prayer in Bishop’s Zichem’s honor. The funeral service which will take place in Paramaribo on Sunday will be led by the current bishop of Paramaribo, Bishop Karel Choennie. The priests from the various parishes will attend the funeral service. Father Kross pointed out that he found Bishop Zichem to be a very lovable and friendly person. He explained that Zichem was the first Surinamese bishop who managed to bring together the various groups in Suriname regardless of their creed of political background. “He was loved by many Surinamese citizens because of his cordiality and integrity ,” said Father Kross. Bishop Karel Choennie pointed out that he has many good memories of Zichem. One of those beautiful memories is the one of Zichem inaugurating Choennie into priesthood in 1985. “Monsignor Zichem had fixed habits. He always ate a bun and drank coffee at the the same every morning. Everybody was welcome to join him and to discuss any topic with him. Zichem served the Roman Catholic community with love and devotion as bishop of Paramaribo for 32 years.” Zichem passed away on Sunday at the age of 83 after having been at the hospital for 3 weeks.