Head of Episcopal Commission Appointed Bishop of DR Congo’s Lisala Diocese

The Bishop-elect of DR Congo's Lisala Diocese Msgr. Joseph-Bernard Likolo Bokal'Etumba.

Pope Francis has appointed the Secretary of the Episcopal Commission for the Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments of the Bishops’ Conference of the Democratic Republic of Congo (CENCO) as the Local Ordinary of the country’s Lisala Diocese

The appointment of Msgr. Joseph-Bernard Likolo Bokal'Etumba was announced Monday, February 15 and published by the Holy See Press Office.

The Congolese Diocese of Lisala fell vacant on 23 November 2019 following the Papal transfer of Bishop Ernest Ngboko Ngombe to DRC’s Archdiocese of Mbandaka-Bikoro.

Since his transfer, the 56-year-old Archbishop Ngombe who is a member of the Congregation of the Immaculate Heart of Mary (CICM) has been the Apostolic Administrator of Lisala Diocese.

Born in 1967, the Bishop-elect was ordained a Priest of the Archdiocese of Kinshasa in May 1999.


Since ordination, Msgr. Bokal'Etumba who has been at the helm of the CENCO’s Commission since 2016 has served in various positions, among them, Vicar and Parish Priest of Sainte Angèle Parish and Director of Sainte Angèle primary school of the Archdiocese of Kinshasa.

The holder of a Doctorate in Liturgy from the Pontifical Athenaeum of Saint Anselm in Rome has been serving as a referent for vocations, Seminarians and Priests of the country’s Emmanuel Community since 2010.

Since 2013, the Bishop-elect has also been offering lectures in Liturgy at the Saint John XXIII Major Theological Seminary.

From 2014-2020, he served as the Director of the formation and accompaniment of Priests in difficulty at Jean-Jacques Olier House.

In a press release issued soon after the news of the appointment, members of the General Secretariat of CENCO congratulated the Bishop-elect on his new role and wished him “a fruitful ministry in the Church-Family of God, which is in Lisala.”

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Erected in April 1919 as the Vicariate Apostolic of Nouvelle-Anvers, the Diocese changed its name to the Diocese Vicariate Apostolic of Lisala in January 1936.

The Vicariate of Lisala was elevated to the rank of a Diocese under the Metropolitan Archdiocese of Mbandaka-Bikoro in November 1959.

According to 2018 statistics, the Diocese, which is under the patronage of St. Hermes, has an estimated 1,062,000 Catholics spread across 67,674 square kilometers.