Pope Francis Erects New Diocese in DR Congo, Appoints First Bishop

Mons. Sebastien Kenda Ntumba, appointed first Bishop of the newly erected Tshilomba Diocese by Pope Francis on 25 March 2022. Credit: Courtesy Photo

Pope Francis has erected a new Diocese in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and appointed Mons. Sebastien Kenda Ntumba, a member of the Clergy of Luiza Diocese, as the first Bishop of the Episcopal See.

The erection of the new Diocese and the appointment of the first Bishop by the Holy Father comes about three months ahead of the Papal visit to the Central African country.

In a message published Friday, March 25 by the Holy See Press Office, the Holy Father erected the Diocese of Tshilomba “with dismembered territories of the Diocese of Luiza, making it a suffragan of the Metropolitan Archdiocese of Kananga.”

The Diocese of Tshilomba is located in the Lomami Civil District. It occupies the Eastern part of Luiza, comprising the cities of Tshilomba and Mwene-Ditu, the collectivities of Katshisungu, Kanincin and Mulundu and the Kanda-Kanda sector.

The new Diocese measures 11,747 square kilometres and has a population of 1,320,000 of which 792,000 are Catholic Faithful, according to 2022 statistics.


Mons. Ntumba who until his appointment has been the Parish Priest of St. Anthony of Padua in Kalomba was ordained a Priest in August 1987 in the Archdiocese of Luluabourg.

The Bishop-elect who will turn 62 in June holds a Baccalaureate in Theology from the Urbaniana University in Rome.

Since his Priestly ordination, the Congolese Priest has served in various capacities including formator in the Minor Seminary in Kamponde between 1987 and 1990; Priest in the Parishes of St. Jean in Yangala and St. Marie Alacoque in Winkon, Dean and Head of the Diocesan Office for Pastoral Care between 1990 and 2003.

He served as Fidei Donum Priest in the Diocese of Agrigento and Parish Administrator of the Parish of the Transfiguration of Our Lord Jesus Christ at the Jordanian Village in Palma di Montechiaro between 2003 and 2012. 

He served as Vicar Foraneo between 2008 and 2012; Parish Administrator of the Parish of Maria Santissima della Catena between 2012 and 2013 and Parish Administrator of the Parish of San Nicola alle Fontanelle in Agrigento between 2014 and 2016.

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The Bishop-elect lectured at the Diocesan Seminary of Agrigento from 2016 to 2017, a responsibility he took after obtaining a licentiate in theology from Palermo. 

After his Episcopal Ordination, the Bishop-elect is expected to oversee the new Diocese which has 27 parishes to be served by 76 Diocesan Priests, four deacons and 213 catechists, according to the Holy See report.

Silas Mwale Isenjia is a Kenyan journalist with a great zeal and interest for Catholic Church related communication. He holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Linguistics, Media and Communication from Moi University in Kenya. Silas has vast experience in the Media production industry. He currently works as a Journalist for ACI Africa.