Pope Francis Appoints Local Ordinaries for Two Catholic Archdioceses in Congo Brazzaville

Bishop Gélase Armel Kema (right) and Mons. Abel Liluala (left), appointed Archbishops of Owando and Pointe-Noire Archdiocese respectively on 6 January 2024. Credit: Ouesso Diocese, Archdiocese of Pointe-Noire

Pope Francis has appointed Local Ordinaries for the Archdioceses of Pointe-Noire and Owando in the Republic of Congo, popularly known as Congo Brazzaville.

In the Saturday, January 6 appointments that were made public by the Holy See Press Office, the Holy Father accepted the retirement of Archbishop Miguel Ángel Olaverri Arroniz of the Catholic Archdiocese of Pointe-Noire and appointed Mons. Abel Liluala as his successor.

Until his appointment, Mons. Liluala has been serving as Parish Priest of St. Peter’s Cathedral of Pointe-Noire Archdiocese and Judicial Vicar of the same Metropolitan See.

Born in April 1964 in Cabinda, Angola, a territory neighbouring Pointe-Noire in Congo Brazzaville, the Archbishop-elect was ordained a Priest in February 1994 for the Archdiocese of Pointe-Noire.

The holder of a Doctorate in Canon Law from the Pontifical University of the Sacred Heart in Rome has also served as member of the College of Consultors of Pointe-Noire Archdiocese. 


Elevated from a Diocese to an Archdiocese in May 2020, the Catholic Archdiocese of Pointe-Noire comprises two suffragan Dioceses: Dolisie and Nkayi.

It measures 14,644 square kilometers and has an estimated Catholic population of 1,007,440, according to 2021 statistics.

In the January 6 Papal appointments, the Holy Father appointed Bishop Gélase Armel Kema of Congo Brazzaville’s Ouesso Diocese as the Archbishop of Owando Archdiocese.

Bishop Kema has been serving as Apostolic Administrator of the Congolese Metropolitan See since his appointment in August 2023.

Born in October 1972, the Archbishop-elect was ordained a Priest in August 1999 after completing his philosophical and theological studies at the Theological Institute of Montreal in Quebec, Canada.

More in Africa

He was appointed Local Ordinary of Ouesso Diocese in December 2021.

The alumnus of the Rome-based Pontifical Urbaniana University where he obtained his Licentiate and Doctorate in Canon Law also taught Canon Law at Cardinal Emile Biayenda Inter-Diocesan Theological Seminary in the Archdiocese of Brazzaville.

Elevated to a Metropolitan See in May 2020, the Archdiocese of Owando has two suffragan Dioceses: Impfondo and Ouesso.

It measures 74,850 square kilometers with an estimated Catholic population of 355,120, according to 2021 statistics.

Jude Atemanke is a Cameroonian journalist with a passion for Catholic Church communication. He holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Journalism and Mass Communication from the University of Buea in Cameroon. Currently, Jude serves as a journalist for ACI Africa.