Cardinal Ambongo Urges Newly Ordained Bishop to “always be available”, Serving “without discrimination of any kind”

Bishop Martin Banga Ayanyaki of the Catholic Diocese of Buta in DR Congo. Credit: Catholic Diocese of Buta

Fridolin Cardinal Ambongo has urged the newly Consecrated Bishop of the Catholic Diocese of Buta in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) to be at the service of the people of God, serving them all with humility. 

“Show great pastoral care for everyone, without discrimination of any kind, especially for Consecrated Persons, Priests, and the laity,” the Local Ordinary of DRC’s Catholic Archdiocese of Kinshasa told Mons. Martin Banga Ayanyaki during the Episcopal Consecration celebration.

He called upon the Bishop-elect to “always be available to the people of God in humble service.”

“Be the attentive father and servant of all, in a spirit of collegiality and synodality,” Cardinal Ambongo further said in his homily during the Sunday, July 7 Eucharistic celebration at the courtyard of the St. Joseph Cathedral of Buta Diocese.

He emphasized the need for the Bishop-elect to foster his relationship with the person of Jesus Christ, saying, “In carrying out your Episcopal Ministry, I urge you to cling to Christ.”


“The secret of a Bishop's fruitfulness is first and foremost his attachment to Christ; human considerations are secondary,” the Congolese Cardinal said, and added, “Make Christ present through your actions and words.”

The Local Ordinary of Kinshasa Archdiocese, who doubles as the President of the Symposium of Episcopal Conferences of Africa and Madagascar (SECAM) further said, “When you become a Bishop, your first responsibility is to look after God's flock; it's for the cause of Christ that you become the Bishop of Buta today, not for any other cause. Jesus Christ is your only master.”

A Bishop, he went on to say, is expected to “be a good shepherd, dedicated to the cause of his sheep; a good shepherd who cares for the lives of his sheep ... who is constantly on the lookout for good, green pastures for his flock; he will never abandon his sheep.”

A Bishop as a good shepherd “nourishes the people by proclaiming God's word and celebrating his mysteries,” the Congolese member of the Order of Friars Minor Capuchin (OFM Cap) added.

Pope Francis appointed the Congolese member of the Order of Saint Augustine (OSA) as Bishop of Buta Diocese on April 15. He had been serving as Regional Vicar of OSA in DRC.

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Born in December 1972 in Dungu, Bishop Banga made his perpetual profession in November 2002; he was ordained a Priest in August 2003.

In his July 7 homily, Cardinal Ambongo urged the Bishop-elect “to be a prophet of hope, a joyful messenger of the Gospel, an apostle of justice, and a witness of mercy for the people of God in Buta.”

“Be close to Priests, Consecrated Persons, and all the faithful, for whom you are the guide and shepherd. It's your duty to always be at the head of the flock, showing them the way,” the Cardinal said, and urged the Bishop-elect to “trust in God who has chosen you and who has entrusted you with this heavy task.”

“By sending you to Buta, he is also providing you with all the graces you need to assume this responsibility,” the Condolese Cardinal further said. 

To better serve the people of God, Cardinal Ambongo said the new Bishop will have to “collaborate with state authorities. Good collaboration with them will make your ministry more effective in the service of God's people.” 


Turning to the people of God in Buta Diocese, Cardinal Ambongo said, “It is up to you to love your shepherd, to be united to him by the bonds of charity and filial piety.”

“I therefore urge you, sons and daughters of Buta, to love your pastor, to accompany him in his ministry, and not hesitate to give him advice when you realize that something is not right,” he added.

The Catholic Church leader called upon members of the Clergy to “form a presbyterium around the Bishop. Together with your pastor, you will meet the pastoral challenges of this Diocese.” 

He urged women and men Religious to support their Bishop, saying, “pray for him and wholeheartedly follow the pastoral orientations that he will give for the good of this Diocese.”

“You have chosen to make the canticle of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Magnificat, your school of life. Imitate the virtues of the Mother of God and rely on her maternal intercession,” Cardinal Ambongo said. 

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Bishop Banga will be at the helm of the 60,000 square-kilometer Diocese with 226,000 Catholics according to the 2022 statistics.

The Episcopal See that is part of Kisangani Ecclesiastical Province has a total of 22 priests including eight diocesan priests, one of the Order of Canons Regular of Prémontré (Premonstratensian), two members of the Oblates of Mary Immaculate (OMI), three members of the Comboni Missionaries of the Heart of Jesus (MCCJ), four Augustinians and four fidei donum Priests from the Archdiocese of Kisangani and Dioceses of Lolo, Isiro-Niangara and Mahagi-Nioka.  

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.