, 24 April, 2020 / 7:04 AM
Fighting for a society that is governed by justice and fraternity is one of the of primary “ambitions” of the recently installed Archbishop of the Archdiocese of Libreville in Gabon, Jean-Patrick Iba-Ba.
“My only ambition is to be the servant of all, for the love of Jesus, making my modest contribution to the building up and growth of the ecclesial body, and to fight for a more just and fraternal Gabon,” Archbishop Iba-Ba said in a goodwill message addressed to the people of God dated April 22.
In the same message, the Gabonese Prelate invited the faithful to pray for the success of his mission in the Archdiocese of Libreville.
“Pray for this new mission entrusted to me. I know that if I count only on my own strength, I will never reach the end. But the Lord, as the charismatics say, is in control. I rely on Him and, by His grace, I implore His assistance for this mission,” the 54-year-old Prelate said.
Pope Francis appointed Archbishop Jean-Patrick Iba-Ba to the Archdiocese of Libreville on March 12, transferring him from Franceville diocese where he had been serving since he was ordained a Bishop in January 2018.
Due to COVID-19 restrictions in Gabon, the 54-year-old Prelate took canonical possession of Libreville Archdiocese on April 12, during the Easter Sunday Mass that was attended by a limited number of people among them the Archbishop Emeritus Basile Mve Engone and the Chargé d'Affaires of the Apostolic Nunciature in Gabon, Msgr. Grzegorz Piotr Bielaszka.
In his April 22 goodwill message, Archbishop Iba-Ba also expressed gratitude to God who “has always guided my steps and associated me with his mission” and thanked Pope Francis “for this mark of trust.”
“It's a thanksgiving that rises from my heart this morning. A thanksgiving for the choice of my modest person as the new Metropolitan Archbishop of the Archdiocese of Libreville and de facto successor to Bishop André Fernand Anguilé and Bishop Basile Mvé Engone, my immediate predecessor,” the Archbishop added.
He also thanked the Apostolic Nuncio in Gabon, the Bishops in the country, “and once again to the Archbishop Emeritus Basile Mve for the work accomplished.”
According to the Chargé d'Affaires, Msgr. Bielaszka, “The solemn celebration of the Mass of thanksgiving inaugurating the ministry of Archbishop Iba-Ba in the Archdiocese of Libreville will take place at a later date, when circumstances permit.”
Archbishop Iba-Ba was ordained a priest of Libreville in July 1998. Pope Francis appointed him as the third Bishop of Franceville in November, 2017; he was ordained a Bishop in January 2018.
He holds a degree in Canon Law from Rome-based Pontifical Urbaniana University.
Gabon has six dioceses, the Vicariate Apostolic of Makokou and the Archdiocese of Libreville, which has four dioceses, which include Franceville, Mouila, Oyem, and Port-Gentil.
Erected in January 1842 as an Apostolic Prefecture, Libreville was elevated to a diocese in September 1955. It became an Archdiocese in December 1958. It measures 39,275 square kilometres and has 553,000 Catholics, according to 2017 statistics by Gcatholic.
ACI Africa was officially inaugurated on August 17, 2019 as a continental Catholic news agency at the service of the Church in Africa. Headquartered in Kenya’s capital, Nairobi, this media apostolate will strive to facilitate the telling of Africa’s story by providing media coverage of Catholic events on the African continent, giving visibility to the activities of the Church across Africa where statistics show significant growth in numbers and the continent gradually becoming the axis of Catholicism. This is expected to contribute to an awareness of and appreciation for the significant role of the Church in Africa and over time, the realization of a realistic image of Africa that often receives negative media framing.
Father Don Bosco Onyalla
Editor-in-Chief, ACI Africa