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.
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