Pope Appoints Apostolic Administrator in South Sudan, Nuncio in Angola, São Tomé, Príncipe

Archbishop Stephen Ameyu (right) the newly appointed Apostolic Administrator for South Sudan’s Wau Diocese and Msgr. Giovanni Gaspari (left) Apostolic Nuncio to Angola and São Tomé and Príncipe.
Credit: Public Domain

Pope Francis on Monday, September 21 made public his appointment of Archbishop Stephen Ameyu as the Apostolic Administrator for South Sudan’s Wau Diocese and Msgr. Giovanni Gaspari as his representative in Angola and São Tomé and Príncipe.

The appointment of Archbishop Ameyu as the Apostolic Administrator of Wau Diocese was announced on Monday, September 21 by Chargé d'Affaires at the Apostolic Nunciature in South Sudan, Msgr. Mark Kadima.

Archbishop Ameyu whose appointment “takes effect immediately” will govern Wau Diocese “until the new Bishop is chosen,” Msgr. Kadima told members of the Press September 21 at the Juba-based Apostolic Nunciature.

Making the announcement on behalf of the Apostolic Nuncio in Kenya and South Sudan, Archbishop Bert van Megen, Msgr. Kadima said that while overseeing the administration of Wau Diocese, Archbishop Ameyu “will continue serving as the Archbishop of the Archdiocese of Juba and as the Apostolic Administrator of the Diocese of Torit.”

Located in northwestern South Sudan, the Diocese of Wau became vacant in March 2017 following the death of Bishop Rudolf Deng Majak. Since then, it has been under the leadership of Fr. Marko Mongu as Diocesan Administrator.

During the September 21 Press Conference, Msgr. Kadima thanked Fr. Marko Mongu for his “dedicated service to the diocese of Wau for the last three and a half years, as well as for his cooperation with the Holy See.”

The diocese was erected in 1913 as the Prefecture Apostolic of Bahr el-Ghazal and elevated to the Vicariate Apostolic of Bahr el-Ghazal in March 1917. Its name changed to Vicariate Apostolic of Wau in 1961, before it was elevated to the rank of a Diocese on December 12, 1974.

The Diocese is under the Metropolitan See of Juba. It measures 134,572 square kilometers and has, according to 2015 statistics, some 3 million Catholics.

Meanwhile, Pope Francis has appointed Msgr. Giovanni Gaspari as Apostolic Nuncio in the Portuguese-speaking nations of Angola and São Tomé and Príncipe, elevating him to the rank of Archbishop.

The Holy Father also entrusted his new representative in Angola and São Tomé and Príncipe the Titular See of Alba Marittima in Croatia.

The 57-year-old Archbishop-elect who was ordained a Priest of the Archdiocese of Pescara-Penne in Central Italy in July 1987 joined the Holy See diplomatic service in July 2001. Since then, he has served in Apostolic Nunciatures of Iran, Albania, Mexico, and Lithuania.

He has also served in the Section for Relations with States of the Secretariat of State at the Vatican.

In his new assignment, the Archbishop-elect will be representing the Holy Father in the two nations, whose Bishops form the Episcopal Conference of Angola and São Tomé (CEAST).

Catholicism is the dominant religion in both countries, with Angola having a 56.4 percent Catholic population, while the island nation of São Tomé and Principe has an estimated Catholic population of 57.4 percent.


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
[email protected]