Salesian Prelate Appointed Vicar Apostolic of Ethiopia’s Gambella Vicariate

Bishop Roberto Bergamaschi, the newly appointed Vicar Apostolic of Gambella in Ethiopia.
Credit: Public Domain

Pope Francis has appointed Bishop Roberto Bergamaschi, a member of the Religious Institute of the Salesians of Don Bosco (SDB), as the Vicar Apostolic of Gambella in the Western part of Ethiopia.

The Tuesday, September 29 appointment will see Bishop Bergamaschi shepherd the people of God in the Horn of Africa jurisdiction, which has been vacant since March when Bishop Angelo Moreschi, a member of SDB, succumbed to COVID-19. Bishop Moreschi was the first known Catholic Prelate to die of the pandemic.

Bishop Bergamaschi who has been serving as the Vicar Apostolic of Awasa Vicariate in central Ethiopia since 2016 is expected to become the second Apostolic Vicar of Gambella.

The 65-year-old Bishop is a native of the Diocese of Brescia in the Italian region of Lombardy. He studied philosophy in Turin - Crocetta and Theology in Cremisan in the Holy Land from 1975-1981.

He was ordained a Priest in October 1982. In the first years of his Priestly ministry, he served as Pastor at Zway, in Ethiopia’s Apostolic Vicariate of Meki from 1982-1993.

Bishop Bergamaschi was appointed Vice-Provincial of the Salesian province of Ethiopia-Eritrea in 1998.

In his 37 years as a Priest, the member of SDB Missionaries has also served as Director at Adwa, in the Eparchy of Adigrat (2000-2004); Director of the Salesian Works of Gotera, Addis Ababa (2004-2007); Director of the Salesian Works of Mekanissa, Addis Ababa (2007-2009); and Parish Priest of Mary Help of Christians Parish in Dilla.

He will be administering the Vicariate of Gambella that was erected as the Apostolic Prefecture of Gambella in 2000 before it was renamed Apostolic Vicariate of Gambella in 2009.

The Vicariate has a population of 26,545 Catholics according to 2017 statistics.


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
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