Pope Francis Appoints Vicar Apostolic for Chad’s Mongo Vicariate

Msgr. Philippe Abbo Chen appointed Vicar Apostolic of Chad’s Mongo Vicariate by Pope Francis Monday, December 14, 2020.

The Delegate Vicar of Chad’s Mongo Vicariate, Msgr. Philippe Abbo Chen is expected to serve as the Vicar Apostolic of the same Vicariate following his appointment by the Holy Father.

Msgr. Chen’s appointment was announced Monday, December 14 and published by the Holy See Press Office.

He is expected to succeed 78-year-old Jesuit Bishop Henri Coudray whose resignation has been accepted by Pope Francis.

A native of the Vicariate of Mongo, the 58-year-old Chadian Cleric was ordained a Priest in May 1997. Four years later, he joined Our Lady of Life (Notre Dame de Vie) Secular Institute where he took his Religious vows in August 2009.

In his 23 years of Priestly ministry, Msgr. Chen has served in various positions among them Parish Vicar, Parish Priest, head of Pastoral Care, spiritual Director and Bursar of the Saint Mbaga Tuzindé Inter-Diocesan Major Philosophical Seminary located in the Diocese of Sarh, Vicar General.


He recently completed his “Desert Year” as required by the Secular Institute of Notre-Dame de Vie. He was in Venasque, France for the spiritual experience (2019-2020).

Erected in December 2001 as the Apostolic Prefecture of Mongo from part of the Archdiocese of N'Djamena and part of the Diocese of Sarh, the Vicariate was elevated to its current status by Pope Emeritus, Benedict XVI in June 2009.

The Apostolic Vicariate has an estimated population of 5,750 Catholics spread across an area of 540,000 square kilometers, according to 2018 statistics.

The Vicariate’s Cathedral, which was consecrated to St. Ignatius of Loyola in December 2013, is located at the foot of a mountain, in a region that has a 94 percent Muslim population. 

“The frescoes that adorn the interior walls depict the major Biblical events from Genesis to Revelation,” Fr. Clément Marie Bonou of the Franciscans of Mary Immaculate was quoted as saying in a 2013 report published by Agenzia Fides.

More in Africa

The 600-seater Cathedral has some images that recall the life of the local Church, in particular, "the witness of Christians during the years of war in Chad, in this area known to be a stronghold of the rebels," Fr. Bonou added in the December 2013 report.

The Christians, the Cleric further noted, were such an “intense witness” of the 2005-2010 Chad Civil War that the Emeritus Vicar Apostolic, Bishop Coudrey, termed them "the acts of the apostles of Mongo."

For Bishop Coudrey, the Cathedral was an “expression of the testimony of faith of the local Christians, who make up a house of ‘living stones.’"