Major Seminary Rector Appointed Bishop of DR Congo’s Boma Diocese

The Bishop-elect of DR Congo's Boma Diocese, Mons. José-Claude Mbimbi Mbamba

Pope Francis has appointed the Rector of Abbé Ngidi Major Seminary for Philosophy in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Mons. José-Claude Mbimbi Mbamba, as the Bishop of the country’s Boma Diocese.

In the Friday, March 19 announcement published by the Holy See Press office, the Holy Father also accepted the retirement of 77-year-old Bishop Cyprien Mbuka. The member of the Congregation of the Immaculate Heart of Mary (CICM) has been at the helm of the Diocese since March 2001.

Born in July 1962 in the Archdiocese of Kinshasa, the Bishop-elect was ordained a Priest of the Diocese of Boma in August 1988.

Since ordination, the holder of a Doctorate in Philosophy from the University of Tübingen in Germany served in various capacities, among them, Professor at the St. Francis Xavier Minor Seminary in Boma, Librarian and Vice-Rector at Abbé Ngidi Major Seminary for Philosophy, and Rector of the St. Augustine’s University in Kinshasa. 

In his native Diocese of Boma, the Bishop-elect served as the Personal Secretary of the Auxiliary Bishop of Boma, Priest-in-charge of the initial formation of Major Seminarians, and as the Diocesan Secretary and Chancellor.


From 2005-2012, Mons. Mbimbi Mbamba served in Germany’s Diocese of Rottenburg-Stuttgart as a pastoral collaborator, Parish Vicar of Herrenberg, and Assistant of the local Italian community in the Diocese.

Prior to his appointment as the Rector of the Boma-based Major Seminary for Philosophy in 2014, the Bishop-elect had been serving as a Professor at the same institution since 2012. He has also been serving as the Episcopal Vicar for the Laity in the Diocese of Boma since 2014.

In 2012, he published the book, “The phenomenology of the religion of the young Heidegger and its significance for theology: Contribution to the critique of African religiosity.”

Reacting to the news of the appointment, members of the General Secretariat of the National Episcopal Conference of Congo (CENCO) have offered the Bishop-elect their “warm and sincere congratulations.” 

In their March 19 statement signed by CENCO’s Secretary General, Fr. Donatien Nshole, the members also wish Mons. Mbimbi Mbamba a “fruitful ministry in the Church-Family of God, which is in Boma.”

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Erected in February 1934 as the Vicar Apostolic of Boma, the See was elevated to the rank of a Diocese under the Metropolitan Archdiocese of Kinshasa in November 1959.

In Boma Diocese that is under the patronage of Our Lady of Assumption, the Bishop-elect will be expected to offer pastoral care to an estimated 874,000 Catholics spread across 11,350 square kilometers, according to 2018 statistics.

Meanwhile, Pope Francis, on the same day, accepted the retirement of 75-year-old Bishop Dieudonné Watio from the pastoral care of Cameroon’s Diocese of Bafoussam. 

Bishop Watio had been at the helm of the Diocese since May 2011. He was overseeing the pastoral care of an estimated 313,000 Catholics spread across 13,000 square kilometers, according to 2017 statistics.

Erected in February 1970 as a jurisdiction within the Metropolitan Archdiocese of Douala, the Diocese of Bafoussam is under the patronage of St. Joseph.