New Catholic Bishop for Mali’s San Diocese, Apostolic Nuncio to Burundi Appointed

Msgr. Dieudonné Datonou (left) Apostolic Nuncio to Burundi and Bishop-elect Hassa Florent Koné of Mali's San Diocese. Credit: Courtesy Photo

Pope Francis has, in his latest appointments, named a new Bishop for the Catholic Diocese of San in the West African nation of Mali and his representative in Burundi. 

The appointment Bishop-elect Hassa Florent Koné and that of Msgr. Dieudonné Datonou were published by the Holy See Press Office Thursday, October 7. 

Bishop-elect Koné has been appointed to oversee the Malian Catholic Diocese that has been vacant since October 2019 when Bishop Jean-Gabriel Diarra died. 

Until his appointment, Msgr. Koné has been serving as the Rector of St. Augustin Major Seminary in Mali's Catholic Archdiocese of Bamako where he has also been teaching Liturgy. 

Born within Mali’s Diocese of Ségou in February 1969, the Bishop-elect was ordained a Priest for the Diocese of San in September 1996.


As a Priest, he has served in various capacities including Parish Vicar in Sokoura, member of the Diocesan Council of Finance, Secretary of the Diocesan Commission for Liturgy, Head of the Diocesan Choir, and Secretary of the National Commission for Liturgy. 

Msgr. Koné has also been the general treasurer of the Union of Priests of Mali and since 2014, a lecturer of traditional communication at the Catholic University of West Africa - University Unit of Bamako. 

The Bishop-elect of San holds a Doctorate in Liturgy from the Rome-based Pontifical Athenaeum of St. Anselm (The Anselmianum). He is also an alumnus of the Pontifical Institute of Sacred Music. 

Msgr. Koné is expected to serve as the third Local Ordinary of the 20,550 square kilometer Diocese erected in April 1962.

The Diocese that is part of the Ecclesiastical Province of Bamako has a population of 38,470 Catholics according to 2018 statistics

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The Holy Father has also appointed the current Councilor of the Apostolic Nunciature in Burundi, Msgr. Datonou, as his representative in the Eastern Africa country. 

Msgr. Datonou who has been elevated to the rank of Archbishop has been assigned the titular See of Vico Equense in Italy. 

Aged 59, the Beninise diplomat was ordained a Priest for Benin’s Cotonou Archdiocese in December 1989. 

He joined the diplomatic service of the Holy See in July 1995 and has since served in various Apostolic Nunciatures including Ecuador, Angola, Iran, Cameroon, India, El Salvador and in the General Affairs Section of the Secretariat of State. 

Msgr. Datonou is reportedly fluent in French, English, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, and German.


Magdalene Kahiu is a Kenyan journalist with passion in Church communication. She holds a Degree in Social Communications from the Catholic University of Eastern Africa (CUEA). Currently, she works as a journalist for ACI Africa.