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Togo’s Lome and DR Congo’s Mbandaka-Bikoro Archdioceses Get New Shepherds

Newly appointed Archbishop-elect for Togo's Lome Archdiocese, Nicodème Anani Barrigah-Benissan

In two separate appointments released Saturday, November 23, Pope Francis named Togolese Bishop Nicodème Anani Barrigah-Benissan the new Archbishop of Lomé, Togo and Bishop Ernest Ngboko Ngombe, the new Archbishop of Mbandaka-Bikoro in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DR Congo).

Bishop Barrigah's new appointment was announced by the Apostolic Nuncio in Togo and Benin, Archbishop Brian Udaigwe.

Before his transfer to the Archdiocese of Lomé, Bishop Barrigah has been serving as the 4th Bishop of Atakpamé diocese since March 9, 2008.

He is expected to over from Archbishop Denis Komivi Amuzu-Dzakpah who attained the retirement age of 75 on October 10, 2018.

Pending the appointment of a new bishop in Atakpamé, he will be the administrator of the diocese.

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Speaking to ACI Africa shortly after the news of his transfer and promotion became public, Bishop Barrigah expressed his acceptance and sought God’s guidance and support saying, "God's designs are unfathomable. His plans are mysterious.  Since he has placed his trust on me, I surrender myself to his grace.”

“I am simply counting on your prayers for this new mission that is beginning," Lomé Archbishop-elect told ACI Africa and added, “A bishop cannot succeed in his mission without the collaboration of priests, religious men and women and the Christians; let us come together to continue God’s mission in the Catholic Church in Lomé in particular and Togo in general.”

The Togolese Prelate who is also a Gospel singer with six albums under his name expressed his gratitude to the Holy Father saying, “I thank the Holy Father Pope Francis for this opportunity to serve the people of God in Lomé.”

He added, “I sincerely thank my predecessor Archbishop Denis Komivi Amuzu-Dzakpah for the work done and we hope to continue in the same spirit in serving the people of God in Lomé.”

Born on May 19, 1963 in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso, Archbishop-elect Nicodème Anani Barrigah-Bénissan was ordained a priest on August 8, 1987 and Bishop on March 9, 2008.

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He is the President of the National Episcopal Commission for Justice and Peace within the Togolese Bishops' Conference and in charge of the lay apostolate.

On his part, the Archbishop-elect of Mbandaka-Bikoro in DR Congo, Ernest Ngboko Ngombe who has been the Local Ordinary of Lisala diocese belongs to the Missionary Congregation of the Immaculate Heart of Mary (C.I.C.M).

Born on May 25, 1964, the Congolese Archbishop-elect obtained a State diploma in general pedagogy before beginning his religious and missionary formation at the novitiate of the Congregation of the Immaculate Heart of Mary on October 7, 1986.

He was ordained a priest on June 29, 1996, in Dakar, Senegal.

After several years in pastoral ministry including serving as Vicar and Parish Priest of Notre Dame de la Paix de Diamaguène in Dakar, the Archbishop-elect was elected superior of the autonomous C.I.C.M. of Senegal for three consecutive terms, then rector of the theology seminar in Cameroon and C.I.C.M. coordinator for the Africa region.

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In 2011, he was elected Vicar General of the Congregation of the Immaculate Heart of Mary.

Appointed Bishop of DR Congo’s Lisala diocese in 2015, the Congolese Prelate is expected to succeed Fridolin Cardinal Ambongo in Mbandaka-Bikoro who was transferred to the Archdiocese of Kinshasa and made Cardinal October 5 alongside 12 others.