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Pope Appoints Archbishop for Kenya’s Nairobi Archdiocese, Two Auxiliary Bishops in Angola

Archbishop Philip Anyolo (left), the new Local Ordinary of Kenya's Nairobi Archdiocese, Mons. António Lungieki Pedro Bengui (center) and Mons. Fernando Francisco (right), appointed Auxiliary Bishops for Angola’s Luanda Archdiocese. Credit: Courtesy Photo

Pope Francis has appointed an Archbishop for the Metropolitan Archdiocese of Nairobi in Kenya and two Auxiliary Bishops for Angola’s Luanda Archdiocese.  

The appointment of Archbishop Philip Anyolo as the new Local Ordinary of Nairobi Archdiocese and that of Mons. António Lungieki Pedro Bengui and Mons. Fernando Francisco as Auxiliary Bishops in Angola’s Luanda Archdiocese was published by the Holy See Press office on Thursday, October 28.

The Archdiocese of Nairobi has been vacant since January 2021 when John Cardinal Njue who had been at the helm of the Kenyan Archdiocese since November 2007 retired at the age of 77.

The Archdiocese that is headquartered in Kenya’s capital city has been under the leadership of Bishop David Kamau who was appointed Apostolic Administrator the same day Cardinal Njue’s retirement was accepted.

The news of the latest administrative changes in Archdiocese was officially made public in Rome on October 28 at 1.00pm East African Time, the letter announcing the appointment of the Kenyan Archbishop by the representative of the Holy Father in Kenya, Archbishop Bert van Megen, indicates.

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Born in 1956 in Kenya’s Bungoma Diocese, Archbishop Anyolo was ordained a Priest for the Catholic Diocese of Eldoret in 1983.

He was the first Bishop of the Diocese of Kericho, which was erected in 1995. 

In March 2003, he was appointed Bishop of Homabay, succeeding the late Bishop Linus Okok Okwach who had retired the previous year. 

He succeeded Archbishop Zacchaeus Okoth as the Local Ordinary of Kisumu in November 2018.

Archbishop Anyolo served as the Chairman of the Kenya Conference of Catholic Bishops (KCCB) from 2015 to May this year. 

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At the height of COVID-19 that led to the closure of places of worship in Kenya, Archbishop Anyolo led the country’s Bishops in an engagement with the government to discuss the reopening of churches and the role of faith leaders in “educating the masses” about the pandemic. 

“Our role is educating the masses on the dangers of COVID-19. We have to make people understand that the virus is a reality,” the Kenyan Archbishop told ACI Africa in May 2020.   

Once installed, Archbishop Anyolo is expected to serve as the fifth Local Ordinary of the 3,271 square kilometer Archdiocese with an estimated population of 3,829,700 Catholics, according to 2020 statistics.

Meanwhile, 43-year-old Mons. Bengui who has been appointed as one of the two Auxiliary Bishops for Angola’s Luanda Archdiocese was ordained for the Angolan Archdiocese in October 2001.

He holds a licentiate and doctorate in civil and canon law from the Rome-based Pontifical Lateran University.  

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The Angolan Cleric who, since 2014, has been serving as the representative of the Episcopal Conference of Angola and São Tomé during the public sessions of the Angolan Parliament. He is also a member of the Portuguese Association of Canon Lawyers (APC) and the Angolan Group of Canonists.

Bishop-elect Bengui has been assigned the Titular See of Elephantaria in Proconsulari.

Mons. Francisco who has also been appointed Auxiliary Bishop for Luanda Archdiocese and assigned the Titular See of Medianas Zabuniorum was ordained for Angola’s Diocese of Sumbe in 1992.

In his 29 years of Priesthood, the 61-year-old Bishop-elect has served as the bursar of Sumbe Diocese, chaplain of the Novitiate of the Sisters of Guadalupe in Sumbe, and Parish vicar, among other ministries and services.  

He has been serving as Vicar General of Sumbe Diocese and coordinator of the Commission of Evangelization and Catechesis in the Angolan Diocese.

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Once ordained, the Bishops-elect are expected to assist Archbishop Filomeno do Nascimento Vieira Dias in shepherding the people of God in the 342 square kilometer Metropolitcan Archdiocese of Luanda that has an estimated population of 3,155,825 Catholics, according to Catholic hierarchy.