Pope Francis Accepts Retirement of Congo’s Ouesso Bishop, Appoints Successor

Fr. Gélase Armel Kema, appointed bishop of Congo's ouesso Diocese. Credit: Courtesy Photo

Pope Francis has accepted the retirement of Bishop Yves-Marie Monot of the Catholic Diocese of Ouesso in the Republic of Congo (Congo Brazzaville) and appointed his successor.

In the latest administrative changes published Wednesday, December 8 by the Holy See Press Office, the Holy Father appointed Fr. Gélase Armel Kema who has been serving as the National Director of the Pontifical Mission Societies (PMS) in the Central African nation as the successor of Bishop Monot.

The Bishop-elect was appointed PMS National Director in Congo Brazzaville in March 2018. The appointment that was made by Cardinal Fernando Filoni, then Prefect of the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples (Propaganda Fide), was to end in 2023, Agenzia Fides reported in May 2018.

He is expected to succeed Bishop Monot, the 77-year-old member of the Congregation of the Holy Spirit (Spiritans - CSSp) who has been at the helm of the Congolese Diocese since April 2006, first as Apostolic Administrator, and later as Bishop following his Episcopal Ordination in September 2008.

A native of the same Episcopal See he is expected to oversee, the Bishop-elect who turned 49 in October was ordained a Priest in August 1999 after completing his philosophy and theology studies at the Theological Institute of Montreal in Quebec, Canada.


The alumnus of the Rome-based Pontifical Urbaniana University where he obtained his Licentiate and Doctorate in Canon Law has, since his Priestly ordination, served in various positions, including Rector of the Preparatory Seminary of Ouesso, Vicar General of Ouesso Diocese, and Parish Priest of Sacred of Heart of Jesus Sembé Parish.

He has also taught Canon Law at Card. Emile Biayenda Inter-Diocesan Theological Seminary located in the Archdiocese of Brazzaville.

Once ordained a Bishop, Mons. Kema is expected to oversee Ouesso Diocese that measures 56,800 km² with an estimated population of 25,500 Catholics, representing 22.5 percent of the population, according to 2020 statistics.

The Congolese Diocese that is in the Ecclesiastical Province of Owando, having been carved from the then Episcopal See of Owando on 6 June 1983. The Diocese of Owando was elevated to an Archdiocese in May 2020, with two suffragan Dioceses, Impfondo and Ouesso.

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