Superior of the Oblates of St. Francis de Sales in Benin Appointed Bishop for Djougou

Mons. Bernard de Clairvaux Toha Wontacien, appointed Bishop of Benin's Djougou Diocese by Pope Francis Saturday, 12 February 2022. Credit: Courtesy Photo

Pope Francis has appointed the Provincial Superior of the Oblates of St. Francis de Sales (OSFS) in Benin as the Bishop for the country’s Diocese of Djougou, which has been vacant since March 2019 following the death of Bishop Paul Kouassivi Vieira.

The Saturday, February 12 appointment of Mons. Bernard de Clairvaux Toha Wontacien was published by the Holy See Press Office.

Mons. Toha Wontacien who has been serving as the Provincial Superior of OSFS in Benin since 2019 is expected to become the second Bishop of the Catholic Diocese of Djougou.

Born in Benin’s Archdiocese of Parakou, the 51-year-old Bishop-elect made his first Religious profession in OSFS Congregation on 26 September 1998.

He was ordained a Priest in July 2006 after teaching Latin at the St. John Vianney Seminary in South Africa’s Pretoria Archdiocese.


He holds a Master's degree in project and organizational management and a Master's degree in Biblical Theology from the Catholic University of West Africa (UCAO) in Cotonou.

As a Priest in the Congregation of the Oblates of St. Francis de Sales, Mons. Toha Wontacien has served in various capacities including coordination of social pastoral care and management of development projects of the Metropolitan Archdiocese of Parakou.

He also served as Coordinator of Caritas Parakou Archdiocese and member of the Council for Economic Affairs of the same Archdiocese and advisor of the Archbishop (2007-2013).

The Bishop-elect also served as Bursar of the Western African division of the Province of France (2008-2018) and head of English and French translation of OSFS (2012-2018), Master of the Oblates Scholastics in Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire (2013-2018), Provincial Councilor (2015-2018).

Mons. Toha Wontacien is expected to be at the helm of Djougou Diocese that measures 11,126 square kilometres and with 71,213 Catholics, according to 2019 statistics.

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Jude Atemanke is a Cameroonian journalist with a passion for Catholic Church communication. He holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Journalism and Mass Communication from the University of Buea in Cameroon. Currently, Jude serves as a journalist for ACI Africa.