New Catholic Bishop in Ivory Coast Called to “welcome everyone without any discrimination”

The newly Consecrated Bishop of the Catholic Diocese of Yamoussoukro in Ivory Coast has been encouraged to build his Episcopal Ministry around the practice of unconditional love, welcoming all the people of God under his pastoral care “without any discrimination.”

In his homily during the February 18 Episcopal Ordination of Mons. Joseph Kacou Aka, the Archbishop of Kinshasa in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Fridolin Cardinal Ambongo said the episcopate “is certainly an honor, but it is also a burden.”

“Welcome everyone without any discrimination in your home, and especially show great pastoral solicitude towards the Consecrated and the Laity,” Cardinal Ambongo said during Holy Mass at the Our Lady of Peace Basilica of Yamoussoukro Diocese.

The Congolese Cardinal urged Mons. Aka to “accept in faith this gift that the Lord is giving you today, in spite of your limitations and fragility, by placing yourselves at the service of his Church, in a spirit of collegiality and synodality.”

The member of the Order of Friars Minor Capuchin (OFM Cap) who presided over the Eucharistic celebration and Episcopal Ordination told the new Bishop “not to be afraid” despite the challenges in his Episcopal ministry.


“Trust in God, who has placed his gaze on you, and on your shoulders this heavy task,” Cardinal Ambongo said, and implored, “May the Holy Spirit assist you and make your Episcopal Ministry here in Yamoussoukro fruitful, in communion with the Holy Father and all the Bishops, in perfect understanding and harmony with your presbyterate, the Consecrated persons and the people of God entrusted to your pastoral care.”

He further implored, “May the Lord grant you a pure and good heart, a heart that is open and attentive to all.”

Addressing himself to the members of the Clergy of Yamoussoukro Diocese, Cardinal Ambongo called for collaboration, saying, “Welcome Bishop Joseph Aka as your Father and brother; help him willingly in the accomplishment of his episcopal ministry.”

He encouraged members of the Clergy to be “attentive to discern in their Bishop the very authority of Christ, the supreme Pastor. If you live in obedience and perfect communion with him, the pastoral work for which each of you has given your life will bear much good fruit to the glory of God.”

“I entrust the Episcopal Ministry of Bishop Joseph Aka to the intercession of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Our Lady of Peace, and I urge you all to support him and to pray for him and for the fruitfulness of his new ministry,” the Cardinal who has been at the helm of Kinshasa Archdiocese since November 2018 said.

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The newly ordained Bishop succeeds Bishop Marcellin Yao Kouadio who was transferred to the Diocese of Daloa in Ivory Coast.

In his speech following his Episcopal Ordination, Bishop Aka reassured the congregation of his determination to assume “with love my new responsibilities” to the people of God in Yamoussoukro Diocese.

He thanked Pope Francis for placing his trust in him, and acknowledged with appreciation the collaboration he has so far received from all the personnel in the Ivorian Diocese.

Pope Francis appointed Bishop Aka  as Local Ordinary of Yamoussoukro Diocese on 28 December 2022.

The immediate former Secretary General of the Regional Episcopal Conference of West Africa (RECOWA) was born in August 1967 in Assinie in the Diocese of Grand-Bassam and was ordained a Priest in July 1994.


As a Priest, Bishop Aka served in various capacities, including Curate, Parish Priest, and interim Secretary of the Episcopal Conference of Ivory Coast (CECCI).

He also served as Director of the Biblical Apostolate, adjunct secretary of RECOWA from 2012-2015 and, as RECOWA Secretary General from 2016-2022.

Bishop Aka holds a licentiate in Biblical Exegesis from the Pontifical Biblical Institute in Rome.

He is to oversee the 19,890 square-kilometer Catholic Diocese that was erected in March 1992, with a population of 148,270 Catholics, according to 2020 statistics.

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.