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History

History of Diocese of Kenema

The Diocese of Kenema is one of the four Dioceses in Sierra Leone. It is geographically situated in the Eastern Province of Sierra Leone, (West Africa). Originally the Diocese of Kenema was part of the Diocese of Freetown and Bo.

The idea of the Diocese of Kenema was raised in 1962 by Msgr. Maury, Apostolic Delegate to Sierra Leone. It came up again in 1966, following the visit of Msgr. Bellotti, Apostolic Delegate to Sierra Leone. Between July and November 1966, several letters were exchanged between Bishop Brosnanhan C.S.Sp. (RIP), the then Bishop of Freetown and Bo, Msgr. Bellotti, Superior General of the Holy Ghost Fathers, Fr. Marcel Lefebvre C.S.Sp. and Cardinal Prefect Agagianian concerning the possibility of creating the Diocese of Kenema.

The Spiritans were strongly opposed to the division, especially Msgr. Bellotti’s suggestion of entrusting the new Diocese to the Xaverian Missionaries who were already working in the Northern Province. The political instability in the country at that time did not help the situation either. Due to the complexity of the matter “Propaganda Fide” put on hold the creation of the new Diocese.

On the 31st May 1969 Bishop Brosnanhan, C.S.Sp. wrote a letter to “ Propaganda Fide” requesting for the creation of the new Diocese of Kenema. He also suggested that a local Bishop be appointed. He then proposed Rev. Fr. Joseph Henry Ganda as his first choice. “Propaganda Fide” after a careful examination, deemed it necessary to accept the suggestions of Bishop Brosnanhan.

On the 11th November 1970, Pope Paul VI established the new diocese, detaching it from the territory of the Diocese of Freetown and Bo. (The new Diocese will occupy the whole of the Eastern Province of Sierra Leone, i.e. Kenema, Kono and Kailahun Districts) It became known in Latin as “Kenemaensis.” The New Diocese became a suffragan of the newly established Archdiocese of Freetown and Bo. Fr. Joseph Henry Ganda, who was Parish Priest of Kenema and Director of Catechetical office of Freetown and Bo was appointed the first Bishop of Kenema. He was ordained at Kenema showfield on the 21st February 1971 by Most Rev. Amelio Poggi, Apostolic Delegate to Sierra Leone. Among the numerous contributions of Bishop Ganda was the construction of a magnificent Cathedral through National and International fundraising campaigns. The Cathedral was described by Liam Robinson as the “gem of modern architecture.”

Archbishop Brosnanhan C.S.Sp. retired in 1980 as Archbishop of Freetown and Bo and Bishop Ganda was appointed his successor. Very Rev. John O’Riordan, C.S.Sp., who was the Vicar General to Bishop Henry Joseph Ganda was appointed Apostolic Administrator of the Diocese of Kenema; he served for four years.
He was appointed the second Bishop of Kenema in June 1984. He was ordained Bishop by Archbishop Ganda at St. Paul’s Cathedral on the 2nd December 1984. Bishop O’Riordan retired on the 26th April 2002 at the age of seventy-eight (78) and he left for Ireland.

Bishop Patrick Daniel Koroma took the mantle of leadership from Bishop O’Riordan in 2002. He was ordained Bishop at Saint Paul’s Cathedral on the 29th June 2002 by Archbishop Ganda. Bishop Koroma died on 14th December 2018. He was succeeded by Most Rev. Henry Aruna, who was the Auxiliary Bishop of Kenema and Titular Bishop of Nasbinca. He was appointed Bishop of Kenema on the 26th January 2019 by Pope Francis. He took canonical possession of the Diocese of Kenema on the 1st March 2019. He is currently the Bishop of Kenema.

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Conferences of Africa and
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