Addressing journalists November 13, Mons. Bope expressed his elation at the appointment by Pope Francis, saying, “It’s surprising that the Holy Father would think I could go to the Diocese of Basankusu. I’d never thought of that.”
“It’s surprising, but at the same time amazing because when I heard the news, it was as if Christ was saying come and follow me,” the Bishop-elect said.
“If you’re baptized, you have to follow Christ,” he said, and added, “I’m going there with great hope and I’m going to find brothers and sisters, men and women, and with them I’m going to try to rekindle hope.”
Mons. Bope expressed gratitude to Bishop Joseph Mokobe Ndjoku for governing the Diocese of Basankus for 22 years, noting that the outgoing prelate’s leadership had been “an enormous achievement.”
“I also want to appreciate all the Priests, religious men and women, catchists, pastoral agents and the people of God. Together we shall work for the development of our Diocese,” he said.
Born in May 1964 in Mweka, Mons. Bope was ordained a Priest for Kinshasa Archdiocese in January 1992 after completing his Priestly studies.
Once ordained Bishop, he will oversee the 77,000 square-kilometer Catholic Diocese that was erected in February 1959, with a population of 200,247 Catholics according to 2020 statistics.