By Odiwuor Opiyo
DJOUGOU, FEBRUARY 15, 2022 (CISA) – Pope Francis has appointed Fr Bernard de Clairvaux Toha Wontacien, he provincial superior of Oblates of St. Francis de Sales (OSFS) in Benin as the Bishop of the Catholic Diocese of Djougou.
An official February 12 statement by the Holy See Press Office reads, “The Holy Father has appointed Rev. Fr. Bernard de Clairvaux Toha Wontacien, OSFS, currently Provincial Superior of the Oblates of Saint Francis de Sales in Benin, Bishop of the Diocese of Djougou (Benin).”
The bishop-elect has between 2006-2011 served as the head of coordination of social pastoral care and of the management of development projects of the metropolitan archdiocese of Parakou, coordinator of archdiocesan Caritas and of the diocese of North Benin.
Fr Wontacien was also a member of the Council for Economic Affairs of the same archdiocese and advisor to the archbishop (2007-2013), bursar of the Western African division of the Province of France (2008-2018) and head of English and French translation of the O.S.F.S. (2012-2018), Master of Scholastics O.S.F.S., Abidjan, Cote d’Ivoire (2013-2018), provincial councillor (2015-2018) and from 2019 to the present, provincial superior of the Province of France of the O.S.F.S. in Benin.
Msgr Wontacien succeeds Bishop Paul Kouassivi Vieira who passed away in 2019 leaving the diocese vacant with Pascal N’Koué, the Archbishop of the Catholic Archdiocese of Parakou as its Apostolic Administrator.
The 51-year-old Bishop Elect was born on August 20, 1970 in Abomey-Calavi and attended primary and secondary school in Parakou and graduated with a Masters in Geology.
He taught Latin in Pretoria, South Africa at St. John Vianney Seminary before being ordained a priest on 22 July 2006 in Parakou.