Liberia – March 2014



Republic of Liberia

Area: 111,370 sq. km. Population: 3.3 million. Population Growth Rate: 1.7% Capital: Monrovia
Head of State: 
President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf
Independence: 26 July 1847

Ethnic Groups:
Americo-Liberians 2.5% (descendants of US immigrants former slaves), Congo People 2.5% (descendants of Caribbean immigrants former slaves), indigenous African peoples 95% (Kpelle, Bassa, Gio, Kru, Grebo, Mano, Krahn, Gola, Gbandi, Loma, Kissi, Vai, Dei, Bella, Mandingo, Mende)

Christian 40%,
Muslim 20%,
indigenous beliefs 40%


Catholic Bishops Conference of Liberia (CABICOL)

Archbishop Lewis Zeigler

Secretary General: 
Fr Patrick Kabba

National Director Justice & Peace: 
Augustine Toe, Attorney-at-Law


SMA involvement in Liberia began in 1906.

Fr Stephen Kyne, from Hollymount, Co Mayo became the Prefect Apostolic of Liberia. The territory was entrusted to the Society and became the first missionary assignment of the Irish Province when it was founded in 1912.

There are at present 9 SMA priests and two seminarians on pastoral training in Liberia.

Fr Gareth Jenkins (from England) is the SMA Community Leader in Liberia.

There are three dioceses in Liberia:

Monrovia Archdiocese
ziegler-archbishop-louisMost Rev Lewis Zeigler is the Archbishop of Monrovia. He succeeded Most Rev Michael K Francis on 12 February 2011.

The SMA care for three parishes in the Archdiocese:

St Dominic’s Parish, Tubmanburg, Lofa County:
Fr Gareth Jenkins SMA (British Province)

St Mulumba’s Parish, Cooper’s Farm, Paynesville, Monserrado County:
Fr Matthew Abu-Cole SMA (first Liberian SMA priest) and Fr Emmanuel Avonyoh (Togo).

Saint Mugagga’s Parish, Klay, Bomi County:
Fr Philippe M’boua (Ivory Coast), Fr Firmin Kouassi (Ivory Coast) and Fr Michael Okafor (Nigeria).

Cape Palmas Diocese Bishop
Rt Rev Andrew Jagaye Karnley

Gbarnga Diocese
Bishop Anthony Fallah Borwah

There are 14 parishes in the diocese. Not all have a resident priest. Two of the parishes are staffed by the SMA:

St John Vianney, Foya, Lofa County: Fr Eric Aka (Ivory Coast)  
Immaculate Conception Saniquellie: Fr Daniel Louh (Ivory Coast) and Fr Désiré Salako (Nigeria).


The last Irish SMA priest in Liberia, V Rev Chris Brennan SMA, was Diocesan Administrator of Gbarnga after the translation of Bishop Zeigler to Monrovia until the appointment of Bishop Borwah in 2012.