New Bishop of Berbérati
Fr Dennis Kofi Agbenyadzi SMA has been appointed by Pope Benedict XVI as Bishop of Berbérati in the south-west of the Central African Republic (CAR).
He was born in Kadjebi-Akan, in the diocese of Jasikan, Ghana on 9 October 1964 into a family of eleven children. His parents and five of his siblings have since died. RIP
After completing his primary and secondary schooling, he joined the SMA. He studied Philosophy at St Paul’s Seminary, living at the SMA House of Studies in Sowutuom, Ghana. He then left for the SMA International Spiritual Year programme at Calavi, Benin Republic.
After taking he took his first Oath of temporary membership in the Society he was assigned to Berbérati for a pastoral year (Stage), to prepare him for missionary life. After his one year Stage Dennis was sent to study Theology at the Interdiocesan Major seminary in Anyama, Cote d’Ivoire (1993-1997). Along with his fellow SMA students he lived at the SMA Foyer Méraud, Ebimpé. It was there, on 29 June 1996, that Dennis became a permanent member of the Society of African Missions.
His Ordination to the priesthood took place on 12 July 1997 in Ghana.
After Ordination, Fr Dennis returned to the diocese where he undertook his Stage training. He spent eight years in parish ministry, for some of that period working with the Pygmy people. In 2005, he was appointed as Superior of the SMA Formation House in Bangui. Two years later Fr Dennis was appointed as the Regional Superior for the SMA team in that country, a post he still holds. During that time he undertook the task of providing a Regional House in Bangui for the use of SMA members from the country as well as those who are on mission there. At present, the Society has 8 priests from the country, most of them working outside CAR.
As well as serving as Regional Superior, Fr Dennis served on the Council of the Bight of Benin District-in-formation, which covers Benin, Nigeria, Niger and the Central African Republic.
The diocese of Berbérati, erected in 1955, is half the size of Ireland covering 45,000 sq kms (Ireland has 84,000 sq kms). The diocese has a population of 450,000, of which 25% are Catholic. Berbérati has 22 parishes served by 33 priests (25 diocesan, 1 Fidei Donum and 7 missionaries) to cover this vast area. There are also 4 religious Brothers, 26 Sisters. The diocese has 16 Major seminarians.
With the experience of the different posts of responsibilities he has been entrusted with, the Bishop-elect is eminently suited for his new post. All of Fr Dennis’s confreres in the Society of African Missions wish him every grace and blessing in his future ministry. Ad Multos Annos!