A Brief History of Catholic Diocese of Kenema
The diocese of Kenema is situated in the Eastern Province of Sierra Leone and includes the civil districts of Kenema, Kailahun and Kono. It was formerly part of the diocese of Freetown and Bo which had been entrusted to the Holy Ghost Fathers by the Holy See. The new diocese was erected on 11th November, 1970 by Pope Paul VI with Msgr. Joseph Henry Ganda appointed as the first bishop. The Episcopal Ordination of the first indigenous bishop of Sierra Leone, Most Rev. Dr. Joseph Henry Ganda, took place in Kenema, on February 21, 1971. These two events were of great significance to the church in Sierra Leone.
The erection of a diocese in the country was a future sign of the development of the Church in a small country where the Church has been for over hundred years. The appointment and ordination of the first Sierra Leonean Catholic Bishop to head a diocese in Sierra Leone was a great sign of the assurance of the future of the Church as regards indigenisation. Both event were very welcome and a reason for great joy to the country as a whole – the Local Catholics, Missionaries, Moslems and Christians of other denominations
Today, the Diocese of Kenema is a flourishing church with approximately 80,000 Catholics. At the moment, there are 16 parishes and 21 diocesan priests who together with Spiritan priests of the Sierra Leone Foundation look after the Spiritual and Pastoral needs of the entire people of God. Alongside the clergy, the diocese has a good number of both male and female religious who collaborate with the clergy in the work of evangelisation. The school system continues to provide us with the main avenue of approach in our work of evangelisation. As it is now, the diocese has many primary and secondary schools which constantly support her mission of evangelisation. This reality presents bright prospects and gives great optimism for the future.