Vatican City (Fides Service) – The Holy Father, Pope John Paul II has, (15 April 2003) accepted the renunciation of the Pastoral Government of the diocese of Bafia, Cameroon, presented by Bishop Athanase Bala, C. S. Sp., in conformity with the Code of Canon Law, canon 401,1.
The Holy Father Pope John Paul II has (15 April 2003) appointed Bishop of Bafia, Cameroon, Reverend Jean Marie Balla, until now Rector of the minor seminary of Yaounde.
Reverend Father Jean Marie Balla was born on 10 May 1959 in Oweng, diocese of Mbalmayo. He was studied for the priesthood in Cameroon and was ordained on 20 June 1987 for the diocese of Yaounde. He has since been: assistant priest, parish priest and diocesan chaplain for schools; diocesan vice-procurator; rector of Yaounde minor seminary and professor at the major seminary in Nkolbisson.
The diocese of Bafia, created in 1968, is a suffragan of the Metropolitan See of Yaounde. It is situated in the Central Province of Cameroon and embraces two civil districts. It has an area of 34,600 sq. km., a population of 325,000 of whom 197,054 are Catholics, gathered in 15 parishes, looked after by 21 priests (14 diocesan and 7 religious), 11 Brothers, 46 nuns and 15 major seminarians. (Fides Service 5/5/2003 EM lines 19 Words: 229)