Pope Francis has accepted the age-related resignation of the German bishop of the diocese of Nouakchott in Mauritania, Martin Happe. This was announced by the Vatican press office on Saturday. The 78-year-old Happe was born in Sendenhorst, Münsterland, and belongs to the religious order of the Missionaries of Africa ("White Fathers"). In 1995, Pope John Paul II appointed him as the third bishop of Nouakchott. It is the only Roman Catholic diocese in the north-west African country and comprises around 4,000 Catholics, most of whom come from abroad.
After his ordination as a priest in 1973, Happe went to the diocese of Mopti in Mali as a missionary. He worked there until his appointment as Bishop of Nouakchott, most recently as Apostolic Administrator. The new Bishop of Nouakchott will be the previous Vicar General of the diocese, Victor Ndione. According to the Vatican, the 50-year-old was born in Senegal and was the first priest to be incardinated in the diocese of Nouakchott in 2014. He had been vicar general in Nouakchott since 2018 and was therefore the bishop's "alter ego".
In December, Pope Francis had already accepted the age-related resignations of two other German bishops: Norbert Klemens Strotmann Hoppe had previously been bishop of the diocese of Chosica in Peru's capital Lima, Heinz Wilhelm Steckling bishop of the diocese of Ciudad del Este in Paraguay. (cbr)