Cardinal Dieudonné Nzapalainga, C.S.Sp., Archbishop of Bangui, Central African Republic, was born on March 14th, 1967 in Mbomou, in the diocese of Bangassou, Central African Republic. After primary school, he entered the minor seminary of Saint Louis of Bangassou and then the Saints Apôtres major seminary of Philosophy of Otélé, Cameroon, before continuing his studies at the Daniel Brottier Spiritan major seminary, in Libreville Gabon.
He gave his first vows in the Congregation of the Spiritan Fathers on September 8th, 1993 and his perpetual vows on September 6th, 1997. He was ordained a priest on August 9th, 1998. In the following years he obtained a licentiate in theology at the Centre Sèvres of the Jesuits Fathers in France, but was then recalled to the Central African Republic by his Institute to curry out the functions of Regional Superior.
While in France, from 1998 to 2005, he was Chaplain of the orphans of the Fondation d’Auteuil and assistant priest at St. Jerôme, Marseille; he returned to Central Africa as Regional Superior of the Spiritan Fathers and parish priest in Bangui from 2005-2009. From 2008 to 2009 he was president of the Conference of Major Superiors of Central Africa.
Since 2009 he has been apostolic administrator of Bangui, and on May 14th, 2012 Pope Benedict XVI appointed him as metropolitan archbishop of Bangui. He received episcopal consecration on July 22nd of the same year.
Since July 2013 he has served as president of the Episcopal Conference of the Central African Republic, and in that capacity he participated in the Third Extraordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops on the Family in October 2014.
In November of 2015 he welcomed Pope Francis in his diocese; in Bangui the Holy Father opened the first door of the Holy Year of Mercy.
Personally committed to the peace process in his country, in 2013 he participated, alongside the president of the Islamic Council and the president of the Evangelical Alliance in Bangui, in the foundation of the interfaith Platform for Peace in Central Africa.
He is the youngest and Central Africa’s first cardinal.
Created and proclaimed Cardinal by Pope Francis in the consistory of 19 November 2016
• Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples;
• Pontifical Council for Inter-religious Dialogue.