He was elected Tuesday by his fellow bishops who were gathered in Kinshasa for their plenary assembly. The prelates also designated as deputy chairman Bishop Tarcisse Tshibangu Thsishiku of Mbujimayi.

Archbishop Monsengwo, who succeeds Cardinal Frédéric Etsou of Kinshasa in the post, was born in 1939 in Mongobele.

He was ordained a priest in 1963 and named auxiliary bishop of Inongo in May 1980. He served as auxiliary bishop of Kisangani from 1981 to 1988, and was designated bishop in September 1988.

He served as secretary-general of the episcopal conference from 1976 to 1980 and chairman from 1984 to 1992.