BIOGRAPHICAL PROFILE OF MOST REV. DR.
BOB JOHN H. KOROMA
BISHOP OF THE DIOCESE OF MAKENI
The Bishop of the Diocese of Makeni, Mons. Dr. Bob John H. Koroma, son of Momoh Thanko Koroma from Mankoreh Village and Elizabeth Isatu Fornah from Kathiri village—Safroko Limba Chiefdom, (of blessed memo-ries), was born in Makeni City, on November 17, 1971. Though both parents were Muslims, Elizabeth Isatu Fornah, inspired by her priest-son later con-verted to Catholicism in 2006 and was baptised and confirmed by Most Rev. George Biguzzi at the Easter Vigil Mass in 2010.
As providence could have it, the young Hassan was raised by his paternal aunt, Mrs. Mary Magbity nee Koroma, of blessed memory, commonly known as Nurse Mary in the Biriwa Chiefdom who happened to be a devout Catholic. Thus, Bob John was eventually baptized at the Our Lady of Sierra Leone Par-ish, Kamabai on May 3rd 1983 by Fr. Franco Manganello, s.x., and he was confirmed in the same Church by Bishop Augustus Azzolini, the first Bishop of the Diocese of Makeni on May 15, 1983. Nurse Mary‘s nursing career meant that the young Bob John had to put up with constant transfers which included frequently changing primary schools in the Bombali and Tonkolili Districts: R.C. Primary School – Kamabai; Our Lady of Fatima Primary School – Makeni; United Methodist Church (UMC) Primary School – Makeni; Tonkolili District Educational Community (TDEC) Primary School – Magburaka. Finally, he ended his primary education at the RC Primary School – Kamabai where it all began as he successfully went through the Selective Entrance Examinations and was admitted into the Kamabai Secondary School in 1984 to commence his secondary school education.
In 1987, Bob John felt the urge to enter into the priesthood through the inspi-ration of his first cousin, Fr. Henry Magbity, and through the recommenda-tions of Rev. Fr. Herondi Fernandez, got admitted into the St. Francis Junior Seminary, where he had to continue his secondary education at the St. Francis Secondary School in Makeni under the tutelage of Frs. William Camera s.x, Joseph Rabito s.x. and Mons Daniel E. Kamara as Rectors. Under the watch-ful care of the Christian Brothers, with Brother Patrick Titus Coffey of blessed memory as principal of St. Francis Secondary School, the young Bob John successfully obtained his University requirements in 1989 and was recom-mended to the St. Kizito‘s Pre-Major Seminary in Kenema to commence his formation officially as a Catholic priest with Fr. Raymond Barry as Rector. After a successful one-year stint in Kenema, Bob John was recommended to the Major Seminary to pursue his philosophical and theological studies to be-come a Catholic Priest. By this time, war had engulfed Liberia and the St. Paul‘s Major Seminary was relocated from Gbarnga, Bong County to Makeni where Bob John did all his Major Seminary formation, coming out with a Bachelor in Philosophy and a Bachelor in Theology, spiced with a pastoral year as a teacher of English Language and Religious Moral Education at the Kolenten Secondary Secondary in Kambia, in 1994.
On May 15, 1998, Bob John was ordained a deacon by Most Rev. George Bi-guzzi, Bishop Emeritus of the Diocese of Makeni at the Our Lady of Fatima Cathedral and was assigned to the Our Lady of Lourdes Parish under the watchful eyes of Rev. Fr. Louis Koroma to exercise his diaconate ministry. During that time, he also lectured Educational Psychology at the then Port Loko Teachers‘ College.
On April 25th, 1999, Rev. Bob John Koroma was ordained to the priesthood by Most Rev. George Biguzzi, Bishop Emeritus of the Diocese of Makeni in Lungi that was then the only safe haven in a war-ravaged Makeni Diocese. After a brief pastoral experience of working with a battalion of the Sierra Le-onean Armed Forces (RSLAF) for six months at the Christ the King Parish in Bumbuna, Fr. Bob was immediately sent to do his postgraduate studies in Rome – Italy, where he obtained a Licentia Docendi/Masters Degree (SSL 2004) in Sacred Scriptures and Biblical Linguistics at the Pontifical Biblical Institute – Gregorian University, and his Doctorate in Sacred Theology (STD 2006) specializing in Biblical Science at the Pontifical Urban University in Rome. Upon completion of his studies he sought his Bishop‘s permission and spent a year at both St. Catherine of Siena Parish, Little Compton and St. Madeleine Sophie Parish, Tiverton, Rhode Island in the United States of America doing pastoral work and teaching Religious and Moral Studies to high school students.
On his return to Sierra Leone in October 2007, Rev. Fr. Dr. Bob John Koroma was assigned to the St. Paul‘s Major Seminary – Regent, Freetown for seven years as formator, lecturer in all Scriptural courses and Biblical Languages, and as Dean of Academic Affairs of the Seminary. In addition to his official duties in the seminary, Rev. Fr. Bob John worked devotedly at the St. Paul‘s Community Church of Regent in Freetown, first as Assistant Priest-in-Charge and later as Priest-in-Charge.
On Fr. Bob John‘s return to the Diocese at the end of 2014, he was briefly as-signed to the United Kingdom by the Apostolic Administrator – Bishop Natale Paganelli, to do Mission Appeals on behalf of victims of Ebola. After which he was assigned for the first time as Parish Priest at the Immaculate Concep-tion Parish – Magburaka, while he was helping as a part-time lecturer of Com-munication Skills at the University of Makeni (Unimak).
On November 29, 2015, Rev. Fr. Bob John Koroma was appointed Vicar General of the Diocese of Makeni by Bishop Natale Paganelli, the Apostol-ic Administrator of the Diocese of Makeni, and then reassigned as the Ad-ministrator of the Our Lady of Fatima Cathedral where he has been doing pastoral ministry until he was appointed by Pope Francis as Bishop of the Diocese of Makeni on February 11, 2023.
Besides the aforementioned assignments and tasks prior to his appointment as Bishop, Monsignor Bob John has served the following Church-based Boards, Councils and Commissions as: Member of the National Advisory Board – CARITAS Sierra Leone (2016-2018); Acting Director – CARI-TAS Makeni (2017); Acting Director – Diocesan Justice and Peace Com-mission, (2017-2018); Chairman – Board of Directors, Holy Spirit Hospi-tal, Makeni (2018-2022); Member – Governing Council and Board of Trus-tees, University of Makeni (2016-2023); Member – College of Consultors, Diocese of Makeni (2016-2023); Member – Presbyteral Council, Diocese of Makeni (2016-2023); Defender of the Bond, Marriage Tribunal, Diocese of Makeni (2016-2023); and Chairman – Board of Governors, Binkolo Catholic Secondary School (2019-2022).
On this day of his episcopal ordination, Mons Bob John Hassan Koroma is, in the first place, grateful to God for all the manifold blessings bestowed on him in his half a century of life and to all whom God placed in his path to help him reach this remarkable height of service as the Chief Shepherd of the Diocese of Makeni. With deep humility he asks for divine wisdom and for the collaboration of all to help him carry out conscientiously his pasto-ral duty as a Bishop in the Church of Sierra Leone and particularly in the Diocese of Makeni.