Sister Marie Bontole, a Daughter of Jesus on mission in Kinshasa, shares with us some of the key elements of what the Congolese people experienced during the Pope’s visit to the DRC in early February.
Preparations for the visit
The preparations were varied … political, spiritual, social, material, sanitary… with all of the Congolese people contributing so that the visit could take place in good conditions. The government, proud to welcome not only the head of the Catholic Church but also the Head of State of the Vatican, did everything possible to organise the reception of the Holy Father.
Throughout this time of preparation, we felt a strong fever as we awaited the arrival of the Pope. The airport of Ndolo where His Holiness was going to celebrate Holy Mass was magnificent, well decorated. The city of Kinshasa had put on its finery as the real “Kin the beautiful” of former times. The military was mobilised, with awareness campaigns here and there.
The spiritual preparation
The Congolese people prepared for this visit with recollection and prayer. During the three days preceding the arrival of the Holy Father, the Church of God in the DRC, and particularly in Kinshasa, organised a Triduum of prayer in each parish. We entrusted the journey and the stay of the Holy Father in our country to the Lord, so that everything would take place peacefully. This spiritual preparation extended even to the revivalist churches who held multiple prayer sessions for the Holy Father’s intentions.
Catholic and non-Catholic artists in turn composed beautiful songs of welcome expressing the joy and especially the desire of the Congolese people to live in hope and peace, thanks to the presence of the Holy Father in the DRC. en RDC.
A presence full of hope
The visit of the Holy Father made the Congolese people feel “honoured“, a people who, in this difficult time of aggression and war, have felt forgotten and ignored by many. His presence was a presence of hope in the face of despair.
These desperate people welcomed the Pope’s various exhortations with joy. Some said they felt comforted. Others say that the visit of His Holiness has strengthened their faith. With all the Congolese people, we too affirm that the presence of the Pope has rekindled hope in the hearts of many Congolese, Christians or not and that we are proud of it.
Thanks to the Holy Father’s message to the victims of the war in the East, to the catechists and to the young people, all the Congolese feel supported and encouraged to continue to live reconciliation among themselves, in the churches, the political parties. We have the mission to live a fraternal life, to love our country, to consider ourselves truly as brothers and sisters in order to work for the advent of peace, justice, and the dignity of the person.
Our mission of humanisation
As Daughters of Jesus, with a mission of humanisation and humanity in the heart of this war-torn people, we allowed ourselves :
- to be moved, challenged and revitalized by the words of the Holy Father,
- to be led each day along the pathways of Christ’s humanity by being closer to these people.