Presidents Felix Tshisekedi and Denis Sassou Nguesso at the burial of Cardinal Laurent Monsengwo

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Kinshasa, July 22nd, 2021 (CPA).- Cardinal Laurent Monsengwo Pasinya, who died on July 11th in Versailles, France, was buried on Wednesday at Notre Dame of Congo Cathedral in Kinshasa alongside Cardinals Joseph-Albert Malula and Frederic Etsou Nzabi Bamungwabi, in the new crypts set up within this temple of the Eucharist to accommodate a greater number of bodies.

The President of the Republic, Felix Antoine Tshisekedi Tshilombo and his counterpart Denis Sassou Nguesso of the Republic of Congo (Brazzaville) attended the suffrage mass called in memory of the illustrious disappeared, shortly before his burial.

This Mass, which had Cardinal Philippe Ouedraogo, Archbishop of Ouagadougou as officiant of the day, was concelebrated by Cardinals Fridolin Ambongo, Archbishop of Kinshasa, John Onaiyekan, Archbishop Emeritus of Abudja, and Dieudonne Nzapalainga, Archbishop of Bangui.

We also noted the presence of several other religious delegations from N’Djamena, Chad, Kigali, Rwanda, Kinkala and Owando, Congo/Brazzaville.

High political figures, soldiers, national police, diplomats and family members had also come in large numbers to pay their last respects to the eminent Prince of the Church, « Tata » Laurent Monsengwo Pasinya.

The Prime Minister, Jean-Michel Sama Lukonde Kienge, the presidents of the Senate, Bahati Lukwebo and of the National Assembly, Mboso Nkodia Pwanga also attended this Eucharistic celebration.

The Mass ended with the absolves of the farewells said by Cardinal Antoine Kambanda, Archbishop of Kigali, Rwanda.

Only fifteen people were allowed to attend in privacy, the burial of the illustrious disappeared.

They are Presidents Felix-Antoine Tshisekedi Tshilombo and his counterpart Denis Sassou Nguesso of Congo/Brazzaville as well as the governor of Kinshasa city, Gentiny Ngobila Mbaka alongside cardinals and two members of the family.

Call to God to rise up men like Monsengwo

During the mass he concelebrated in homage to Cardinal Monsengwo, in Notre-Dame of Congo Cathedral, with several cardinals, archbishops and bishops from African episcopal conferences, Cardinal Dieudonne Nzapalahinga, Archbishop of Bangui, implored God to arouse men committed to working for the advent of peace, solidarity and happiness in Africa and in the world to the dimension of the heart of Cardinal Laurent Monsengwo Pasinya.

The Archbishop of Bangui chose the Gospel of St Matthew, 5, 1-12 which, according to him, reflects the priestly and episcopal life of Cardinal Laurent Monsengwo Pasinya.

He made it known that in the beatitudes; Jesus calls us to work for true happiness, to desire the new life that God offers to his people. And through love we pass from death to life.

He revealed that Cardinal Laurent Monsengwo was enlightened by the example of Jesus, that of love. Despite criticism and persecution, he was determined to seek the happiness of the people. And the cardinal’s testimony reminds us that we must always proclaim the word of God in time and out of time, whatever the ups and downs.

For him, the man who announces the word of God is not a politician but he does it in the name of the gospel, because the word of God, when it is binding, never remains without producing an effect.

He was the servant of the gospel from which he drew his spiritual and intellectual strength.

The song very dear to Cardinal Laurent Monsengwo Pasinya: “Arise and shine with the light of Christ”, was repeated in Cardinal Dieudonne Nzapalahinga’s homily for its synthetic content, through evangelical values, avant-garde values, Christian coherence.

“Like Saint Paul: You fought the good fight, finished the race and kept the faith”, he concluded.

The abbot rector of the major theological seminary of Saint John XXIII and president of the Kinshasa clergy, in his funeral oration, considered Cardinal Laurent Monsengwo Pasinya as a glorious and venerable pastor, while recalling his interpellation “lokuta ndeko ya moyibi” (the lie goes with theft.

Congolese urged to work together to end conflicts

The officiant of the day, the Archbishop of Ouagadougou in Burkina-Faso, Cardinal Philippe Ouédraogo, on behalf of the Symposium of Episcopal Conferences of Africa and Madagascar (SCEAM), underlined that the leaders, the citizens of DRC must work together to end the relentless conflict and violence on the vulnerable population as well as silence the guns for a peaceful existence and universal brotherhood.

For his part, the brother of Cardinal Monsengwo thanked the Church and the authorities for evacuating the Cardinal abroad for proper care and repatriation of the remains as well as their assistance during this harsh ordeal.

Cardinal Monsengwo, a gift from God

Cardinal Monsengwo is a gift from God, to the Nation and to the Church, from a great pastor, a venerable predecessor, Cardinal Fridolin Ambongo said in his speech, Metropolitan Archbishop of Kinshasa.

He thanked the President of the Republic, Felix Antoine Tshisekedi for his support as well as his counterpart from the Republic of Congo/Brazzaville, Denis Sassou Nguesso, for his proximity, before wishing its sustainability as well as the presidents of two chambers of Parliament for their involvement in the success of the funeral due to their friendship, their Catholic faith and their consideration.

To the governor of the city province of Kinshasa, he expressed his gratitude for his considerable contribution in order to allow the Kinshasa people to pay a dignified homage to the late Cardinal Laurent Monsengwo Pasinya and to the cardinal college.

The delegation of the Symposium of Bishops’ Conferences of Africa and Madagascar (SECAM) also paid tribute to their former member who served two terms in this pan-African body.

Brief biographical notes

Father Laurent Monsengwo Pasinya was ordained Bishop in 1980, 41 years ago, by Pope John Paul II, at the esplanade of the People’s Palace, in Kinshasa. He was the very first African exegete chosen from among the 9 Cardinals appointed to the Roman Curia by Pope Francis.

Cardinal emeritus, Laurent Monsengwo Pasinya was Archbishop of Kisangani then Archbishop of Kinshasa.

Last Tuesday, on the sidelines of the funeral in memory of the illustrious disappeared at the esplanade of the People’s Palace, Cardinal Laurent Monsengwo Pasinya was decorated, by the President of the Republic, posthumously, with the Grand cordon medal and admitted into the National Order of National Heroes Kabila-Lumumba, the highest honorary distinction in the country.

Evacuated by a special medical flight to Versailles, France, on July 6th, 2021 in critical condition, Cardinal Laurent Monsengwo died five days later, recalls.

Monsengwo, a man who calls for excellence

Provincial Minister Tenge Te Litho recognized, in Cardinal Laurent Monsengwo Pasinya, a man who calls for excellence to neglect nothing in life and to aim high.

Through his soft voice, a true and sharp word shines through, and was for him a father adviser as burgomaster. ACP/AWA