Kinshasa February 2nd, 2023 (CPA).- The culture of peace, forgiveness and love of community were recommended on Wednesday to Congolese Christians and elsewhere by Pope Francis during his Eucharistic celebration in Ndolo, on the second day of his apostolic journey to Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).
“Brothers and sisters, we are called to be missionaries of peace and this will give us peace, it is a choice. To make peace, for all of us, is to believe that ethnic, regional, social and religious differences come later, and are not obstacles; believe that the others are brothers and sisters, members of the same human community (….)”, affirmed the sovereign pontiff, in his homily taken from the book of the prophet Isaiah and the Gospel of St John, read before 2 millions of followers.
It is also, according to His Holiness, “to believe that we Christians are called to collaborate with everyone, to break the circle of violence and to dismantle the plot of detestation”.
« Let’s give Christ the possibility to heal our hearts, let’s throw in him the past, all the fears and all the anxieties. How beautiful it is to open the doors of the heart and his house to peace! , exclaimed Pope, ordering: “Peace to you! Exhibit it; it will be a prophecy for the country”.
The Bishop of Rome invited everyone to be “witnesses of love”, who preach “fraternity, love and forgiveness. Not those who seek their interests”.
He further defined the community as « an environment which must be respected and preserved, to give it the chance to benefit its members, by defying anti-values such as selfishness, greed and corruption. »
Ndolo Airport, an “open-air cathedral”
From 4 a.m., the entrances to Ndolo airport were already open to receive Christians burning with the desire to participate in the mass celebrated by Pope Francis, noted CPA.
Bishops from the Congo and elsewhere, priests, nuns, faithful Catholics and Catholic notables, of all tendencies, came very early in the morning to access this space transformed into an “open-air cathedral” compartmentalized into 32 zones.
“We are happy and happy to see that people have shown faith, coming very early in the morning, and some have spent the night here. The rest of us spent the night in the communities, but at 2 am, we were already preoccupied with coming to meet the Holy Father”, reacted Sr Georgine Ngandu, a nun approached by a CPA reporter.
“There is such a craze that if the law enforcement officers are not careful, someone risks getting hurt here. It’s really a terrible craze…”, said, for his part, Justin Kadima, a devout Catholic from Kinshasa, happy with the deployment of law enforcement and security agents, to ensure the smooth running of the papal mass.
According to estimates, 2 million faithful were able to attend the mass said on Wednesday in the morning.
The President of the Republic and his wife, Denise Nyakeru, heads of institutions, diplomats, military personalities and citizens were also present at this Eucharistic meeting.
The remarkable presence of Congolese political opponents Martin Fayulu, Frank Diongo, Moise Katumbi as well as that of Jean-Pierre Bemba and Vital Kamerhe added, according to an observer questioned by CPA, a note of reconciliation to this spiritual meeting.
The organization of the Holy Father’s Eucharist in Ndolo required the requisition of 2,500 doctors and paramedics, 1,000 first aiders, 22 mobile medical units, 7,500 police officers as well as 200 international media, including 80 from the Vatican, and 9,000 volunteers, said we learned from a government source.
Cardinal Ambongo outlines the problems of DRC
In his word of circumstance pronounced at the end of the mass, Cardinal Ambongo outlined the problems of DRC, a shaken country, according to him, by the insecurity in certain corners of the country and which is about to organize its fourth elections.
“Like the other editions, each election year is marked by tensions, we want our country to experience free, transparent and peaceful elections « , he recommended, saying that he wanted to present to the Pope « a people who are confident and full of hope”.
The Metropolitan Archbishop of Kinshasa also expressed his gratitude towards the successor of St. Peter, for “his homily which comes to comfort the faith of young people and Catholic Christians represented at 40% in the country”.
Pope Francis offered Cardinal Ambongo, as a gift, « a chalice of great value« . The Metropolitan Archbishop of Kinshasa, in turn, handed over to the Sovereign Pontiff a painting of the image of the pope saluting the DRC.