Kinshasa, February 20st, 2023 (CPA).- The granite anniversary (90 years) of St. Peter’s parish whose activities were launched on Sunday by the vicar general and auxiliary bishop of the archdiocese of Kinshasa, Bishop Carlos Ndaka, is placed under the sign of holiness and love.
« In the name of Cardinal Fridolin Ambongo Besungu, I declare open the activities marking the 90th anniversary of St Peter’s parish, which I ask you to place under the sign of holiness and love, » he declared during his homily.
In this festive atmosphere of 90 years of St. Peter’s Parish, Bishop Carlos Ndaka invited the parishioners to love their neighbours, inspired by the word of God in the Gospel of Matthew 5, 38-48: « You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbour and hate your enemy. But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do well to those who hate you, and pray for those who abuse and persecute you ».
« Let us love our enemies… this marks the difference between Christianity and other religions, » the Vicar General added. He blasted that churches have become like theatres. « Why all these troubles. You pretend to pray with your brother but you don’t love him, you don’t carry him in your heart, » he asked.
Bishop Carlos Ndaka emphasised that God looks at the inner being, the heart, and not the outer finery. « Let us be aware of this in this jubilee season and change our behaviour…let us cultivate love not only in the Church but also in our communities as the Lord loved the Church, » he added.
« Let no one take responsibility for the parish which must be rebuilt and restored, it is a matter for all. We are thinking more about the challenges of sanitation. The parish of Saint Peter is located in the municipality of Kinshasa, in a swampy municipality. When it rains, the water stagnates in the parish and we are thinking of raising the level of the parish by April, God willing, so that the water does not submerge us anymore, » explained Father Simon Zindo.
During the launching of the 90th anniversary activities of the parish of Saint Peter, restoration work is planned for the church, including roofing, installing modern ceilings, building a kindergarten and modernising the parish hall, he said.
Saint Peter in the heart of the African city
« You are Peter and on this rock I will build my church (Mt 16, 17) », the parish of Saint Peter in the town of Kinshasa is the image of the Apostle Peter that Jesus Christ addressed this word remained historical. This apostle of Jesus Christ is therefore the patron saint of this parish, which was established in 1933.
The parish of Saint Peter in Kinshasa is the third in the Archdiocese of Kinshasa after the parish of Saint Leopold in Ngaliema in 1906 and Saint Anne in Gombe in 1915. This parish is among the first foundations of Christianity in the Democratic Republic of Congo and more particularly in the Archdiocese of Kinshasa. The esplanade of the parish is marked by the monument of Saint Peter.
The Parish of Saint Peter has had more than twenty priests, with the first Congolese priest in its history being the late Cardinal Malula (in 1959). The first two Cardinals of DRC were parish priests at Saint Pierre: Abbot Joseph Malula (1959-1960) and Father Frederic Etsou (from 1968-1976).
The parish had in fact been governed for years by the Fathers of the Community of the Immaculate Heart of Mary (CCIM), commonly known as the Fathers of Scheut.
Generations of Congolese executives claim to belong to this parish. They are proud to testify that they have evolved within the framework of this parish as committed and simple faithful.
And around the parish of Saint Peter, a chain of schools that are the pride of the municipality of Kinshasa, Lycee Kabambare and Saint Pierre College. There are also social centres, the Bondeko Centre, a parish hall for multi-purpose activities, the hospice for the elderly, health centres, physical culture and capacity building.
Not to mention the Cardinal Malula stadium, formerly “24 Novembre” (November 24th), and the Mongita hall for socio-cultural activities.
This parish was built on a block of stone in an indigenous and swampy city, unlike Saint Anne and Saint Leopold where the Belgians lived at the time of colonisation. As Louis Yele testifies: The parish of Saint Peter is the image of a church in the centre of the city occupied by the natives.
Father Zindo added: « At 90 years old, the parish of Saint Peter is a reference church. It was built for the natives during the colonial era, to separate them from the city dwellers who prayed at Saint Anne’s in the municipality of Gombe. Cardinals Malula and Etsou, Bishop Matondo and the Holy Father John-¨Paul II, if I am not mistaken, attended this parish. The Bilenge ya Mwinda movement was born in Saint Peter’s… it is really a historical parish, » argued Abbot Simon Zindo.
History tells us that Monsignor Matondo Ignace launched and created the Bilenge ya Mwinda Group on May 1st, 1971 in the framework of the Saint Pierre parish. CPA/