Basankusu, DR Congo: Celebrating Education
The Bishop of Basankusu, Monsignor Joseph MOKOBE NDJOKU, officially launched the series of preparatory activities for the golden jubilee of the Diocesan Coordination of Catholic ‘Convention’ Schools, today Catholic Administered Schools.
The ceremony began with the Holy Spirit Mass that Monsignor MOKOBE presided over in the Saint Peter and Paul Cathedral of Basankusu, this Thursday, March 30 , 2023.
Already at the opening of the Mass, the Bishop of Basankusu specified that it is not only a question of the commemoration of the 46th anniversary of our Coordinating Office of Catholic Convention Schools, but also and above all of the launch of a journey which will lead us, moved by the Holy Spirit, towards the celebration of the golden jubilee of our commitment, as a Church, to ensure good education and quality instruction for our young people and children in our schools. This is a noble and sacred mission that we can only carry out under the impulse of the love of God which has been poured into our hearts by the Holy Spirit who has been given to us (Rom 5,5 ) .
It should be remembered that the efforts of our Local Church in the area of education go hand in hand with the history of its Evangelization. Already in 1905, with the arrival of the first MILL HILL Missionaries, there was the opening of catechetical schools wherever mission stations were erected. From 1926 to 1959, under the direction of Monsignor Gérard WANTENAAR, first as Apostolic Prefect and then Apostolic Vicar, and Monsignor William Van KESTER, Apostolic Vicar and First Bishop of the Basankusu Diocese, our Missionary Fathers of MILL HILL produced an abundant work in the education sector: opening of primary schools with a 5-year cycle in each mission post, teacher training schools with a 3 to 4-year post-primary cycle, and vocational schools in accordance with specific needs populations at that time. Years later came the opening first level secondary education schools in Bonkita, Baringa and Yalisele. And later, the erection of secondary schools with complete humanities in the centers of all the parishes of the Diocese. All under the name of Catholic schools.
At that time, the management of Catholic schools was ensured by Inspectors. In the Diocese of Basankusu, it is appropriate to mention the name of Father Mathieu WANTENBERG, this valiant worker of the Gospel who died in a traffic accident while he was in the middle of an inspection mission in schools. The last on the list of Inspectors was Father Toussaint GOESSENS.
The transition from Catholic education to Catholic ‘conventioned’ education took place in 1977, after a two-year experience of the nationalisation decreed, at the time, by the government of the Republic of Zaire, from 1975 to 1977. Having recovered, the Zairian State signed, in 1977, an agreement which governs the management of public schools of the State entrusted to the religious denominations signatories of the said agreement. Hence the creation of Coordinating Offices as a technical structure that helps each Legal Representative to properly manage the schools in his network.
From 1977 to the present day, the Coordinating Office of the Catholic Convention Schools of Basankusu has known six Diocesan Coordinators: Father Toussaint GOESSENS, Mr. Joseph BONGWELE, Mr. Jean-Paul EEKE, Mr. Pierre LOMPALA, Mr. Abbé Dieudonné ELUO and, currently, Father Jean-Paul LOKOMBE.
The Coordinating Office always works with the technical support of the Education Advisors. At the primary level, we can cite Mr. Pierre BOMOLO, Mr. Camille LIKILIYONGO and Bernard AGOLA, on behalf of the Basankusu and Bongandanga Territories ; Mr. Jean MAKUKU and Mr. Camille GBANGA for the Territory of Bolomba ; Mr. ENGUNDA, Mr. Prospère BAKOLI and Mr. Cosmas IYANDA for the Territory of Befale ; Mr. BOPANGO and Mr. Joseph BAHALIBANGA for the Territory of Djolu . At the secondary level, the Diocese has known as Teaching Advisors Father Fons EPPINK, Miss Jeanne-Marie ABANDA, Mr. Pierre NDUMBENGANDO and Father Jean-Paul LOKOMBE.
In the particular experience of our Diocese, the Coordinating Office of Basankusu has generated three other Managing Offices. In particular the Basa II Coordinating Office in Befale , the Basa III Coordinating Office in Bolomba and the Resident Counselor in Simba. With three coordinating offices and a Resident Councillor, the Diocese of Basankusu currently has 492 schools of Catholic orientation, including 43 nursery schools, 304 primary schools and 144 secondary schools.
The Basa II/ Befale Coordinating Office , after having been directed by Mr. Louis-Gérard LOKESA who has been called to serve as Provincial Director of the EPST of the Educational Province Tshuapa II, in Bokungu , this office is currently headed by Reverend Sister Marie-Noël BONDOLA, member of the Institute of Consecrated Life under diocesan right, the Congregation of the Sisters of Saint Thérèse of the Child Jesus of Basankusu. The Basa III Coordinating Office is headed by Mr. Bernard NGWALO and the Resident Counseling office by Mr. Vincent LOKONGO.
In the journey towards the celebration of the Golden Jubilee of the Coordinating Office of the Catholic Guidance Schools of Basankusu, let us raise our fervent prayers to ask that the Lord deign to purify the thoughts of our hearts by pouring out his Spirit, so that, with renewed strength, we can render our praise to God by our commitment to offer our young people and children a good education and quality instruction, in a Christian spirit.
Jean Calvin MOTUBA NZALE
Communications Manager. –