He will feed his flock like a shepherd, he will gather the lambs in his arms, he will carry them in his bosom, and gently lead those that are with young, (Is 40:11). This passage has been our (Marius Tapang et Patrick Lonkoy) driving force as we continue to practice our missionary charism. We are called to love and to serve where the need is greatest: to go to the people most abandoned and poorest in the means of grace. Indeed, working in St. François de Paul, (a parish which is on the periphery of Kinshasa, the capital city of DRC) is the fulfilment of our charism. It is sad to note that in spite of the area being close to Kinshasa, it is still very poor, with no electricity and clean water. The majority of people living here are very poor.
The above aspects had lessened the accessibility of priests in many communities. There are some communities where Catholic Christians who came from Kinshasa have joined other churches since there was no Catholic Church in the area. In fact, in many communities we celebrate Mass under a tree. Our presence has brought a lot of joy to many people.
Despite of much work in the parish, where more needs to be done, the archdiocese too needs our participation at the deanery level, as I have been asked to be the chaplain for married couples at the deanery level in a deanery consisting of seven big parishes. I take it as a big challenge as well as an opportunity for learning. On the 5th of March, 2021, I had a meeting with all the leaders of the couples from the seven parishes. We had made a pastoral plan: their formation as well as my pastoral visits to their respective parishes.
On March 8, 2021, we took the opportunity of Women’s Day, to celebrate together with our couples from the parish. It was a very colorful celebration. We were blessed to have Fr. Richard, the assistant dean among us. We need your prayers as we continue ministering the people of St. François de Paul and the couples in the deanery of St. Eugene.
PATRICK LONKOY BOLENGU, MHM.