On Sunday 24th June 2023, Saint Francois de Paule parish was honoured with the presence of Bishop Joseph Mokobe Ndjoku, of the Catholic Diocese of Basankusu, to spend this meaningful and historical moment with us.
First of all, on Saturday evening, he received a warm welcome by the parishioners. The Mill Hill students, local leaders, security officers, Christian communities as well as some priests from the deanery all participated in the welcoming ceremony. Fr. Patrick Lonkoy MHM gave the welcoming address, followed by the presentation of a bouquet of flowers to the bishop.
On Sunday morning, at around 9am, invited guests and all the aforementioned categories of people had all gathered around a well decorated podium to take part in the celebration of the inauguration and blessing of our new parish house. It was a befitting celebration which marks a significant development in our parish history. The Mass was animated by the fantastic choir (Sacred Heart of Jesus Choir) of the diocese of Basankusu residing in Kinshasa.
Bishop Mokobe, in his homily, expressed his contentment saying, “I feel proud to have been chosen as the main celebrant, to remember and show gratitude to the Mill Hill Missionaries who have been working in Basankusu since 1905. Now that the society has expanded to the Archdiocese of Kinshasa and the mission herein is taking shape, it is now time to develop ties between the Diocese of Basankusu and the Archdiocese of Kinshasa. I am very much impressed with the development of this parish, just in two years”.
He reminded Christians that it is their responsibility to continue with the great work they have started. We should first and foremost strive hard to announce the good news of truth so that our society may be transformed and ensure that there is no communal unrest in the community.
At the offertory time, all the communities of the parish showcased their hidden talents with a wonderful and scintillating offertory dance for which they received the roaring applause from the visitors – a fusion of Kinshasa and Basankusu sparkling realm of dances. In a nutshell, a meaningful and heart touching musical performance was demonstrated, giving the beautiful message of hope-filled parish to all gathered.
In his thanking remarks, Fr. Patrick Lonkoy, MHM said “If this edifice has stood erect today, it is the joint effort of all the members of Mose family – the first pioneer pastor in absentia, Fr. Marius Tapang, MHM, and well-wishers, especially, our General Council and Irish Region. More so, at the occasion, the architect of the building, the builders, plumbers and the electricians were also congratulated. So it is a day of rejoicing, a day of celebration and a day of performing”, he added.
After the final blessing, all proceeded to the new house where the bishop led the ceremony of blessing through the cutting of a ribbon, prayer service, and later he blessed the interior of each room and siding by sprinkling the holy water as the choir sang songs to the Holy Spirit. Following the blessing, the dignitaries and the guests were led into the new spacious dining room for a meal. The inauguration ceremony ended in a happy and fun celebration, kudos to the parish team, those who contributed generously and the Sacred Heart of Jesus Choir that put up a fabulous show of music, dance and entertainment.
We thank Fr. Patrick Lonkoy Bolengu mhm for the great work he has done.
Gabriel Lofembe, Mill Hill student