Pope Francis in Kinshasa: Impressions of Patrick Lonkoy Bolengu MHM
Day two: The Impression on Pope’s Apostolic Visit to DRC
There are many things that have impressed me so far on the Pope’s Apostolic Visit to DRC. However, I would like to highlight three.
My first impression is that poor infrastructures in DRC or lack of development is also due to lack of willingness from the Government side. Within a period of two weeks, before and during the Pope’s Apostolic Visit, Kinshasa is totally different: All the people who have been selling along the roads have been chased and those places have been cleaned. The traffic jams in Kinshasa have reduced. The Ndolo Airport which had been abandoned for some time has been cleaned and repaired, one may think it is a new airport. In fact, many ‘Kinois,’ (people living in Kinshasa) are crying for more visits from such elites so that the Government can continue to do at least something for the Country.
My second impression comes from Pope’s Homily during his Mass at Ndolo. The Bishop of Rome gave a powerful message to the Congolese and rest of the world during his Homily. The Roman Pontiff preached about peace. He proposes three sources for Peace in the DRC:
First, forgiveness: he asked all the Congolese to be ready to receive forgiveness and grant it to others. Second, Community: We should all learn to live together: rich and poor without discrimination, mutual respect and mutual assistance. Last, Mission: we are all invited by the Holy Father to be at the service of others, to serve others, to serve the nation, to give everyone the chance to live well, to help everyone, without distinction. The equitable sharing of nature’s goods. Not to privilege some, a part of the country, a province to the detriment of others. We should all manage our Common Home well.
My last impression comes from the message given by his Eminence Fridolin Cardinal Ambongo at the end of Pope’s Mass at Ndolo Airport, where we had more than one million people who actively participated in this Holy Mass, including some political figures as well as Catholic and non-Catholic faithful. He talked about two things:
The Suffering of the Congolese People and the election being prepared this year. Fridolin Cardinal Ambongo told Pope Francis: in spite of all the natural resources in DRC people are really suffering. “Thank you for being there for our suffering people. The people who welcome you today, who are before you, are a people who suffer in their hearts and in their flesh,” Fridolin Ambongo said.
The Archbishop of Kinshasa like any other good Congolese also expresses his wish to see the elections being prepared to be held in peace and inclusiveness. “Your visit, Holy Father, also takes place during an election year, which is often a source of social and political tensions in our country. With the message you have brought us, on the theme, “all reconciled in Jesus Christ”, and “trusting in your prayers”, we hope to see free, transparent, inclusive and peaceful elections held in our country.”
May Pope’s Apostolic Visit bear fruits among the People of DRC and Sudan who have long lived in pain and suffering.
Patrick Lonkoy Bolengu, MHM