Update for Pope’s Apostolic Visit to DRC, Day One: Preparation
It is evident that DRC is already in the celebratory mood to welcome
the Pope, as most billboards and banners in Kinshasa are advertising
the Apostolic Visit of the Roman Pontiff. There are hundreds of songs
composed as well for this event. In public transports, 90 % of
conversations are about the coming of the Pope. Since I have come to
Kinshasa, I have never seen such security. Soldiers are all over the
country. Many Catholic Christians have given their hotels for free to
accommodate the pilgrims.
What inspires me most is the spiritual aspect of the preparation. In
order, to welcome the Pope, the Archbishop of Kinshasa Fridolin
Cardinal Ambongo Besungu asked all parishes in Kinshasa to organise a
prayer triduum with a general theme: “BLESSED BE THE ONE WHO COMES IN
THE NAME OF THE LORD (Lk 19:38)”.
On the first day of our Triduum we reflected and prayed on the
Sub-theme: “S/He who welcomes you welcomes me”, (Mt 10:40-42, Gen
18:2-10). It is important to know that knowing how to welcome is a
virtue and a recommendation of Christ; welcoming is an act of
sacrifice and generosity; and the Lord always rewards the gesture of
On the second day, we reflected and prayed on the sub-theme: “Let them
all be one” (Jn 17:21). It is vital to consider that unity and
reconciliation are important keys to the success of any project. Unity
requires the full consideration of every member of the community.
Reconciliation requires the gift and receipt of forgiveness. The
frustrated, the rejected, the hypocritical, the undecided people, etc.
are obstacles to development and unity of our country.
On the last day, we reflected on the sub-theme: “I give you all the
places in possession” (Joshua 1:1-3, Jn. 10:10, 1:10, 1 Peter 5, 8, Mt
13, 24-30, Lk 10:19). On this day, we call upon our Christians to be
vigilant. Moments like welcoming a Pope are often hectic. The enemy
who is never far from God’s children revolves around achieving his
target or goal which is to destroy or do evil. A unique occasion like
this does not do the enemies of the faith any good. Some people may
have bad intentions to cause harm. But the Lord Jesus Christ who is
faithful to his Word and who keeps the footsteps of those who proclaim
the Good News, has given us the spiritual weapons to anticipate,
resist and overcome these situations. Prayer is the preferred means of
resisting such circumstances. Through prayer and consciousness of our
identity as baptized people who made us prophet, king and priest, the
Lord has given us the power to annihilate every force of the enemy.
May we all continue praying for the success of this Apostolic Visit of
Pope Francis to DRC and South Sudan.
Patrick Lonkoy Bolengu MHM.