Kasumbalesa (Central Africa). On May 24, 2019, the Daughters of Mary Help of Christians (FMA) of the Central African Province of Our Lady of Africa (AFC) with their novices, postulants, and aspirants, left for Kasumbalesa, a city located 180 km from the city of Lubumbashi, for a great celebration in honor of the Help of Christians. On that occasion a new community was officially inaugurated with a hospital entrusted to the FMA by Divine Providence through the hands of His Excellency Bishop Gaston Ruvezi Kashala, Bishop of the Diocese of Sakania Kipushi.
In Kasumbalesa there are many young people who need to be accompanied and supported in their journey of life and Christian faith, to become useful citizens of society and of the Congolese nation. The city is located on the border between the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Zambia and is a place of many movements and activities that can confuse young people to the point of making them lose the path of life. It is not just young people, even the population itself needs a religious presence for spiritual support and guidance.
Touching this reality and concerned for the human promotion and well-being of the inhabitants of Kasumbalesa, Bishop Gaston, as a Good Shepherd who seeks the good of his sheep, turned to the FMA, asking them for this service. As his pastoral motto says: “I made myself all to all”, Bishop Gaston is a Salesian Bishop and a true and Good Shepherd for his people!
The work of Kasumbalesa Wantasnshi entrusted to the FMA, is dedicated to Our Lady of Lourdes due to the presence of the hospital. The community has not yet been established, and the house is inhabited by a few sisters who maintain it in preparation for the future mission.
The FMA came from all over the world and from different communities: Mokambo, Sakania, and from the different houses of the city of Lubumbashi: aspirants, postulants, novices, and FMA. The day began with a beautiful and solemn Eucharistic celebration in honor of Mary Help of Christians, animated by the postulants of the AFC Province under the guidance of Sister Sarah Mulombela.
The local Bishop, Monsignor Gaston Ruvezi, presided at the celebration with several priests from the diocese of Sakania Kipushi and the Provincial of the Salesians of Don Bosco, Father Kitungwa Kabuge Albert, and his Vicar, Father Jean Luc Vandekherkove.
The Gospel of Saint John, which speaks of the wedding at Cana, was commented by the Bishop who said: “The wedding at Cana can be compared to today’s feast, that of Mary Help of Christians, which is a great solemnity for the Salesians of Don Bosco and the Daughters of Mary Help of Christians. During the wedding feast at Cana, the Virgin Mary saw the need of the guests and immediately thought of them: “Do whatever he tells you!” With these words, she manages to wrest a miracle from her Son Jesus Christ who brings good to all. This – he added – recalls a letter written by Don Bosco, from Rome, to his young people who were then in Turin, telling them that from far or near, he would always think of them and ask them to always seek the happiness of others and to live happily in time and in eternity. Finally, he wished the FMA, in this time of preparation for the XXIV General Chapter, that, solicited by the words of Mary, “Do whatever he tells you” to bring joy to others, like the young people of Don Bosco and the guests of Cana”.
The Bishop thanked the benefactors and the people who contributed to the realization of the work.
The Provincial, Sr. Marie Dominique Mwema Mukato, spoke in the name of Mother General, Sr. Yvonne Reungoat and her Council, in the name of all the FMA of AFC, thanking the Bishop of the place, Msgr. Gaston Ruvezi Kashala, for having thought to entrust the work to them. She then addressed the political authorities present to whom she expressed gratitude and promised them prayers for their intentions. She referred to openness of spirit which is a quality that makes life new, which helped the Bishop to overcome difficulties and carry forward the project. The Bishop, concerned to protect the lives of the young people of this environment, entrusted them to the FMA who will work for the promotion of humanity in the field of education and health. Thus he said: “Let us take care of young people and be especially attentive to help them be honest citizens and good Christians”.
She was grateful for the courage of Sr. Mary Domenica Mazzarello, who had confidence in the Help of Christians: “I entrust them to you, from generation to generation”.
And it is precisely the Help of Christians, whose name the FMA bear and for whom they are a living monument of gratitude, to whom the new work is entrusted, so that the young may have life and life in abundance.
At the conclusion there was the blessing of the buildings that took place to the rhythm of the songs of the aspirants. The day ended with a festive dinner and a beautiful choreography for singing of the MAGNIFICAT prepared by Sister Mbayo Bulungu Félistance and the postulants.