Lubumbashi (Democratic Republic of Congo). From 2 to 10 February 2021 Cardinal Ambongo Besungu Fridolin, Metropolitan Archbishop of Kinshasa, carried out the pastoral visit to the three Dioceses of Lubumbashi, Sakania-Kipushi, and Kilwa-Kasenga.
The visit began in Lubumbashi, where the Cardinal met the Provincial of the Province of Our Lady of Africa (AFC) of Central Africa, Sr. Marie Dominique Mwema Mukato and celebrated Mass in the Cathedral of Saints Peter and Paul on the day of the Presentation of the Lord, the Feast of Consecrated Life.
In his homily, he invited the numerous consecrated persons to turn their attention to the Temple, a place desired by God for the consecration of persons and a symbol of a life totally consecrated to Him. He concluded by proposing three challenges that the experience of the Temple poses to Consecrated Life today:
- Self-acceptance. It is the ability to live before God according to the means and conditions available to be happy as consecrated persons.
- Promote fraternity. “It is important not to relegate fraternity to religious structures.” -said his Eminence – “Come closer and listen to everyone (cf. Fratelli tutti). The Pope, especially in this time of the Covid-19 pandemic, urges us to be Samaritans for our brothers and sisters.”
- Give priority to God. “In 1 Cor 6: 19-20 St. Paul says that we are the temple of the Holy Spirit: we must therefore obey like Jesus’ parents, let ourselves be led by Him like Simeon and Anna, who dedicated time to Him (prayer) and to talk about Him (evangelization).”
From 3 to 5 February 2021, the Cardinal went to the Diocese of Sakania-Kipushi. Religious, political, and administrative authorities were present at Sakania airport. Starting from the railway station, the gateway to the first Salesian missionaries, a cheering crowd accompanied him in procession to the parish, where the Eucharistic celebration took place. Cardinal Fridolin expressed his joy for the testimony of the people and encouraged them to keep the faith alive, without fear of showing themselves to be Catholics.
He moved from Sakania to Kasumbalesa, where he greeted Christians and blessed the morgue of the FMA Health Center O. L. of Lourdes, in the presence of Governor Jacques Kyabula, who made this gift to the population. Subsequently, he was welcomed by the Christians of Kasumbalesa in the parish of St. James.
Subsequently, he went to Kipushi for the visit to the Diocese of Sakania-Kipushi, then the visit continued in the Diocese of Kilwa-Kasenga, starting from Kashobwe, then Kilwa, finally Kasenga, where he celebrated the Holy Mass in the church of the Holy Cross. Meeting the consecrated persons of this Diocese, he thanked them for their work and closeness to Christians in difficult conditions and urged them to remain firm in their identity as consecrated religious.
The pastoral visit of Cardinal Ambongo Besungu Fridolin concluded on 10 February 2021, with the celebration of the Eucharist in the Cathedral of Saints Peter and Paul in Lubumbashi, in which he thanked all the faithful, encouraging them to live as brothers and sisters wherever they are.
The Cardinal also expressed his gratitude to the Daughters of Mary Help of Christians of the AFC Province, who accompanied him in all the stages of his visit.