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22 December 2010

 

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Launching of the centenary of Marist Life in the Democratic Republic of the Congo

24/01/2011: Dem. Rep. of the Congo

The date 22 December 2010 will stay in the annals of the Marist Congo as a date full of significance. In the presence of the Archbishop of Kisangani, Mgr Marcel UTEMBI, the Brother Provincial of the PACE, Valentin DJAWU, the superiors of all the communities of the Congo, all the Brothers of the Kisangani community, Marist students and ex-students, there took place the launching of the jubilee year marking 100 years of Marist presence in the D.R. of Congo. The launching took place in Kisangani, because this was the place which welcomed the first 4 Belgian Brothers, founders of the Marist work in this country: Brothers Halvarus, Bernard D’offida, Adolphe Émile and Rodolphe Léon. Celebrating a centenary is an opportunity for making people aware of the solidity of the Marist building in the Congo which has withstood the erosion of time. It is equally a period in which the activities undertaken are aimed to draw attention to the highpoints of Marist life in this part of the world. For a brief history, it suffices to say that during this year 2011, the 3rd of September to be precise, the congregation of the Marist Brothers of the Schools will total one hundred years of presence and activity in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. From the beginning, the Belgian Brothers, and then the Congolese, preferred to work for Congolese youth in their natural environments, marked as they were by material and spiritual poverty, armed only with the call of Christ and the boldness of their belief in the youth of this country.Thus they began, from 1911, their activities in Kisangani, Buta and Bunia, then in the two Kivu and Maniema, and finally in Kinshasa.Through their uninterrupted presence, despite the vicissitudes and the tumultuous changes of national life, notably at Kisangani, where they were the innocent victims, the Marist Brothers have continued imperturbably to give concrete meaning to the evangelical message of Christ, in setting up schools and an education system from which have benefitted many persons who are today the pride of the Democratic Republic of the Congo in various sectors of national life.The celebration of the Jubilee, therefore, will help to make an evaluation of the journey travelled so far and to inspire an effective commitment for the future. We invite all those who carry the Congo in their minds and hearts to join us in seeing that the ideal of Father Champagnat continues to make progress in this great country, rich and full of promise._________Brother Edouard Yatha fms

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