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Closing of the centenary of Marist life in the DRC



Brothers Emili Turú and Joe McKee visit the Dem. Rep of the Congo

07/09/2011: Dem. Rep. of the Congo - Photo gallery

« The Marists of Champagnat and their partners bid a cordial welcome to Brothers Emili Turú et Joe McKee, the Superior General and Vicar of the Marist Brothers. Have a pleasant stay among us. » These are the words inscribed on the memorable welcome signs for these distinguished guests at the official closure of the Marist Centenary in Kisangani.

The arrival of the Brother Superior General and his Vicar, both on a single itinerary, for the animation of the retreat of the Brothers and the closure of the Jubilee Year of the centenary of the Marist presence in the CONGO,  give sufficient indication of the greatness of the decision and the importance accorded by the Marist Brothers’ Congregation to the value of the missionary involvement of the first Belgian Brothers, who wished to live forever the words of  Champagnat: « All the dioceses of the world enter into our views » or again «I cannot see a child without wanting to tell him how much God loves him. »

There is no point in saying that before Kisangani, the welcome in Kinshasa was worthy of the representative of Saint Marcellin Champagnat in this immense country of the D. R. of the Congo. Since 1911, Belgian Brothers from the then Marist province of Beaucamps, chose to make Jesus Christ known and loved in this country, at the cost of the ultimate sacrifice  of their lives out of love, and their valuable work is carried on today by the Brothers of the Province of  Central East Africa.

It was at the airport of Bangboka at Kisangani, their landing point, at the foot of the stairs from the plane, that Brothers Valentin Djawu Wa Lungumbu (Provincial of PACE) and Richard Mutumwa Kamonyo (Superior of the community), members of the UNELMA section Kisangani (Union of Marist Ex-students) and other Brothers gave these Brothers a fraternal and Marist welcome.

Torrential rain, forecast after the happy arrival of these distinguished guests in this part of the world, was a bearer of the divine benediction.

Responding to the welcome addresses of the President of UNELMA section Kisangani and the Provincial of PACE, the Superior General pronounced some just and judicious words recognizing the presence of the wisdom of many generations, the strength of a province with many young Brothers, and thanked each for the special welcome. The presence of him and his Vicar at Kisangani witnesses to the interconnection of the Congregation with the Brothers of  Kisangani, of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, of Africa and of the Marist world composed of around 80 countries in the 5 Continents, he emphasized. This connection extends between Brothers and laity who have discovered they can live their Christian vocation by being Marists. It was above all to recognize the fidelity of the Marist work in the Congo that the Superior General and his Vicar had decided to come together on this single itinerary. He affirmed that, though the country had been through difficult times, the fidelity of the Marist actors had been equal to the problems encountered. During difficult times, one felt the love, solidarity and Marist spirit at work.

24 Brothers are going to take part in the retreat animated by Brs Emili et Joe, from 22 to 26 August 2011 in the Sainte Marie Community of Chololo in Kisangani. On the 28th, the closing of the Centenary will take place, in front of the central office of the Groupe Scolaire Sainte Marie, presided over by His Grace, Monseigneur Marcel UTEMBI TAPA, Metropolitan Archbishop of Kisangani, in the presence of the Marists of Champagnat and their partners in the DRC. To finish, let us note that this jubilee had its official and liturgical launching on 22 December 2010.

In accord with our family spirit,  we say once again « feel welcome and have a pleasant stay with us. » All to Jesus through Mary, All to Mary for Jesus.


Alphonse Balombe, fms
Kisangani - 22/08/2011

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