From the Culture of Dependency to the Culture of Common Belonging

Dominican Friars of DR Congo

This is essentially what we can learn from the teachings of the Master of the Order, Brother Bruno Cadoré during his second visitation to the General Vicariate of St. Pius V in the Democratic Republic of Congo. He made the visit from 14 to 23 July 2015 accompanied by his Socius for Africa, Brother Gabriel Samba.

Several highlights marked this visit: meetings with the formation council, with the commission for intellectual life, with the economic council and with the vicariate council. The Master of the Order visited the communities of Kisangani and Mbuji-Mayi where he could not go during the first visitation in January 2012. By car and motorbike, by boat and on foot, under a blazing sun, the Master of the Order immersed himself in the apostolic realities of the brothers: in the chapels of the military chaplaincy, in the parish of Our Lady of Lourdes, etc.

On Sunday, 19 July, he met the Dominican Family at St Dominic priory, Kinshasa. Diversity and unity: this was the theme developed by Brother Bruno. At 10:30 am, he participated in the priestly ordination Mass of three brothers: Joseph Baraka Bangana, Don de Dieu Katsikuma Wa Kabamba and Frederic Mwindilay Balekelay, in the parish church of St. Dominic of Limete, Kinshasa.

The focal point of the visitation was the assessment of the restructuring process for the transition of the Vicariate General to the status of a Vice-Province. This assessment was based on the analysis of three challenges. The first challenge is the holy preaching, a horizon without which any significant restructuring is a vain enterprise. At the heart of this issue of a preaching that is continually better adapted to the needs of people, the world and the Church, there is also (this is the second challenge) that of the “tradition”, that is to say, the “transmission of the tradition of the Preachers” to the new generations. The third challenge is the urgent imperative to get out from multiple dependencies and instead to stimulate and promote a sense of common belonging to the same entity. For in the Order, it is this common belonging to a province, supported by a full commitment to the common good as much as apostolic activity, which develops us in our own personal Dominican life, and in our own ministry of preaching. To move from the status of  a General Vicariate to that of a Vice-Province, it is imperative to be ready to make the transition from a culture of dependency to a culture of common belonging.

Brother Bruno dwelt upon three main areas affected by this process and that constitutes his key points. First of all, the economic realities served in a practice that will be as reliable as possible and on which depends the possibility of allocating external support. The Master of the Order noted that it seems impossible to continue to seek the solidarity of other entities or of the Order, who draw their resources precisely in the pooling of assets for the benefit of an entity that refuses to make this a basic element in the organization of its material life. The second key point in making the transition to a culture of common ownership is the apostolic life. Here brother Bruno insisted on the fact of promoting awareness among all to be engaged in a common apostolic responsibility. For it is through the implementation of an apostolic community project that the brothers will, in each community, address the determining issues for defining a common mission. The third key point is formation. The Master of the Order has recommended regular assessment of the novitiate which is temporarily located at St. Dominic priory in Kinshasa, together with the studentate.

These teachings ended with a note on government, stressing that the primary objective of government in the Order is to promote communion among the brothers and to be a sign. He insisted also on respect for the principle of subsidiarity. The General Vicariate of St. Pius V is moving towards becoming a Vice-Province by 2016.         

fr. Gabriel Samba, OP.

(29 July 2015)