Vicariate Generalof St. Pius V, D.R. Congo: Canonical visitation of the Master of the Order

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The Dominicans in the Democratic Republic of Congo celebrated two major events in January 2012 namely, the canonical visitation of the Master of the Order, Bro Bruno Cadoré, accompanied by his Socius for Africa, Bro Gabriel Samba and the closure of the first centenary of the uninterrupted presence of the Dominicans in their country.

The canonical visitation began on January 13 with the communities of the convent and the parish of St. Dominic at Limété in Kinshasa. Bro Bruno Cadoré and Bro Gabriel Samba then went to the Eastern Province of the Democratic Republic of Congo together with Bro Justin Adriko, Vicar  General of that entity and some other friars. The Master of the Order and his Socius  met with the brothers of the convents of Saint Kizito in Isiro and that of the Queen of the Most Holy Rosary in Viadana, the “cradle” of Dominican life in Africa.

Difficulties with transportation (cancellation of flights) disrupted the program and Bro Bruno and Bro Gabriel were unable to visit the Fraternity of St. Martin of Porres in Kisangani and the Mbuji Mayi House in Eastern Kasaï. However, the Master of the Order and his Socius met the friars of these two houses at the airport in Kisangani and at St. Dominic’s Convent in Kinshasa respectively.

Several highlights marked this visit especially the personal meetings with the friars, meetings with the friar’s communities and with the members of the Dominican Family, visits to the works being carried out by the friars, and courtesy calls to the local bishops, in this case Mgr Julien Andavo Mbia, Bishop of Isiro-Niangara and to His Eminence Cardinal Laurent Monsengwo Pasinya, Archbishop of Kinshasa.

During his meetings with the brothers, the Master of the Order seized every opportunity to explain the new way of doing the visitations and their goals. He insisted that “the canonical visitation is a time for working together for the mission of the Order”. This privileged time allows the Master and the brothers to evaluate, consolidate and strengthen the “Holy Preaching” and to confirm the brethren in their vocation. In the specific case of the General Vicariate of St. Pius V of the Democratic Republic of Congo, this visitation helped to define a “roadmap” and to set deadlines for work that could lead the Vicariate to reach the status of a Vice-Province.

In his addresses, homilies and interviews with the brethren, the Master of the Order pronounced words of gratitude and appreciation, of encouragement and exhortation. He invited the brethren to work for unity, fraternity and mutual trust. He insisted that “the Order is preaching here in the Democratic Republic of Congo, and it must keep on preaching”.

100 years of Dominican presence in the DR of the Congo

The second important event during the Master’s visit to the Democratic Republic of the Congo was the celebration for the closure of the first centenary of uninterrupted Dominican presence in the Democratic Republic of Congo. In fact, it was on the 17th of January 1912 that the first Dominicans from Belgium arrived in the Congo, in the locality of Amadi in the present diocese of Dungu-Doruma.

Bro Roger Gaise, Rector of the University of Uélé, gave an overview of the history of these hundred years during a talk he delivered on Monday, 23rd January at 10 am in the Auditorium of this university run by the Dominicans. Several important personalities participated in this conference, among whom Bishop Julien Andavo Mbia, Bishop Richard Domba, Bishop of Dungu-Doruma, and the Deputy Governor of the Eastern Province of Congo who took the opportunity offered by this solemn occasion to present to the Rector the Certificate of Registration for a second building for the University of Uélé. Two brothers from the Province of St. Rose in Flanders, Stef Penez and Edouard Costermans, who have worked for a long time in this region, came to represent the mother-Province and to personally experience this event.

frs. Justin et Costermans         fr. Stef Penez

 

The solemn Mass which closed the centenary celebrations was held on Tuesday, 24th January at 2 pm in the church of Saint Kizito in Isiro. The local Bishop, Mgr Julien Andavo, presided while Bishop Richard Domba and many religious and diocesan priests concelebrated. The Sisters, other Christians and the administrative, political and traditional authorities took part in the Eucharist. On this occasion, Bro Thomas Kamainda, “patriarch” of the Vicariate, celebrated the 58th anniversary of his religious life and the 52nd anniversary of his priestly ordination. Three other friars: Marie Victor Kisyaba, Fulgence Alitre (who were present at the Mass) and André Adoba celebrated the 25th anniversary of their religious profession.

Brothers Bruno and Gabriel ended their visit on the 31st of January in Kinshasa after having had a meeting with the Dominican Family and a working session with the Vicariate Council. The Master of the Order instructed his Socius for Africa to pay another visit to the Democratic Republic of  Congo in the month of June 2012 as a follow up to the conclusions drawn up during the visitation.