Martin Kasongo: my pastoral experience in the Democratic Republic of Congo


Martin KasongoI am Martin Kasongo from Chingola, Zambia. I have been a student in the Society of the Missionaries of Africa since 2006. I started my formation with the candidacy course in Kolibo, Serenje. I did my philosophy in Arusha and my novitiate in Bobo-Dioulasso. Thereafter, I was sent for my stage to Aru, north-eastern part of DRCongo in the diocese of Mahagi-Nioka.

My pastoral experience in a multi-cultural area like Aru was very enriching with its openness to all people coming from every corner of Congo and other countries. Bordering Uganda and South Sudan, it makes the Lugbaras culturally dynamic and special. They speak the Lugbarati.

Despite being introverts, the Lugbaras are welcoming and peaceful. One great thing that struck me is the way they have welcomed the Good News of Jesus. Evangelisation continues but I observed that these people are really doing their best for their spiritual and moral growth. They give themselves in taking care of their churches and the parish at large. This attitude shows their interest in the Word of God.

The Lugbaras are also hard workers. They take the education of their children in their own hands instead of counting on the government. But, they have difficulties sometimes to work in a spirit of collaboration or partnership because of lack of experience. I used to go to out-stations from Friday to Sunday. This experience was always very instructive for me. I was interested to understand how the catechists care for their Christians communities. During my visit in villages, I used to talk to the youth on issues of life, to all Christians on faith, and to catechists on perseverance. I visited the sick and the poor, encouraging them to hope in life in the face of hardships.

Being with people in these villages made me understand what Lavigerie meant by “being all things to all people.” The first step in any apostolate is our presence. So, let us be the instruments of the Lord who knows best how to guide us the way He wants.

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