Our Parish in Kindu, DR Congo

Hello! Greetings from Kitwe! When I arrived in Zambia for holidays, from Congo, Serge asked me to write a few lines about the parish where I am working. This is what I have done here.
We are at St Rita’s Parish in the diocese of Kindu, east of Congo. Missionaries of Africa went to Kindu only after our confrere Willy Ngumbi became bishop in 2007 and asked for M.Afr community. There are two communities, at the bishop’s residence we have Bishop Ngumbi and Georges Martin (and a diocesan priest Mathieu Kapuli, the bishop’s secretary).Evans Chama
At 3km from the bishop’s house is our parish community in a township called Tokolote. We are four: Fr Hubert Bonke (German), Valentin de Belie (Belgian), Francis Ankosala, Ghanian (stagiaire) and myself, Evans Chama.
This parish was started by the Spiritans and when they left their house was occupied by a Congregation of diocesan brothers. So for quite some years the parish had no resident priests but had only some priest coming for mass mainly on Sundays. This has marked the parish in some way. One thing I find impressive is that people take the initiative to organise activities, especially the youth, without necessarily waiting for the priests to do things for them. However, there are also aspects that need refining. I give an example.
We have nine small Christian Communities (Mashirika). Every morning, except on Sunday, there is prayer in a form of celebration of the Word (no communion) in each Shirika at O5:30hrs.  There is relatively good attendance, yet, for the daily mass in the parish church you may have 10 to 15 people and most of them come after having attended the celebration in their Shirika. So we are trying to encourage the faithful to appreciate also attending mass and to avoid this “doubling” of prayer. We encourage them also by celebrating mass at least in two Shirikas every week.
At 6km from the parish, we have a fast growing outstation –St John’s Baptist where we also celebrate mass every Sunday.
One challenge here in Kindu, like for the rest of Congo, is the absence of road network. The only means to get out of this forestry area to go to Bukavu or Goma is only by air. Even most of the commodities you find on the market are brought in by air which makes the cost of living scandalously high for a rural place like Kindu. Most of our Christians are rice farmers and they share with us what they produce. We do not buy rice.
Kindu is also served by rail transport. In fact, I have the possibility of travelling by train from Kindu to Lubumbashi. But then, I have to be ready for it. Kindu-Lubumbashi is a journey, if all goes well, of not less a month. If I opt for this transport, I should reserve at least two months for travelling.
Our parish church, constructed some 46 years ago with only the capacity of about 300 persons, has become too small. So we have the project of building a new church but when you think of a pocket of cement shooting up to $50, building the house of God becomes a nightmare for us.

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