Kinshasa. The General Minister, Br. Roberto Genuin, made a fraternal visit to the Congo from September 2 to 11, 2019. He was accompanied by Br. Kilian Ngitir, General Councilor for the CONCAO, the conference covering the western part of Africa.
This was the first time Br. Roberto visited the Congo since his election as General Minister. The main purpose was to meet the friars of the Custody, to speak with them individually, to listen to each one in the way of accompaniment, which the Minister General customarily carries out toward the friars. Obviously, it was also an opportunity to resolve certain problems related to fraternal life. The General Minister got a good sense of the dedication of the friars at the level of pastoral care, formation and other areas of life in the Congo.
In this capacity, Br. Roberto did a complete tour of the territory where the friars are present. It should be noted that the General Custody of the Congo consists of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (Kinshasa) and the Republic of the Congo (Brazzaville). So this is a very large area to visit.
In the Congo we have 10 fraternities, of which 6 are parishes, 3 are formation houses and the Custodial Curia. According to statistics, there are 53 perpetually professed friars, 16 friars in simple vows, 5 novices, 10 first-year postulants and 9 second-year postulants. A total of 93 friars and candidates. The General Minister met them all within the ten days of his visit.
In these ten fraternities, the friars work in different capacities. Some are involved in pastoral ministry in the following parishes: St. Gonza in Kinshasa, St. Elizabeth in Gemena, Sacred Heart in Bwamanda, St. Philip Neri in Zongo, St. Padre Pio in Brazzaville and St. Francis of Assisi in Pointe-Noire. Other friars work in primary and secondary schools with different tasks, such as administration or teaching at the Bongisa Institute in Bwamanda, the Ecole Privée of Bwamanda, and the Catechetical and Pastoral Institute Lendisa, a higher school for the formation of catechists in Bwamanda. The remaining friars are involved with various universities and colleges throughout Kinshasa: the University of St. Augustine of Kinshasa, the Catholic University of Congo, the University of National Pedagogy, the Major Seminary of St. Andrew Kaggwa of Philosophy, the Major Seminary St. John XXIII of Theology and the Higher Institute of Catholic Pedagogy. The General Minister also had the chance to visit some of these sites.
Although the fraternities are very far from each other, Br. Roberto used all means of transport to meet with the friars: by car, by boat and by airplane. He remained serene despite his many journeys, full of love for the friars. It is in the Congo, precisely in Kinshasa, that we had the honor of celebrating the first anniversary of his election as Minister General of the Order.
During those days, we experienced his stay with us as a blessing for our Custody. Thanks to the General Minister for his visit and to Br. Kilian Ngitir for accompanying him. The friars of the General Custody of the Congo will always carry you in their hearts and in their prayers.