Hope despite the misery
Kabinda District lies at the centre of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) on the Lomami River. The diocese enjoys a tropical climate marked by two seasons: the dry season from mid-April to mid-August, and the rainy season from mid-August to mid-April. The annual temperature varies between 23 and 25 degrees Celsius and the vegetation is characterized by dense forests, grassy savannahs and gallery forests. The main towns of the diocese are the city of Lusambo, the capital of Sankuru Province, and the city of Kabinda, which is both the seat of the Bishop and the capital of Lomami Province.
In its pastoral organization, the diocese of Kabinda has 31 parishes.
The entire diocesan pastoral care is implemented by the Diocesan Team for Pastoral Animation, which conceives and elaborates the orientations and guidelines, as well as the pastoral plan within the framework of the overall pastoral care. This plan is applicable to the whole diocese and to all the pastoral agents: priests, religious and lay people involved in evangelisation. An evaluation is made at the end of each pastoral year as an indicator of performance.
The population of the Diocese of Kabinda is mostly dependent on agriculture for their livelihood. The farmers practice traditional agriculture and use rudimentary tools, which does not produce a marketable surplus that can generate income to support costs beyond their more basic needs. So they cannot afford what they call “social expenditure” such as schooling for children, quality health care, nutrient-rich meals and decent clothing.
The two wars, first of liberation with the Alliance of Democratic Forces for the liberation of Congo, then of aggression (from 1997 to 2002) plunged the population into a situation of deep misery. During these two wars, the Diocese of Kabinda was particularly affected: their cattle farm with almost 1,500 heads was destroyed, 10 vehicles and 8 motorcycles were stolen, the garage with its equipment and spare parts and the carpentry were plundered, the shop and the pharmacy of the diocesan procurator’s office were ransacked. While these production units used to help finance the pastoral work, the survival of the priests, their health-care in Kabinda or in other hospitals, and for their retirement, external funding was still essential.
Since then, the priests of Kabinda live mainly from the offerings of the faithful, which are unfortunately are not even enough to supply them with Eucharistic species. Because of this situation of misery, some parishes sometimes manage to miss the daily Eucharistic celebrations. Sometimes due to lack of fuel for the motorcycles, the priests are unable to cover their parishes with pastoral visits.
Mgr.Richard Kitengie, Diocesan Administrator of Kabinda, ask us for help: “In view of this precarious situation, we appeal to your sense of solidarity and sharing to obtain financial assistance in the form of Mass intentions for the benefit of the priests of the Diocese of Kabinda who come to the field of the Lord and thus encourage them to continue the work of communicating salvation through the proclamation of the Word and the celebration of the sacraments. We thank you with all our hearts.” May we be close to the Priests of Kabinda through our prayers and generosity. ACN will help Kabinda diocesis with 17.600€.
Facing the Covid 19
In April 2020 Mgr. Richard Kitengie, Diocesan Administrator of Kabinda, wrote to ACN sharing his profound gratitude. He writes: “I acknowledge receipt of your correspondence of April 14 in which you communicate to me your decision to support the priests working in the Diocese of Kabinda by granting them Mass Stipends. Allow me to express to you, on behalf of all the priests benefiting from this precious financial assistance, and on my own behalf, my profound gratitude for your providential intervention. Indeed, with the latest measures taken to limit the spread of covid-19, our priests who live essentially on Sunday offerings are experiencing great difficulties and are no longer able to meet their basic needs. It is therefore to tell you that your financial assistance is welcomed as a heavenly intervention. Thank you for always being instruments of Providence for our Church. May the Lord repay you a hundred times more. For our part, we will do everything within our power to ensure that all the Masses requested are regularly celebrated. With the assurance of our humble prayers for you, for all your collaborators, without forgetting all the benefactors of your work. Thank you once again for everything.” Mgr. Richard Kitengie, Diocesan Administrator of Kabinda.