The diocese of Lisala is one of the oldest and – with an area of over 24,000 square miles (67,600 km²) – at the same time one of the most geographically extensive in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Situated in the north of the country, in the Congo basin, it is crisscrossed by the Congo River and its many tributaries.
Not surprisingly, therefore, the waterways are absolutely vital to the life of the Church. The diocesan river boat, the Magnificat, is of crucial importance to its pastoral outreach. Sadly, however, the vessel was severely damaged in September 2018, while travelling downriver towards Kinshasa. Surprised by a sudden storm and unable to moor up safely, it was flung against a large tree projecting into the water and had a huge hole torn on its side. Fortunately, the people on the boat were able to evacuate safely, but the boat sank almost completely. Needless to say, the material damage was extensive and the rescue campaign difficult. One of the priests and other helpers had to paddle across the river to reach the accident site.
Initially, they attempted to repair the boat themselves and get it underway again, but it soon became clear that the whole process would be much more difficult than they had imagined and would require specialist materials and expert skills. Two of the motors were out of action, and repairing the hole in the side will require the work of skilled boatbuilders.
The diocese has turned to us for help, and ACN has promised 8800 Euros, so that this vital mission boat can quickly be rendered serviceable again.