A Minibus for Dominican Fathers in the Democratic Republic of the Congo

The Dominican Fathers in Kinshasa are delighted to have received their new minibus. Their old vehicle finally ‘gave up the ghost,’ irrevocably, while traveling on the road, some 130 miles away from their home monastery. From that time onwards, they were forced to cope without a vehicle. Now, thanks to the generosity of our benefactors who have given $26,300, they have at last been able to purchase a new minibus.

The Dominican Order, which celebrated its 800 years of existence in 2016, has been present since 1912 in what is today the Democratic Republic of the Congo. At that time they were Belgian priests who arrived there as missionaries, but now it is the home-grown Congolese religious who are following in their footsteps. The order is represented in four dioceses of the country and has six houses, with a total of 42 priests. The Dominican Fathers are involved in chaplaincy work with the military and the police, and they also care for former child soldiers, for orphans, the crippled and handicapped and for victims of sexual violence; at the same time, they are involved in the running of five local parishes.

What is particularly encouraging is the fact that there are many new vocations. Currently there are 17 students, six novices and eight pre-novices who are preparing to commit themselves one day fully to the order through their solemn vows. Two young men have already been ordained to the diaconate, and are now looking forward to their ordination as priests.

The new minibus is very important to the Dominicans for their many different activities. But above all it is needed for the young men who are still pursuing their studies. One of the two universities where these students are training is some 10 miles away from the Dominican monastery, and public transportation in Kinshasa, a city of 13 million, is inadequate and unreliable. The students found it almost impossible to arrive punctually and reliably for their studies, and they were in a constant state of near exhaustion, having been forced to waste a great deal of time that they should have been able to devote to their studies and to their monastic life.

Now, as Father Albert Akora Kanika writes, “Thanks to the new vehicle, our students are exposed to fewer dangers on the roads; they are healthier and happier and can pursue their studies better and more regularly – and above all take part in the life of the monastery while looking to achieve better grades in their studies.”

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Code: 115-04-29

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