Final Vows of lsr Denise Muliwavyo in DRC

 

It seemed crazy to organize a celebration with a large gathering of people when you consider the situation of our region of Mabasele, in the Oïcha diocese of Beni Butembo.  In addition to the insecurity over the past 4 years, the Ebola virus epidemic is just 30 km (18.6 miles) from us.

On the eve of the festivities, the sound of weapons could be heard and killings and looting were going on just 12 km (7.4 miles) from our village.  On the morning of August 12, the day of the celebration, we could still hear the roar of heavy weapons!  You can imagine the atmosphere!

In the base communities (about a hundred) a novena of prayer was organized to ask for good weather that day – because it’s the rainy season – and that there would be no trouble.  And the sun was shining beautifully!

The preparations for the celebration were begun several months ago by lsr Denise’s family.  We planted cassava, peanuts, beans, and vegetables.  We set aside a lot of wood for the cooking.  Our friends and neighbors brought money and food for the feast.  The big surprise was the coming of our Bishop to Mabasele for this occasion.  It had been years since he had come and many Christians did not know him.  Our 2 Congolese sisters, Beatrice and Anastasia, who live in Algeria and Burkina Faso but were home visiting their families, participated in the festivities, too.

A group of parishioners got together to help with the celebration and the meal, and with supervising the people to wash their hands with a disinfectant for preventing the Ebola virus.   A village feast mobilizes everyone! 

                                                  

 

The church was too small to hold the entire assembly, so the Mass was held outdoors.  Our Pygmy friends were there, too.  The Bishop reminded everyone how the little sisters had been with the Pygmies of this region as far back as 1952.   They had had to leave in 1964 because of the Mulele war but came back in 1990.  Lsr Suzanna Ngugwa has been there for 26 years!   And it is because of the presence of the little sisters in Mabasele that he decided to start a parish with priests there on a permanent basis.  Imagine the joy of all the Christians!  

                                       

 After the Mass, the meal was held in different places.  The songs of the children gave a joyful atmosphere.   The next day we were invited to Denise’s family.  The singing and dancing greeted us long before we arrived at the house.  It was a very joyful moment, too. 

Our bishop went on the next day in the direction of Mangina, the place where Ebola patients are treated. 

 

Our hearts are still so thankful and grateful to the Master of the Impossible for this event during which our lsr Denise pronounced her definitive “yes” to the call of Jesus and to which our shepherd was able to come and encourage his flock.   We have touched with our own hands how we are journeying with many brothers and sisters on the path to the Kingdom of God in this region of fear and violence.  

 

                                         

On the night of the feast, a neighbor told us, “Tell the bishop that his presence comforted and confirmed us in our life of faith in spite of all that we are going through.  It was wonderful.  Now we are ready for all!”   

 Continue to pray for us and for this people preparing for elections in December 2018.    

 
 
 

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