“Come next Sunday at 6 a.m for the Eucharist celebrated in the Congolese rite”, Fr Proper Ndjoli omi told me a week ago. And so I did. Traffic was still sparse on the central boulevard at that hour of the morning. When I arrived at the parish of St Eloi the church was still practically empty. It was close to 7 am when the entry procession for the Mass-in-the-Congolese-Rite made its way up the middle aisle to the sound of electric guitars and an exuberant choir. The church was filling up, we could start.
For the next two hours I got fully immersed in the enchanting, exuberantly joyful atmosphere of the ‘people of God who are in Kinshasa, Congo, praying, dancing , singing together – Sunday worship à la Congolaise.
You would hardly suspect that this country is in the middle of an ever deepening political crisis pitting the discredited and unconstitutional leadership against the Catholic Church, the only credible institution that dares to speak up. The leadership of the Catholic Lay group (CLC) who coordinate the protests are considering further action. Many doubt that the electoral process will be allowed to take its rightful course.
As might be expected the air is thick with rumours about arrests, abductions and attempted break-ins in parishes, and religious houses.
But on the surface everything is quiet and the Sunday liturgies as exuberant as ever.
We prayed for a peaceful transition:
we praise you and we give you thanks
for you never ending love.
You have given us a large and beautiful country, Congo;
help us to continue building it up
in truth and in justice
so that it may become even more beautiful than before.
We pray for the leaders of our country
that they may prepare transparent elections
so that all will pass in peace
with full respect for everyone’s dignity.
We pray for all the inhabitants of this country
that they may not lose hope
but continue to work together to build up our nation
so that all its citizens
may flourish in times to come.
This we pray through Jesus Christ, our Lord and God
who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit
now and forever.
tokumisi yo mpe totondi yo botondi
mpo ya bolingo bwa yo nsuka te.
Opesi biso ekolo enene mpe kitoko, Congo;
salisa biso totonga yango mokolo na mokolo
na bosolo mpe na bosembo,
mpo ‘te ekoma kitoko koleka lolenge ezalaki liboso.
Tokobondela yo mpo ya bakambi ba mboka
balengela maponomi na sembo,
mpo manso maleka na boboto
mpe na bopesi limemya na bato.
Tokobondela yo mpo na bana mboka Congo,
babwaka elikya te,
kasi bamipesa mobimba mpo na botongi ekolo
na ntina ‘te bomoi ya bana mboka
bozala malamu na bileko bikoya nsima.
Tokobondela bongo zambi
ya Yezu Kristu Mokonzi mpe Nzambe wa biso,
azali na bomoi elongo na Elimu Santu
sikawa mpe o bileko binso seko.