John D Kirwan mhm
On leave for a longer period than he had foreseen or hoped, and longing to return to Basankusu in DR Congo, Fr John D.Kirwan mhm writes in his Easter Newsletter:
"I am writing this the evening before Palm Sunday and wish I was in Basankusu town for the celebrations. Last year was quite special (as was captured by Francis Hannaway in a Facebook video WATCH.). The cathedral is still being rebuilt so the Palm procession went from the convent to the “hangar”, or temporary “church”, on the field next to the cathedral site. As people had to bring their own chairs and didn’t want others to use them or steal them … we had this wonderful sight of a procession of singing faithful, dancing along with most waving a palm with one hand and holding a blue plastic chair firmly on their head with the other! The Maundy Thursday, Good Friday, Easter vigil and Easter Sunday celebrations are all very colourful too.
But this year people will be very anxious because of the critical and volatile political situation.
Trouble was expected late last year, when the president’s second and last term of office came to an end. But our bishops’ conference managed to broker a compromise agreement, signed on 31 December, the main groupings being the ‘Presidential Majority’ and the ‘Rassemblement’ (or gathering of opposition groups). Key elements were that the president could stay on until elections held this year, and that the prime minister of the interim government would be nominated by the ‘Rassemblement’ and appointed by the president. The Monitoring committee would be presided over by the veteran opposition leader, Etienne Tshisekedi….. Unfortunately he died at the beginning of February, and the agreement started to come unstuck, with partisan rigidity on all sides. As I write this I hear the President has just appointed a new prime minister – from the opposition, but one that was rejected by his opposition party last month….. Not a promising sign.
Basankusu: new cathedral under construction
I could, but won’t go on and on about that….
But it is disturbing. If you are a praying person, please do pray for the “Democratic” Republic of Congo, as well as those African countries that get in the news, and Syria …. and World Peace in general….. not to mention the sad divisive ‘Brexit’ conundrum.
I hope, too, that Pope Francis’ wise, open and compassionate presence may inspire other leaders within and outside the Church, and permeate our lives as persons and communities.
May Easter help us acknowledge the reality of the Cross, of evil and suffering in our World …; and see how it can be transformed into the Resurrection, new life – in the Risen Living Christ, for those of us privileged to have the Faith; and in compassionate Hope for everybody".
John D. Kirwan mhm
Engelbert Mveng SJ: Passion