|Democratic Republic of the Congo –“Thanksgiving” Day|
|Democratic Republic of the Congo – Journey to the roots of the Salesian presence|
|Democratic Republic of the Congo – Centenary Celebrations|
Accompanied by the Superior of AFC, Fr Joachim Tshibangu, the Rector Major arrived yesterday morning 29 April, at the Youth City in Lubumbashi where he was welcomed by a group of young people led by Fr Dieudonné Makola, Provincial Youth Ministry Delegate and Sr. Nathalie Nkalamo Mumba and presented with T-shirt by the SYM leader. The Rector Major crossed the courtyard behind the Band of the “Kiro” Group from Salama. Waiting for him under a specially erected marquee were the pupils from the primary schools at Imara, Kwesu and Taba Congo. Accompanied by the choir from the High School in Salama, Fr Michel Mankonga then led the prayers.
In the name of all their companions some young people asked Fr Chávez some questions and in his replies he encouraged them to take the lead in directing their own lives as well as in society and the Church in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Between the questions there were songs, dances, and poems by the young people from “Bakanja”, “Salama”, “Taba Congo”, “Laura” and “Salama Patro”. They also gave the Rector Major some gifts.
Joining the celebrations were also Fr Gabriel Ngendakuriyo and Fr Camiel Swertvagher, the Superior and the Vice Superior of the neighbouring Vice Province of Africa Great Lakes (AGL) and a group from the West Africa French-speaking Vice Province (AFO).
After the meeting with the young people Fr Chávez went to the “Hodari” Technical School at Ruashi, run by the Daughters of Mary Help of Christians in Lubumbashi, where the Salesian Family of Lubumbashi had gathered together. Sr. Bernadette Chongo, the FMA Provincial of Central Africa and Fr Claude Kayumba, Vice Provincial of AFC were there to welcome him. Two girls scattered white powder on the ground in a typical sign of welcome in the Congo. The Rector Major was also given a “boubou” with a hat, the characteristic dress of the local area to wear and a staff as a sign of authority.
After a special dance performed by some of the pupils of the school the Rector Major met some representatives of the Salesian Family. With the help of Sr. Lucia Camperos acting as translator he spoke about the themes of the last five Strennas: respect for life, safeguarding the family, education, evangelisation and vocations. At the end of the meeting the Rector Major was given a chasuble.