|Democratic Republic of Congo – End of the Pilgrimage of the Casket in Central Africa|
|Democratic Republic of the Congo – Great popular devotion to Don Bosco|
(ANS – Lubumbashi) – In the last days of March the casket continued its pilgrimage in the Central African Province (AFC), Kafubu, Kansebula and Taba-Congo, the main stages which we report.
On Saturday March 24th., after a rather tiring journey from Lubumbashi, the casket arrived in Kafubu. The first stage was the centre of the Daughters of Mary Help of Christians (FMA) of Ima-Kafubu, where the students with their families received the casket reading messages of welcome. Delegations from other institutes of Shibukeni and Kwesu were also present.
Next the casket was taken in front of the town’s cathedral where the students of the FMA put on a festive choreography which delighted the crowd gathered there. The Bishop of Sakania-Kipushi, Mons. Gaston Ruvezi SDB, incensed the casket which was then carried inside the church for public veneration. In the afternoon Mons. Ruvezi presided at the solemn Mass, while in the evening the FMA community showed a film on the life of Don Bosco.
The following day, Sunday March 25th. was rich with movements of the casket, devoutly accompanied by the faithful. In the early morning, Fr. Didier Umbi, Director of Novices in Kansebula, presided at Mass in the cathedral of Kafubu. Then the casket was taken to Ima-Kafubu, where it was honourably received by several authorities.
The pilgrimage then proceeded in the direction of Kwesu, with Mons. Ruvezi who led the way, surrounded by children. Shortly before arriving at the centre the school choir and the Sisters’ community came to meet the procession singing “Father, teacher and friend”, while other youngsters performed an attractive choreography. After a short prayer, the casket reached the last stage of its long day of travel: the Salesian Studentate of Philosophy, Kansebula. Here also the community of young Salesians, led by the Rector, Fr. Donatien Banze, and by Fr. Umbi expressed their joy at the visit of the relic of the Founder with words of welcome, song and dance.
Next morning, Monday the 26th., the casket left for Taba-Congo. The local Salesian community had gathered for the occasion the students from all the schools of the town – one nursery, one primary, one secondary and one private – besides the parishioners of the two parishes dependent on the community . Every one was moved by the simple and affectionate devotion shown by the children. The Salesians had to exercise care to keep order, since all wanted to get near to the casket.
In the afternoon Fr. Bernard Ilunga presided at Mass and conveyed to the people the example given by Don Bosco. After the celebration there began a prayer vigil which lasted through to the next morning.