Cardinal Parolin to the Missionaries in Congo: ‘The Universal Church Thanks You’

Following the morning Mass in the DRC capital, Cardinal Parolin dedicated his last meeting in the country to the poor and ill and to bringing the Pope’s care and concern for elderly people, children, single mothers, couples, and teenagers who experience suffering.

Newsroom (05/07/2022 2:30 PM Gaudium Press) At the Apostolic Nunciature in Kinshasa, Cardinal Secretary of State Pietro Parolin met with a group of local religious congregations and those they assist. The Cardinal sought to offer the Church’s support for the helpless and for the religious men and women who offered them food, medical care, and love.

Cardinal Parolin told those present that these people are all human beings who “have passed from death to life, from humiliation to dignity, from sadness to joy.”

He offered smiles, handshakes, and blessings to men and women in wheelchairs and patted the cheeks of young people. In return, he received gratitude, song, and a necklace of purple roses—a typical Indian gift—placed around his neck by the Missionaries of Charity.

As part of the encounter, representatives of various religious congregations took to the microphone to tell their stories of service.

Sister Marie Chimene, with the Daughters of St. Joseph of Genoni, spoke first, telling of how her hospitaller order helps local street children, whom they prefer to call “children of God.” The nuns go out to find these children on the streets of Kinshasa and bring them back to offer them a home.

“These young people no longer have a home or a family, because they have been kicked out or for other reasons that we do not always know, since there is great suffering that prevents them from speaking. Some have even been kidnapped and then abandoned,” explained Sr. Marie. “We try to offer them regular hot meals, training in hygiene and manners, and we teach them to pray.”

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Another order helping people on the street is the Hospitaller Sisters of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, who take in the so-called “sorceleurs.” These “sorcerers” are accused of being involved in witchcraft, even for so minor an offence as being unable to walk properly, and are often abandoned by their families.

The Missionaries of Charity were sent to the Democratic Republic of the Congo in 1987 by Mother Teresa, who was deeply touched by the misery she encountered in the country and opened three homes for those suffering “all kinds of poverty.”

Finally, representatives of the Community of Sant’Egidio told the Vatican Secretary of State about their Dream project for HIV patients. Thanks to a care center established in 2011, more than 1,700 people suffering from AIDS, malnutrition, hypertension, diabetes, malaria, and tuberculosis are being treated free of charge.

During the height of the Covid-19 pandemic, the Center remained open, and its laboratory was used to diagnose the virus or collect samples. Volunteers are currently engaged with health staff in a large awareness and vaccination campaign in markets, ports, and health centers.

Taking the floor and speaking with visible emotion, Cardinal Parolin told all these people that he would carry their stories to the Pope. “I will certainly bring your names and faces to Pope Francis, asking him to carry you in his prayers, giving thanks to God for the wonders He has done for you.”

“The universal Church thanks you and encourages you to persevere in your efforts, even at the cost of difficulties and apparent failures,” the Cardinal said. “In your daily lives, you experience how love, when distributed, is not divided and does not run out, but multiplies and grows.”

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“Your names sound like so many beautiful musical notes in the song of thanksgiving that we must present to God every day,” the Cardinal added. “Just when you thought all might be lost, light and life arose in your pain and transformed everything. Of course, not everything is rosy and you still face difficult moments, perhaps many anxieties and fears of tomorrow. But God has opened a new way for each of you; He has put you back on your feet, and invites you to continue walking with Him. He has extended His hand to you, do not let go of it.”

(Via Vatican News)

Compiled by Raju Hasmukh

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