Fiftieth Anniversary of the “Kongolo Martyrs”
Celebrations and Materials Available
In no.277 of Spiritan Newflash, we told you that celebrations were being planned to commemorate the fiftieth anniversary of the death of twenty confreres, killed in Kongolo in the present-day Democratic Republic of Congo on the 1st January 1962, and that some material was being produced to mark the occasion so that it could be remembered each year. Here is the latest news.
The anniversary has already been remembered at several celebrations. In Lubumbashi, in the DRC, a “Kongolo Martyrs’ Week” was organised. Conferences have been given on subjects relating to the deaths of our confreres in 1962. In Kongolo itself, a pilgrimage in four stages was organised from the 29th to the 30th of December 2011, starting at the Holy Spirit Fraternity (a Spiritan house which serves as a postulancy) to the cathedral church of the Vicariate, by way of the procure of the minor seminary. Many of the faithfull took part together with the local bishop his Lordship Oscar Ngoy, and many Sisters. Testimonies were given. The choir of St. Joseph Kangoy parish composed a song in litany form dedicated to the “Spiritan martyrs”. The pilgrimage finished on the 1st of January with a solemn Mass, which is held every year, in the memorial church of St. Joseph Kangoy.
In many places where our Congregation is present the confreres of Kongolo have been remembered. A special celebration presided by the local bishop is planned at the Kongolo Memorial in Gentinnes, Belgium, for the 26th of May this year, with the presence of the “martyrs’” families.
The material mentioned before is now available in French, English, Portuguese and Dutch:
- A 45-page booklet, Faithful Witnesses, calls to mind the events preceding the massacre, the martyrdom of the confreres, the people who lived through the events, the memories of the events and some of the fruits resulting from them.
- A post-card with a prayer to the Kongolo Martyrs
- A poster
Soon two videos on the event will be available on You-tube: one of thirteen minutes produced at the Generalate by Fr. Firmino Cachada, and the other of twenty minutes produced in Belgium. You will find them if you look on You-tube putting ‘Kongolo Martyrs’ in the search engine.
Circumscription Superiors are invited to order the material they wish through the Secretary General, indicating the number required and the language. Spiritans in Belgium, France, Switzerland and Netherlands are asked to contact Gentinnes directly. Circumscriptions will only be charged for postage. This material will help us to remember our martyrs, above all at Pentecost, and to remind us that we are all called in one way or another to give ourselves for those whom we serve.
Pope John Paul II wrote on the 7th of May 2000: “The Church has always found in the martyrs the seeds of life……their memory must not be forgotten. On the contrary it must be preserved by the written word…”
Prayer to the Martyrs
Most holy and merciful Father,
You love us and give us Jesus,
Who saves us by his blood poured out on the cross.
We thank you for the missionaries who died in Kongolo.
They united their blood with the blood of Jesus,
And played their active part in the mystery of the cross.
Faithful to their missionary vocation,
They remained with their flock
And gave their lives for the sheep.
At this time when we commemorate their martyrdom,
We beg you,
May their blood bring the fruits of justice and peace
To the soil of Kongolo
And to the whole of Africa.
Grant us through their intercession,
The grace to remain faithful to your call and fervent in the Spirit.