The Archbishop of Kinshasa, Fridolin Cardinal Ambongo, was interviewed by Radio Maria Congo on 12 November 2023. Having personally undergone two successive demises, stated: “Beyond death, resurrection”. For him, the shrine of Montligeon epitomizes the place where to be in communion with our brothers and sisters who have entered into the great mystery of death.
I have just been through an ordeal. A week ago, I lost my youngest sister and three days later, an older sister. Humanly speaking, it’s very hard. I was not meant to come and visit here because I ought to have remained at home for mourning, but Christian hope advised me that Montligeon might be the place to go to in order to be in communion with my departed sisters.
I come here as a pastor and because I have been invited to do so for some years now. Just think: this double bereavement took place merely a week prior to my leaving to come here. The Christian hope believes that beyond distress and grief, stands the Risen One. I came as a faithful and prayerful Christian who believes in the resurrection of the dead. The shrine of Our Lady of Montligeon is the ideal place to create communion between the living and our brothers and sisters who have passed away.
Beyond death, resurrection
The mystery of death is at the core of pilgriming to Montligeon. Moreover, for Christians, life does not just merely stop with death for, beyond death, there is the resurrection. So when one comes and visits here, the reason is not for the mystery of death alone, but because one believes in the resurrection of the body. We come here to be in communion with our brothers and sisters who have entered ahead of us in the experience of death. They have reached the other side, they are alive, and are in communion with us. This is the apostolate of the Montligeon shrine.
“In the face of death, we are all equal”
All of us have undergone the loss of a loved one, and we are aware that we shall die. We bear life in and within us, but death as well. That’s why coming here is an opportunity not to live like people who act as if life on earth was the end of it all. One gets ever so concerned about what goes on in the world, with power, wealth, honor and so on, but we forget that in the face of death we’re all equal.
That’s food for thought and can help us improve the way we live and relate to our brothers and sisters, because the hour will come when we’ll all have to face death and account for our life.
Interviewed by Radio Maria Congo