Visiting Montligeon Prayer Groups in the Democratic Republic of Congo

20 April 2022

Montligeon en République démocratique du Congo 2022
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The Rector of the shrine Montligeon, Fr. Paul Denizot together with Fr. Guillaume d’Anselme, chaplain at the shrine, travelled to the Democratic Republic of Congo in February 2022 in order to meet with as well as initiate new Montligeon Prayer Groups.

The Montligeon Prayer Groups in the Democratic Republic of Congo

“A Church with a thousand faces”, such is the reality that the fathers discovered during their trip. In February 2022, they travelled to the Democratic Republic of Congo to meet with, and offer their support to, the Montligeon Prayer Groups in Kinshasa, Boma and Matadi.

They also paid a visit to the diocese of Mbuji-Mayi, twined with the diocese of Sees*, to present talks on the Fraternity and support initiating Montligeon Prayer Groups. Furthermore, they were received by Cardinal Ambongo, Archbishop of Kinshasa, by the bishop of Boma, Msgr. Mbimbi Mbamba, and by Msgr. Kasanda, Bishop of Mbuji-Mayi.

The spiritual Fraternity of Montligeon is established in Benin, Cameroun, the Republic of Central Africa, Congo Brazzaville, Congo DRC, Ivory Coast, Gabon, Guinea, Mali, Rwanda, Senegal, Seychelles and Togo. It was initiated in Congo DRC in the 1980ies, rooting in the dioceses of Kinshasa, and subsequently that of Boma, Budjala, Kisantu, Lisala, Luisa, Matadi.

The deceased are not dead, but living

“The Fraternity is booming in Africa”, observed Fr. Paul Denizot. “Grounded on cultures where death is a component of life. Obviously, like anywhere, death remains fearsome yet it is accepted. When someone dies, the whole community comes and wakes his or her mortal remains; one eats, cries, sing, and prays beside the corpse. Christians do not speak of “dead” as such but of “deceased” for, in the Christian faith, the “dead are not dead” but living.

Indeed the African traditions of the time-honored ancestors provided fertile grounds for the Catholic faith to root and develop. It incorporated the beauty of such a tradition. It merely sifted and discarded original magical practices of the latter so as to bring the unheard Christian hope to its accomplishment. Honoring one’s ancestors leads to the communion of Saints in all the languages, peoples and nations.”

(*Montligeon is part of the French diocese of Sees.)

Mary is the Mother of all the Fraternity members

“We visited the DRC in order to show our support to the Montligeon prayer groups there; yet, it was they who cheered us by their dynamism”, acknowledged both chaplains in wonder. “I was bowled over when I realized that we really are but one Fraternity, despite country boundaries”, confesses Fr. Paul, “it was especially substantial when we were taken to the Marian shrine of Mbuji Mayi. For Mary is the mother in Montligeon just as She is the Mother in Africa. In contemplating Mary’s motherhood over humankind, we really get to grasp that we are indeed brothers and sisters.

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