Live Your Priestly Lives “in favor of the needy”: Catholic Bishop of Butembo-Beni, DR Congo, to Priest at Chrism Mass

Bishop Melchisedec Sikuli Paluku of the Catholic Diocese of Butembo-Beni in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). Credit: Radio Moto

Bishop Melchisedec Sikuli Paluku of the Catholic Diocese of Butembo-Beni in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) has challenged Priests ministering in his Episcopal See to be pastors with the smell of the sheep they shepherd.

In his Tuesday, March 26 homily during the Chrism Mass that is traditionally celebrated on Holy Thursday, Bishop Paluku paid tribute to Consecrated Persons who exercise their Priestly ministry in contexts of insecurity.

“Despite this insecurity which is real in our Diocese with the activities of the M23 rebels, Priests should live not for themselves, but rather for the general interest in favor of the needy,” he said. 

“In this context, Consecrated Priests should be shepherds with the smell of their sheep through consolation, closeness and hope in the midst of injustice,” the Congolese Catholic Bishop said echoing the message of Pope Francis.

According to Bishop Paluku, “We cannot claim to evangelize others if we are not evangelized ourselves. We cannot hope to sanctify souls if we do not sanctify ourselves.”


The Congolese Catholic Church leader urged “everyone in priestly communities to teach the Catholic faith, and to constantly draw on the energies of their ministry.”

He said that this is achieved through the sacraments of the Eucharist and reconciliation, and through daily prayer, such as the rosary. 

The Local Ordinary of Butembo-Beni went on to reassure Priests ministering in his Episcopal See of this closeness in prayer and mission.

“Christians mustn't tire of praying for us, offering guidance and advice when we need it. Because baptized people are going to take part in our mission to spread the good news,” Bishop Paluku said during the March 26 anticipated Chrism Mass.

Jude Atemanke is a Cameroonian journalist with a passion for Catholic Church communication. He holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Journalism and Mass Communication from the University of Buea in Cameroon. Currently, Jude serves as a journalist for ACI Africa.