Bishop in DRC Announces Novena of Holy Mass in Honor of “assassinated” Catholic Priest

The late Fr. Richard Masivi Kasereka, CRM, at St. Michael the Archangel Kaseghe Parish of DRC's Butembo-Beni Diocese on 31 October 2021 when he was being installed as Parish Priest. Credit: Caracciolini Fathers, DR Congo

The Catholic Bishop of Butembo-Beni Diocese in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) has announced the celebration of Holy Mass in his Episcopal See for nine consecutive days in honor of Fr. Richard Masivi Kasereka who, the Congolese Bishop says, was assassinated on Wednesday, February 2. 

“Father Richard Masivi was assassinated on 2/2/2022 by armed men in Vusesa, between Kirumba and Mighobwe, in the Territory of Lubero (North-Kivu), while he was returning to his parish of Saint Michael the Archangel, after the celebration of the World Day of Consecrated Life, in which he had just participated in Kanyabayonga,” Bishop Melchisédec Sikuli Paluku says in his Thursday, February 3 statement obtained by ACI Africa.

The lifeless body of the member the Order of Clerics Regular Minor (Caracciolini or Adorno Fathers - CRM) was found in his car, the Mayor of Kirumba Municipality has said in a February 3 report, adding, “he was alone in his car … he was lying next to his phone, which was not taken away by his killers.”

The motive behind the assassination of the Catholic Priest is not yet known, the February 3 report by Actualité.cd, a DRC publication, indicates.

In a separate statement shared with ACI Africa, the Superior of the Delegation of the Adorno Fathers in Africa, Fr. Jean-Claude Musubaho, says the body of their confrere was taken to the Matanda morgue in Butembo on the morning of February 3.


Butembo-Beni Diocese where the late Priest was serving is located in North Eastern DRC where attacks from Allied Democratic Forces (ADF) have been reported. ADF is an ISIS affiliated rebel group from neighboring Uganda reportedly under the leadership of a Muslim who abandoned his Christian faith. 

In June last year, the Local Ordinary of Butembo-Beni Diocese denounced terror attacks and far-reaching human rights violations that he said seemed to target Christians.

Announcing the Novena of Holy Mass in his jurisdiction in his February 3 statement, Bishop Paluku says, “As a sign of communion and compassion with all the Caracciolini, all the parishes, all the shrines as well as all the priestly and religious communities of the Diocese of Butembo-Beni are invited to celebrate the Eucharist from the 3rd to the 11th of February 2022 with a pious intention to recommend the soul of Father Richard Masivi to the mercy of God.”

Investigations into the assassination of Fr. Masivi have been initiated, Bishop Paluku says about the Congolese Priest who was to turn 37 on February 5.

In his February 3 statement, the Catholic Bishop expresses his “most heartfelt condolences” to the Priests, Consecrated, lay faithful of Butembo-Beni, the Superior General and the Council of the members of Caracciolini. 

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The late Fr. Masivi took his first and perpetual vows in the Order of Clerics Regular Minor in June 2013 and March 2018 respectively. The alumnus of Kenya-based Tangaza University College that is jointly-owned by 22-member Religious Orders was ordained a Priest on 21 February 2019.

He has been serving as Parish Priest of St. Michael the Archangel Catholic Parish of Butembo-Beni Diocese since 31 October 2021.

"Killed after three months of his ministry as Parish Priest, Christians are mourning a Pastor who had great plans for the Parish," Fr. Laurianus Banyuzukwabo Tuyisabe has eulogized his confrere in a tribute.

In the tribute shared with ACI Africa February 3, Fr. Tuyisabe says in reference to the late Congolese Priest, “I remember him as a dedicated religious, dedicated missionary. He loved our Religious Family."

Fr. Tuyisabe who currently serves as Chaplain for migrants and refugees in Italy's Aversa Diocese adds in his tribute to his late compatriot, "Those who met him will remember him for his kindness and joyful spirit, which attracted so many people to him."


He recalls Fr. Masivi’s skills as a footballer, describing him as “a good goal keeper” who “made sure all his duties were done perfectly.”

"May his soul rest in peace and the killers be converted," the Caracciolini Priest says in his tribute shared with ACI Africa February 3. 

The Superior General of the CRM has described the news of the “assassination” of Fr. Masivi as “sad and shocking” and called for justice. 

In a statement obtained by ACI Africa, Fr. Teodoro Kalaw says, “We condemn this murderous act and we pray that due justice will be served soon. We, as a religious family, mourn during this time, united along with the religious community and the parish of St. Michael the Archangel where he was assigned.”

“He, who so generously gave his life to God through the profession of the evangelical councils in our religious family, had his life taken from him in a violent and despicable manner,” Fr. Kalaw says about the late Congolese CRM member, and adds, “He experienced the shadow of the cross and the shedding of his blood will be, in the words of Church Father Tertullian, the blood of the martyrs is the seed of the Church.”

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The 60th Superior General of the Order of Clerics Regular Minor continues, “Father Richard’s death is a seed that has been planted in the hearts of those who loved him, especially his family, his religious community and his parishioners.”

“Though he was ordained only in 2019, his religious life and priesthood were a model to many,” the Italy-based further says, adding that the late Congolese CRM member “desired to reflect the integrity of what it means to be a good ‘Caracciolino.’”

“Father Richard’s death is not the final story but rather the beginning of new life,” Fr. Kalaw, a native of the U.S. says in his two-page statement dated February 3, and explains in reference to the assassinated Priest, “The loss that we experience is a witness to and recognition of the good that he did and the love that he showed to us when he was among us.”

“Father Richard died a good religious and a good priest. His life will be remembered not only by the African Delegation, but by our entire religious family world-wide,” he further eulogizes his confrere.

He continues, “In his death, he (Fr. Masivi) died in the Lord. Let us pray for him, for his family, and for our own religious family.”

“May we be full of gratitude to God for our brother, for his friendship as a religious and for his work of ministry which had touched so many,” the CRM Superior General implores.

“Fr. Richard thank you for your life testament, thank you for your gift of religious and priestly Life,” Fr. Kalaw says, and adds, “I also extend my deepest condolences to the family of Fr. Richard, relatives and friends. We are all mourning but we mourn with faith, hope and love.”

Fr. Masivi’s Funeral Mass has been scheduled for Saturday, February 5 at the Sanctuary of Saint Francis of Assisi Kaghuntura in Butembo-Beni Diocese, and later laid to rest at St. Joseph Cemetery in Musienene.

Magdalene Kahiu is a Kenyan journalist with passion in Church communication. She holds a Degree in Social Communications from the Catholic University of Eastern Africa (CUEA). Currently, she works as a journalist for ACI Africa.