Catholic Priest Assassinated in DRCongo Remembered for “pastoral enthusiasm, availability"

Credit: Radio Moto of Butembo-Beni Diocese

The late Fr. Richard Masivi Kasereka who was “assassinated” in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) hours after participating in the celebration of the World Day of Consecrated Life on February 2 has been eulogized as a Priest who was available and open to the mission of Christ with “pastoral enthusiasm”.

The lifeless body of Fr. Masivi was found in his car in DRC’s Vusesa area, between Kirumba and Mighobwe, in North-Kivu. The member the Order of Clerics Regular Minor (Caracciolini or Adorno Fathers - CRM) was returning to St. Michael the Archangel Parish of Butembo-Beni Diocese where he was serving as Parish Priest since October 2021.

He was laid to rest on Saturday, February 5 at St. Joseph Cemetery in Musienene after a Funeral Mass at the Sanctuary of Saint Francis of Assisi Kaghuntura in Butembo-Beni Diocese.

In his homily during the Funeral Mass, the Superior of the Delegation of Caracciolini Fathers in Africa said Fr. Masivi’s demise has left a great vacuum among members of the Order.

“We feel the great emptiness of your love and ambitions for the Order, of your pastoral enthusiasm, your openness, your joy, your smile, your pastoral availability,” Fr. Jean Claude Musubao Lulong said in his homily.


Fr. Musubao added, “Fr. Richard has left us at only 37 years of age, after only 3 years of Priestly ordination and after only 3 months as Parish Priest of our Parish of St. Michael the Archangel in Kaseghe.” 

“This is very early Father Richard. It is very early for the Diocese; it is very early for our Religious family; it is very early for the Parish of Kaseghe; it is very early for your biological family,” the Superior of the CRM Delegation in Africa further said. 

He continued, “Fr. Richard, the wickedness of this world has succeeded in separating you physically from us, but it will never succeed in separating you from Christ whom you have loved and served.”

Fr. Musubao recalled his interaction with the late Congolese Priest on 31 October 2021 when he was being installed as Parish Priest St. Michael the Archangel saying, “You said to me: Father, I am very happy to be in Kaseghe; Kaseghe is good; the people of Kaseghe are good, generous, and cooperative.”

“This is what justified your dedication and your pastoral courage in their favor and all this for the Lord. That is why today you can say, for your sake we are put to death all day long, we are looked upon as sheep for slaughter,” the CRM leader added.

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The motive behind the assassination of the Catholic Priest is yet to be established, a February 3 report by Actualité.cd, a DRC publication, indicates.

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 his February 5 homily during the Funeral Mass, Fr. Musubao condemned “with the utmost energy” the assassination of his confrere and called on the authorities in DRC to do more to protect citizens.

“We condemn with the utmost energy these acts of barbarism, violence and hatred that continue to sow terror and desolation in our province, and we cry out with the psalmist until when Lord?” he said.

The killing of Fr. Masivi “is one victim too many”, the Caracciolini Priest bemoaned, and continued, “A young priest cowardly murdered for who knows what reason, and we ask ourselves: who benefits from this? Why is the culture of violence and hatred winning out over the culture of peace?”


Fr. Musubao went to call upon Congolese authorities “who have the duty to secure us in our evangelizing mission to assume their responsibilities so that those responsible for this horrible act are identified, that justice is done and that the authors of these crimes are severely punished, for the mercy already granted is not opposed to justice.”

Addressing himself to the mourners during the February 5 event, the Superior of the African delegation of CRM said, “At this difficult moment, it is our faith that is put to the test; that is why we can only rely on the Word of God which tells us: Who will separate us from the love of Christ? Will it be tribulation, or anguish, or persecution, or death?”

“Therefore, as we mourn our brother in faith, let us listen to St. Paul who tells us: I am confident that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers nor height... will ever be able to separate us from the love of God manifested in Christ Jesus our Lord,” he said, adding, “Father Richard, we will miss you, but you will remain forever in our hearts.”

Also speaking during the February 5 Funeral Mass, the Local Ordinary of Butembo-Beni Diocese, Bishop Melchisédec Sikuli Paluku said, “We are constantly faced with evil and suffering in our human lives. Where does evil come from? And how can God allow it?”

“When fishermen are prevented from going to sea because of the storm, they mend their nets. Never despair. And do not return evil for evil. First soothe your heart, for you now know better than anyone else what suffering is,” he added.

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On February 3, Bishop Paluku announced the celebration of Holy Mass in his Episcopal See for nine consecutive days in honor of the late Fr. Masivi, the alumnus of Kenya-based Tangaza University College where he completed his studies in Theology in 2017.

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.