, 02 August, 2020 / 8:39 PM
An official of the charity service established five months ago for the Archdiocese of Kinshasa in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) has said that the entity exists as “an expression of God's merciful and compassionate love” and fulfills its mandate by reaching out “to the poorest people” within the Archdiocese.
Named “Diakonia,” the charity was established by the Archbishop of Kinshasa, Fridolin Cardinal Ambongo, as an extension of his episcopal vision, "Omnia omnibus – all to all.”
“The actions of Diakonia are meant to be an expression of God's merciful and compassionate love that inspires compassion, solidarity and sharing in each one of us,” Sr. Câline Mampuya who oversees the activities of the charity told Vatican Radio in a July 28 news report.
The charity’s name “Diakonia”, which is an inspiration from the first encyclical of Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI Deus Caritas est, refers to the “service of love of neighbor exercised in a communitarian and ordered manner.”
“Diakonia is the implementation of the charity of the Church, which imitates its Divine Master, Jesus Christ, the Good Samaritan par excellence,” Sr. Câline who is a member of the Congregation of the Sisters of St. Theresa of the Child Jesus of Kinshasa added.
The work of the charity in the Archdiocese of Kinshasa “is ultimately an attitude of the heart, nourished by the pericope of the Gospel according to Matthew in which Jesus says that ‘whenever you did to one of the least of these, my brothers and sisters, you did it to me’,” Sr. Câline further said.
Since inception, the charity has reached out to at least 4,000 families, including all the houses of religious formation in the Archdiocese of Kinshasa, Sr. Caline has said.
Amid COVID-19 pandemic, which has infected at least 8,931 people and claimed 210 lives while 6,095 patients have recovered, Sr. Câline says the charity’s teams have distributed palliatives such as masks, sanitizers and food items to vulnerable populations, and also sensitized people on barrier measures.
The humanitarian assistance, the Congolese nun has said, has been distributed indiscriminately to people of all faiths, including Protestants and Muslims in the region covered by the 61-year-old Archdiocese.
On the relationship between Diakonia and the Archdiocesan Caritas, Sr. Câline said that the two Archdiocesan entities are "the fingers of one hand that touch the vulnerable" even though Diakonia “would like to bring a more concrete warmth to the poor, by joining them in their existential peripheries.”
She explained, “This is indeed the image of a Church on the way of what Pope Francis speaks of, which Cardinal Ambongo wanted to reproduce by creating this service of charity in his Archdiocese.”
Responding to the question of whether the government remains relevant amid the charity doing the work of state agencies by relieving the misery of the vulnerable population, Sr. Caline affirmed that “the evangelical charity of the church does not encourage the state to resign.”
On the contrary, she said, “the evangelical closeness to the poor reminds us of the urgency of good governance, which must become the priority of priorities for our African nations on the brink of the precipice.”
In this context, the nun believes that the great challenge of the Diakonia is “to strengthen the bonds of solidarity and sharing to reduce significantly and sustainably the glaring disparities that exist in Congolese society.”
Sr. Caline desires to see Diakonia “spread throughout the whole of the Democratic Republic of Congo.”
ACI Africa was officially inaugurated on August 17, 2019 as a continental Catholic news agency at the service of the Church in Africa. Headquartered in Kenya’s capital, Nairobi, this media apostolate will strive to facilitate the telling of Africa’s story by providing media coverage of Catholic events on the African continent, giving visibility to the activities of the Church across Africa where statistics show significant growth in numbers and the continent gradually becoming the axis of Catholicism. This is expected to contribute to an awareness of and appreciation for the significant role of the Church in Africa and over time, the realization of a realistic image of Africa that often receives negative media framing.
Father Don Bosco Onyalla
Editor-in-Chief, ACI Africa