DR Congo Delegation Shares Impressions After Witnessing Elevation of their New Cardinal

Fridolin Cardinal Ambongo at the Ordinary Public Consistory for the creation of news Cardinals

As Pope Francis conferred the red hat on 13 new Cardinals on Friday, October 4 at the Vatican signifying their willingness to shed their blood for the Church, a delegation from Africa’s second largest country, the Democratic Republic of Congo (DR Congo) was in Rome to witness and celebrate the elevation of their compatriot to Cardinal.

Local Ordinary of one of the continent’s single largest ecclesiastical territories, Fridolin Cardinal Ambongo Besungu OFM Cap. of Kinshasa Archdiocese was the only African-born among the 13 made Cardinals.

Some members of the DR Congo delegation in Rome who included the country’s government officials led by the President Felix Tshisekedi, opposition leaders, religious men and women, family members as well as lay people have shared their impressions on the elevation event.

“It is a great joy for our country to have a Cardinal and today it was normal that the institutions of the Republic could be represented at this event,” First Vice President of DR Congo’s Senate, Samy Badibanga has been quoted as saying at an event hosted in  honor of the new Cardinal at Ergife Hotel in Rome.

For the speaker of the National Assembly, Jean Mabunda, the elevation of the Archbishop of Kinshasa “is an honour already because the country has 32 million Catholics.”


The female leader of MPs in DR Congo encouraged her compatriots to offer the new Cardinal necessary support and collaboration saying, “He’s an elected official. At this moment, I think that everyone must rally behind him because it is finally the Congolese flag that flies.”

Father Julien Matondo who ministers to Congolese Catholics in London  and who said he knows the Capuchin Prelate from listening to his homilies and speeches described  the new Congolese Cardinal as “a good man, righteous (and) speaking out against the suffering (which) people go through.”

“We were chosen to free people, not leave them as slaves and he does that,” Fr. Matondo said about Cardinal Ambongo and added, “He can fight for the people, and for that I am proud of him.”

The leaders of the country used the opportunity to call for unity across the political divide, which their gathering in Rome for the single purpose of celebrating their new Cardinal seemed a perfect demonstration.

As Vatican News has reported about the diversity of the DR Congo delegation in Rome, “the occasion showed what could be achieved if the people of this great nation put aside their perennial differences to march as one people.”

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“Today, there is no opposition, there is no majority. There is a Congolese who was created Cardinal. It’s something very important and we’re all here,” opposition affiliated politician José Endundu Bononge has been quoted as saying.

“We want the Congo to be able to move forward. And the exceptional work that the Cardinal has done ... must be recognized and supported by all Congolese who want this country to progress,” the politician said.

“We want the Congo to be able to move forward. And the exceptional work that the Cardinal has done, first as Bishop and Archbishop... for the whole of Congo, must be recognized and supported by all Congolese who want this country to progress,” Mr. Bononge added.

Cardinal Ambongo is the second OFM Cap. Cardinal in the world after the Archbishop of Boston, United States, Seán Patrick Cardinal O'Malley.