Laity Council in DR Congo Recognizes Cardinal with “Bakanja-Kimbangu Grand Citizen Award”

Laurent Cardinal Monsengwo Pasinya after receiving the Bakanja-Kimbangu Grand Citizen Merit Award.
Credit: Archdiocese of Kinshasa

The Laity Coordination Committee (CLC) in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) has recognized Laurent Cardinal Monsengwo Pasinya for his “concrete and exceptional acts,” giving him the Bakanja-Kimbangu Grand Citizen Merit Award.

Launched in July 2020, the Bakanja-Kimbangu Grand Citizen Merit Award honours Congolese citizens who distinguish themselves through concrete and exceptional acts.

Cardinal Monsengwo received the award named after two important historical figures from the DRC, Isidore Bakanja and Simon Kimbangu, Saturday, February 20. The 2018 Nobel Peace Prize winner, Dr. Denis Mukwege also received the same award.

“The existence of a prize in support of the promotion and defence of moral values seemed to us more than indispensable to honour those among us who distinguish themselves by exceptional acts of public interest towards justice, human rights, peace and national harmony,” CLC Coordinator, Prof. Isidore Ndaywel told journalists February 20.

Addressing members of the Press after receiving the award, Cardinal Monsengwo paid homage to Isidore Bakanja and Simon Kimbangu saying, “The title of this award by which you honour Dr. Mukwege and myself is striking. Bakanja-Kimbangu brings into peaceful coexistence a blessed Catholic and a founder of traditional African religions.”

The Archbishop emeritus of DRC’s Kinshasa Archdiocese who retired in November 2018 added, “If religious affiliation separates these two historical figures, the same values and intellectual convictions bring them together, the most fundamental of which is the dignity of the human person as a human creature.”

The 81-year-old Congolese Cardinal acknowledged with appreciation efforts being made by the members of CLC, sometimes at the risk of their lives, to be in all circumstances and at the heart of our society as “witnesses of Christ and to inscribe the divine law in the DRC.” 

In a video message sent to the organizers of the event, Dr. Mukwege, on his part, expressed his appreciation to the members of CLC for their efforts toward ensuring true democracy in DRC.

“Like many compatriots, I admire your commitment as a citizen. In recent years, despite the fierce repression of the previous regime, you have stood valiantly against the crushing of our population for the holding of elections and political change,” Dr. Mukwege, gynaecologist who was awarded the 2018 Nobel Peace Prize for his efforts in promoting human and moral values in recent years said in the video message.

For next year’s award, CLC leadership announced that Congolese citizens will be involved in proposing candidates who will distinguish themselves in all sectors of life to merit the prize.

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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.

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