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Plans Underway to Return Late Congolese Archbishop to Native Country for Interment

Late Archbishop Jean-Pierre Tafunga Mbayo of DR Congo's Lubumbashi Archdiocese who succumbed to an illness Wednesday, March 31 in Pretoria, South Africa.

Plans are underway to ship the body of the late Congolese Archbishop who died in South Africa back to his native country for interment.

Archbishop Jean-Pierre Tafunga Mbayo, 78, succumbed to “an illness” in Pretoria, South Africa, Wednesday, March 31.

“The Archdiocese of Lubumbashi announces with deep sorrow the death of His Excellency Msgr. Jean-Pierre Tafunga Mbayo, Metropolitan Archbishop of Lubumbashi. He died in Pretoria, South Africa, on Wednesday 31 March 2021 following an illness,” the Vicar General of the Congolese Metropolitan see, Fr. Denis Moto, says in a statement.

In the statement issued March 31, Fr. Moto adds, “The program for the repatriation of the mortal remains, the funeral and other arrangements will be communicated to you later.”

“May our father in the faith rest in the hope of a glorious resurrection,” the Congolese Cleric implores in his statement obtained by ACI Africa. 

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The late Archbishop, a member of the Religious Institute of the Salesians of Don Bosco (SDB) was ordained a Priest in September 1972. He was at the helm of the Salesians of Central Africa Province between 1990 and 1993.

He was appointed Bishop of Kilwa-Kasenga Diocese by St. Pope John Paul II in October 1992 and ordained a Bishop in January 1993.

In 2002, the native of DRC’s Panda-Likasi was transferred to Uvira Diocese.

Pope emeritus Benedict XVI appointed him Coadjutor Archbishop of Lubumbashi in 2008. He has been at the helm of the Congolese Archdiocese since December 2010.

Last year, the late Archbishop expressed concerns over persistent insecurity in DRC saying attacks on the people of God in his Ecclesiastical jurisdiction had reached “unspeakable” levels. 

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“The population of the city of Lubumbashi is experiencing a daily increase in insecurity that has reached a level that is unspeakable,” Archbishop Tafunga said last May.

He explained, “Not a night goes by without us learning that rapes, robberies, killings and vandalisms are taking place, mainly on the outskirts of the city where modest populations live.”

The late Archbishop had recommended that the country’s security personnel do everything to prevent possible future insecurities saying, “We ask our authorities to redouble their efforts to bring security and peace back to our homes, for peace is the new name for development.”