“Five beautiful, intense years in Kinshasa”: Outgoing Apostolic Nuncio in DR Congo

Archbishop Ettore Balestrero addressing journalists after a farewell audience with President Félix Antoine Tshisekedi. Credit: Presidency of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC)

Archbishop Ettore Balestrero, who is leaving the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) after a five-year diplomatic service among the Congolese people has described as “beautiful and intense” his stay in the Central African nation.

“I've spent five beautiful and intense years in Kinshasa. I thank God and I also thank the Congolese people for supporting me throughout these years,” the Apostolic Nuncio in DRC told journalists July 10, following a farewell audience with President Félix Antoine Tshisekedi

Archbishop Balestrero, who was appointed to DRC in July 2018 added, “It is with you that I've worked, and I must confess that I've greatly appreciated your hospitality and collaboration.”

“With some of you, I have even developed a real friendship, which will always remain in my heart,” the member of the Clergy of Italy’s Rome Diocese who moves on to serve as the representative of the Holy See to the United Nations and Specialized Institutions in Geneva following his June 21 appointment said.

He continued, “I have learned a lot from the Congolese people in particular the meaning of patience, and resilience.”


“For a Congolese, the future is never closed: that's a conception of life, a philosophy that would have left a lasting impression on me, because it opens a window on the future and teaches us to put the chances on our side, without ceasing to rely on others; it's what I'd call the philosophy of hope,” Archbishop Balestrero said.

The Vatican diplomat who is also to serve at the World Trade Organization (WTO) and Holy See Representative at the International Organization for Migration (IOM) encouraged the people of God in DRC to “open up to God, learning to put everything in his hands.”

He went on to appeal for transparent, credible, and peaceful elections in December, and added, "It is true that the challenges of democracy and improving the living conditions of the population remain permanent, but who's to say they'll never go away? However, the future must be prepared now, and we are all protagonists.”

Reflecting on the violence and insecurity in the Eastern part of DRC, Archbishop Balestrero said that the Holy See “stands alongside the suffering population, alongside the millions of displaced persons, and defends the integrity and territorial sovereignty” of the Central African nation.

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.