Congolese Cardinal Advocates for Pastoral Initiatives “with the poor at heart”

Fridolin Cardinal Ambongo of DRC's Kinshasa Archdiocese. Credit: CENCO

Ahead of the World Day of the Poor to be marked this year on November 19, the Archbishop of Kinshasa in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) has called for pastoral initiatives that are hinged on the needs of the poor.

In a message issued Monday, November 13, Fridolin Cardinal Ambongo said, “It's good to keep our eyes open to see the reality of the world as well as that of our country in general and our city of Kinshasa in particular.”

“The contemporary challenge is to understand it, and to allow ourselves to be challenged by it. Otherwise, we will never be able to objectively assess the needs of the poor, and we will never be able to respond effectively and appropriately,” Cardinal Ambongo said.

He urged the people of God in his Episcopal See to embark on pastoral initiatives that “place concern for the poor at the heart of the life of our communities, our parishes, our deaneries and our Archdiocese.”

The member of the Order of Friars Minor Capuchin (OFM Cap) urged the faithful to show love for the poor, and stand by them, saying “Let's walk with them, and support their hope. Let's seek together adequate responses that correspond to their real needs.”


Established by Pope Francis in 2016 at the end of the Extraordinary Jubilee Year of Mercy, the World Day of the Poor is commemorated on the 33rd Sunday in Ordinary Time.  

The seventh World Day of the Poor will be celebrated on the theme "Do not turn your face away from anyone who is poor" taken from the Book of Tobit 4:7.

In his message for the event, Pope Francis says the voices of the poor are not being heard. 

“We are living in times that are not particularly sensitive to the needs of the poor. The pressure to adopt an affluent lifestyle increases, while the voices of those dwelling in poverty tend to go unheard,” the Holy Father said in the message signed on the June 13 feast day of St. Anthony of Padua.

In his November 13 message, Cardinal Ambongo insisted that pastoral initiatives in favor of the poor must be carried out in an “orderly fashion,” adding, “For it is only in this way that the effective attention we must pay to the poorest and most fragile among us will make our fraternal communion and solidarity visible.” 

More in Africa

The Local Ordinary of Kinshasa Archdiocese who also serves as the President of the Symposium of Episcopal Conference of Africa and Madagascar (SECAM) implored, “May the Virgin Mary, Our Lady of the Poor and Consoler of the afflicted, obtain for us from Her Son the grace to hear, ever more clearly, the cries of the poor and to respond to them with joy and eagerness.”

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.