Well it is good to be home again and in my own bed after my extended trip to Africa. My visit was very formative and necessary for my role as Vicar General of the Josephites. People have been asking me how it was and my answer has been, “Wonderful and dreadful in equal measure”. Wonderful in that I got to see thousands of children being educated in the depths of the forests in Congo and in Kinshasa the capital city. I also saw the three parishes we support full of life (the singing – wow!) they were active and hundreds of families being supported at the missions. I also met with our scholastics and novices who are training. Good young men.
But Congo is a huge country that is getting poorer and more unstable by the day. The political situation is very precarious; only last week 40 policemen were beheaded in Kananga only 100 miles from where the Josephites operate in the Kasai region. The result of this is the breakdown of the infrastructure of the country. In our missions there is no running water, no electricity and the roads are washed away so travel is very difficult. It took us on one trip five and a half hours to go 50 miles, digging ourselves out of the mud and having to go very slowly so as not to break the axels. (So don’t complain to me if you are caught in a five minute traffic jam on the 135!!). Amazing work for the glory of God being undertaken in the most adverse conditions. I have come back with the determination to help improve these situations where I can. So please keep these schools and parishes in your prayers and especially the safety of our Josephite Fathers working there.
I want to thank the parish team, clergy, catechists and administrators who have looked after the parish in my absence so well.
God bless you and your families
Fr Aidan Peter CJ