Catholic Church in DR Congo vows to heal ‘mental wounds’ of violence: priest

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The DRC is rich in mineral resources such as oil, gold, diamonds, lithium, copper, cobalt, tungsten and coltan. The latter is essential for the manufacture of mobile phones and computers. Agriculturally, the country is blessed with the cultivation of coffee, cocoa, rubber, palm oil and tea.

ACN reports that despite the abundance of natural resources in the DRC, almost none of these riches reach the population.

“The majority of the 89.5 million inhabitants live in dire poverty,” reports the pontifical charitable foundation, adding, “The exploitation of minerals, which are extracted under dubious conditions, leads to bloody conflicts involving various rebel groups , including Islamist terrorist militias. It is estimated that there are now thousands of dead, three million internally displaced people and at least 7,500 displaced people in DR Congo.

Often the church is the only organization providing support to people in the DRC, reports the charity, adding that the church is “raising its voice against the violence and inaction of the corrupt government”.

While the state is mostly unable to care for its people, the church runs countless schools, orphanages and clinics and offers help in many areas,” reports the ACN Foundation.

The charity reports that since 1966 it has supported the people of God in the DRC by promoting the ministry of the Church to the people through numerous projects, such as funding bicycles for catechists, construction and maintenance churches and religious buildings.

The foundation has also supported the libraries of educational institutions and provided emergency aid to refugees in Goma, a city in the eastern region of the DRC.

ACN reports that Fr. Cishugi who grew up in Bukavu was sent in 2008 by his bishop for his parish pastoral experience in the village of Kaniola, shortly after a horrific massacre occurred there.

Between 1996 and 2008, 400 Hutus were killed, 4,000 women and girls were raped and countless children were kidnapped in this parish, reports the Catholic foundation, adding that after Fr. Cishugi pastoral internship in this dangerous environment, he was ordained a priest in 2010.

The priest would then have served in three parishes of the Archdiocese of Bukavu and as a school director.

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