Brazzaville (Agenzia Fides) - The episcopal ordination and the canonical taking of possession of His Exc. Mgr. Ildevert Mathurin Mouanga, new Bishop of Kinkala (capital of the Pool department) appointed on March 5 by Pope Francis to replace Archbishop Louis Portella Mbuyu, took place in the sign of protective measures against the coronavirus. (see Fides, 6/3/2020).
According to local sources of Fides, the solemn ceremony was held on Sunday 28 June and was presided over by His Exc. Mgr. Louis Portella Mbuyu, first emeritus Bishop of Kinkala and principal consecrant. The Eucharist was concelebrated by His Exc. Francisco Escalante Molina, Apostolic Nuncio in Congo and Gabon,
Despite the Covid-19 pandemic, the faithful went to the municipal stadium in Kinkala. The low mobilization rate was justified by the limited number of people authorized to attend the event. The faithful came from Brazzaville, Madzia, Kinkala, from the surrounding villages and from the various dioceses of the Republic of the Congo, always in strict compliance with the mandatory use of the mask and the observation of distances to assist in the consecration of the new Bishop.
It was 11 o'clock when the procession reached the center of the football field where the mass altar was set up. The priests of all the dioceses of Congo did not want to miss this event with an extraordinary mobilization, each with their own mask.
At the end of the ceremony, Archbishop Louis Portella Mbuyu gave a speech in which he thanked the Holy Father for choosing a confrere who will enlarge the Congolese episcopate. His Exc. Mgr. Daniel Mizonzo, Bishop of Nkayi and President of the Congolese Episcopal Conference, delivered a very moving speech: "The ordination of a Bishop is always a happy and joyful event". "The new Bishop must create a climate of trust with his collaborators, with the lay faithful. The bishop's door must remain open to welcome collaborators. We are very happy to welcome you in the Episcopal Conference. We thank Archbishop Louis Portella Mbuyu for all the pastoral work carried out in this diocese and in the context of the Episcopal Conference of the Congo. And for all the services rendered and to be rendered to the Church of the Congo. I hope you can continue to follow the construction works of the Catholic University of Congo, within the diocese of Pointe-Noire".
Ildevert Mathurin Mouanga who chose as his episcopal motto: "Compete well for the faith" (Certa bonum Cetamen fidei) 1Tim, 6-12, reminded that "there are many challenges to face in our Country and in our Church and that everyone will have to get their hands dirty".
The Pool region, of which Kinkala is the capital, was the scene of a low-intensity war between the government and the militiamen of Frédéric Bintsamou, aka Pasteur Ntumi, a Protestant pastor who had given birth to the "Ninja" militias. A peace agreement was reached with the government in 2017, but tensions remain in the region. (G.W.B.) (P.B.K.) (L.M.) (Agenzia Fides, 3/7/2020)