Nemi (Agenzia Fides) - The missionaries of the Congregation of the Immaculate Heart of Mary (CICM), known as "Scheut missionaries", gathered in their General Chapter in Nemi (Rome), from June 4 to 30, re-elected the Congolese Father Charles Phukuta Khonde as Superior General of the Order, entrusting him with a second term of six years. Father Charles Phukuta is from the Democratic Republic of Congo, where he was born in Boma, in the Mayombe region (central Congo) in 1965. He has been a member of the CICM Congregation since 1990, when he made his first religious profession. After studying philosophy in Kinshasa, he was sent as a missionary to the United States in 1993 and was ordained a priest in 1999.
He served as parish vicar of Our Lady Queen of the Angels in La Joya, Texas until 2002. He then founded a new CICM community in Raleigh, North Carolina and was appointed parish priest of Saint Eugene in Wendell. He was appointed Secretary General of the Congregation in 2006, and then returned to the United States in 2012, where he served as Provincial Superior. He was elected Superior General for the first time during the General Chapter of 2017, thus becoming the second African to lead the Congregation, after the first African, Father Edouard Tsimba, Superior from 2005 to 2011. The Congregation of the Immaculate Heart of Mary is a congregation of pontifical right originally from Belgium, founded in 1862 by the Belgian Catholic priest Theophile Verbist (1823–1868). The origins of the order are found in Scheut, Anderlecht, a suburb of Brussels, which explains why the members are known as the "Scheut Missionaries". The charism is the evangelization of peoples. There are approximately 780 missionaries worldwide, present in more than 20 countries on four continents. (PA/MP) (Agenzia Fides, 21/6/2023