Brussels (Fides Service)- “Cardinal Etsou played a most important part in the transition from a mission Church to a local Church in his country” said Cardinal Godfried Danneels, Archbishop of Malines-Brussels, in his homily during a Requiem Mass yesterday 10 January at Brussels Catholic Cathedral for the repose of the soul of Cardinal Frederick Etsou-Nzabi-Bamungwabi, Archbishop Kinshasa, Democratic Congo, who died on 6 January in a clinic in Louvain, Belgium where he had been receiving treatment for some time (see Fides 8 January 2007).
“This transition happened first of all in his own missionary Congregation - Cardinal Danneels explained - He was one of the first generation of his Congregation, the Congolese Scheut missionaries and he was one of the first to assume greater responsibilities in the Congregation”.
“Cardinal Etsou was very prudent. He was a true brother to his Scheut confreres. He was simple and fraternal with everyone. It was to him that his confreres turned in times of difficulty, for example with the political authorities”.
“However besides playing a crucial role in this period of transition which lasted for 30-40 years he also had his part of suffering, due to incomprehension, misunderstanding, tension between cultures. Despite these difficulties, he was always a brother filled with simplicity and love” Cardinal Danneels recalled.
“On this day when we greet the Cardinal for the last time let us thank the Lord for all He achieved in His people through his servant Cardinal Etsou. God planted this tree of his Church on the soil of the African continent. We thank God for the faith of our brother who has returned to the house of the Father”.
On 11 January the body of Cardinal Etsou will be flown to Kinshasa for the funeral Mass in the Martyrs Stadium, Kinshasa on 15 January. (L.M.) (Agenzia Fides 11/1/2007 righe 31 parole 358)