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Bishop From Congo Visits Diocese

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On Sunday, May 24, the Most Reverend Cyprien Mbuka, Bishop of the Diocese of Boma in the Democratic Republic of Congo, celebrated two Masses, one in English and one in French, at Saint Mary, Mother of the Church Parish in Garner. At the French Mass, attended by many Africans who have relocated to Raleigh, Bishop Mbuka told the congregation that they were to be missionaries in their new Diocese. “Wherever you have left,” he said, speaking alternately in French and English, “you are now part of the Diocese of Raleigh. Having the liturgy in French is not in order to separate you, but to help you become part of this Diocese.”

Concelebrating with Bishop Mbuka were Fr. Robert Schriber, Pastor of St. Mary; Monsignor Thomas P. Hadden, Vicar for African Ancestry Ministry and Evangelization (AAME); Fr. Roger Nyimi Malonda, Parochial Vicar at St. Mary; and Fr. Pius Wekesa, Adjutant Vicar for AAME.

A majority of the world's French-speaking population lives in Africa, an estimated 115 million people spread across 31 countries. For many Africans French is a second language, but it is the official language in many African countries, most of them former French or Belgian colonies. The number of Catholics in Africa has almost tripled since 1978, and the number of priests has increased by 85%. African immigration to the Diocese of Raleigh has also grown, a fact noted in 2002, when the Diocesan Office of African American Ministry changed its name to the Office of African Ancestry Ministry and Evangelization.

On Thursday, May 27th, Bishop Mbuka will meet at the Catholic Center with the Most Reverend Michael F. Burbidge, Bishop of Raleigh.