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    Our dear departed

    Laurent Mpongo Mpoto

    Laurent Mpongo Mpoto

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    Laurent Mpongo Mpoto (1931-2020)Frederic Vital Mees small

     

    Born on May 24, 1931, in Inongo (DR Congo)
    First vows on December 8, 1955
    Ordained a priest on August 2, 1959
    Missionary in Cameroon and Congo (KIN)
    Died in Kinshasa (DR Congo), on May 6, 2020, at the age of 88.

     

    Father Laurent Mpongo has finished his pilgrimage on earth. Yes, he has left us physically; we will not see him again. But he leaves the living signs of his presence in our midst.

    Father Laurent Mpongo, whom we affectionately called "Expert", was a man of faith. As a theologian, he had the thirst and the passion to deepen his knowledge of God. He had a thirst for the inculturation of the Gospel in order to build an inculturated Church on African soil. With this in mind, he initiated the celebration of the Mass adapted to the Church of Zaire, commonly known as the "Zairean Rite". He is also the author of several books : Célébrer le mariage ; Le problème de la sorcellerie en Afrique ; Les Africains dans la CICM. Le cas du premier groupe ; Les Africains dans la CICM La croissance d’un groupe; and many other publications.

    As a man of faith and prayer, he was always present at all the activities of the Community and the Province: Eucharistic celebrations, personal meditations, meals, recollections, retreats and celebrations of certain events. Father Laurent was also a man who knew how to dare new things. He belonged to the very first group of African Scheutists. He is also the first Scheutist from the Province of Mai-Ndombe. As a pioneer, he opened the way for many of us in Scheut and he saved several cicm vocations. He knew how to encourage and congratulate when someone was doing good; but he did not hesitate to call out when he saw someone on the slope. For he liked to tell the truth and he was frank. 

    « Expert » was also a man with a sense of responsibility: punctual, available, dedicated, elegant (he liked to wear his tie), clean and committed. He had precision in his language and in his writing. He had the desire for perfection with a view to excellence. In this spirit, he took on many functions, not the least of which were in the CICM and in the Church throughout the world. He was a very fraternal and caring man. Personally, I have very fond memories of him. During the illness of the late Father Honoré Lesalia, Father Laurent called me every day and sometimes twice a day to get news of the sick Father Honoré. And each time he would say: "Greetings to Honoré; I pray for him". During those days of confinement, he would often call me to find out how we were doing in the community.

    We would have liked to give him a funeral much more adapted to what he is to us: a valiant missionary, religious, priest; a man who has a passion for God and for the Church, a passion for the Congregation of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, a baobab tree. But unfortunately, the measures taken in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic do not allow us to do so.

    The news of Father Laurent's death saddened and upset us all. Our hearts are troubled. Jesus tells us: "Do not let your heart be troubled. You believe in God; believe also in me"; "I am the resurrection and the life; whoever believes in me will never die". Father Laurent, we believe, is alive with Jesus whom he served all his life. Our consolation and comfort are in the fact that Father Laurent is leaving us at this Easter time, a time when we celebrate the resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ. May he meet the Risen Christ whom he sought and served all his life. May he listen to the voice of Christ who says to him: "Good and faithful servant, enter into the joy of your master". 

    Father Laurent also leaves us during the Marian month, he who belongs to a Marian Congregation. May the Virgin Mary lead him to her Son Jesus Christ.

    Father Laurent, you fought the good fight; you showed us the right way; you taught us; you encouraged us: Thank you for everything; a blessing is never lost. We continue to count on your prayers. Now share the joy of your Master. May God pour out the dew of his grace upon you, in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen! ■                        

     

    by Maurice Nsambo


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