National Eucharistic Congress in the Democratic Republic of Congo, held in Lubumbashi, June 4-11, 2023. National Eucharistic Congress in the Democratic Republic of Congo, held in Lubumbashi, June 4-11, 2023. 

Cardinal Tagle: The Eucharist makes us God’s family.

The third National Eucharistic Congress in the Democratic Republic of Congo came to a close on Sunday, Solemnity of the Body and Blood of Christ.

Marie José Muando Buabualo - Vatican City.

Bishops from all over the DRC and thousands of the faithful attended the closing Mass of the 3rd Eucharistic Congress held in Lubumbashi, Congo’s second-largest city in the country’s southeasternmost part, along the border with Zambia.

Cardinal Tagle urges unity

Cardinal Louis Antonio Gokim Tagle, Pro-Prefect of the Section for the First Evangelization and New Particular Churches of the Dicastery for Evangelization, was Pope Francis’ special envoy to the ceremony, whose theme was: The Eucharist and the Family.

The closing Mass was held at the Mazembe football stadium. The Congress comes four months after Pope Francis' visit to the DRC.

In his homily, Cardinal Tagle said the Eucharistic Congress allowed Catholic Christians to reaffirm their unity as Congolese people.

Nourished, we become united

“The Eucharist makes us God’s family. Though we are many and different from each other, we are one family in Jesus Christ. And this family’s life is the love of the Holy Spirit, who makes us grow into the full stature of Christ, the Head of the Body,” said Cardinal Tagle.

DRC National Eucharistic Congress 2023
DRC National Eucharistic Congress 2023

The Church in the DRC has had two Eucharistic Congresses in its history. The first was held in Kisantu in 1933, and the second in Kinshasa in 1980. The importance of this third Congress was the focus on the family, which is one of the Church’s concerns at both universal and local levels.

Living in filial communion

For Cardinal Tagle, meditating on the day’s liturgical readings brings about the presence of Christ in the Word. On the other hand, the Eucharistic bread and wine make of us a new creation. To eat His body given for us is to absorb His humility, generosity and love. To drink His blood shed for us on the Cross is to imbibe and immerse ourselves in his compassion, justice and forgiveness.

To live by the Word of God, which became flesh and blood, is to live as He lived, always in filial communion with God and fraternal communion with our brothers and sisters, especially the weakest and most forgotten.

DRC National Eucharistic Congress 2023.
DRC National Eucharistic Congress 2023.

Stay away from toxic foods

Cardinal Tagle referred to several foods that are part of the local Congolese diet, such as Bidia, also known as ugali, fufu or nsima in other parts of Congo. He also cited Kwanga, a fermented bread made from cassava that is widespread in the lower Congo and Equator regions. By naming popular life-giving local foods, Cardinal Tagle urged the faithful not to waste the spiritual food that gives authentic life -Jesus in the Eucharist.

“Beware of false, toxic food and drink that weaken and destroy mutual understanding, mutual respect, mutual forgiveness, mutual belonging and mutual service,” warned the Cardinal.

“Moses reminds us that we do not live by our favourite foods alone, but by every word that comes from the Lord. God’s word is food. As a family, as a Church, as a people, hunger for Him, thirst for Him, leads us to Him. In him we abide and live. Love and serve one another in remembrance of Christ,” Cardinal Tagle encouraged. 

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13 June 2023, 16:08