Di visit of Pope Francis to di Democratic Republic of Congo, 38 years afta Pope John Paul II, highlight di importance of di Catholic Church for di kontri.
Di Catholic Church get di largest number of Catholic faithful for sub-Saharan Africa.
For several corners of di city, workers wey dress in yellow chasuble plenti for di streets.
Dem don replace di public lighting and repair some of di ogbonge areas of di capital.
Di coming of Pope Francis, 38 years afta dat of Pope John Paul II, send strong message of unity and peace, wey fit help reduce di current political and social tensions.
Dis election year also dey troubled by conflict with neighbouring Rwanda sake of insecurity ifor di east of of di kontri.
“And wetin I dey expect from di Pope? Simply consolation. For pipo wey feel bruised, abandoned, wey dey look for solution, at last, from someone wey dem believe in,” Régine Samba, faithful member of Saint-Cyprien Church for Kinshasa tok.
Pauline Biuma, supernumerary and bursar for Don Bosco Primary School, one school of di Salesian community of Don Bosco, tok about am: “May di Holy Father bring us di message of peace, a lasting peace for DRC.
But to understand why di Catholic Church still dey so powerful for di DRC, e dey important to quickly look at dia history and dia impact on di population.
A history of commitment
Belgian missionaries introduce di Catholic Church to di DRC for di 19th century. Since then, e don develop as influential institution, partly because of dia commitment to di most vulnerable populations.
According to di National Episcopal Conference of Congo (Cenco), di Catholic Church currently dey manage total of 18,638 schools, including 12,616 primary schools, 724 nursery schools and 5,298 secondary schools, wey dey cater for more than 4.3 million pupils wey 161,337 teachers dey teach.
For Biuma, dis presence no be accidental: “Na di Catholics get di charisma of good education, wey be important formation of di youth”.
Régine Samba also chose to send her children to Catholic school, but she remember di time before:
“I sent my children to Catholic school because I myself go to Catholic schools and I find dem serious and dignified.”
“Dem show us how to manage on our own. I succeed like dat and dat na how I want my children to study for Catholic schools too, but if I compare wetin I see today and wetin we were in di past, e dey really different.”
In addition, di Catholic Church for di DRC don play important role in promoting peace and social justice ova di years.
Dis don give more strength to dia role as respected and influential institution for Congolese society.
One of di ogbonge figures of dis influence na Cardinal Laurent Monsengwo Pasinya, wey die for 2021.
Many Congolese remember am as champion of human rights and strong critic of the various post-independence goment since 1960.
Pipo begin to dey feel di result of Laurent Monsengwo Pasinya struggles under di regime of former president Mobutu Sese Seko in di 1990s.
For di same year, e initiate one memorandum demanding more freedoms from Marshal Mobutu, wey don dey in power for 30 years under one-party regime.
As such, e dey considered by some Congolese as di one wey push di kontri towards dia first democratic steps.
Afta Mobutu, di cardinal dey critical of di power of Joseph Kabila.
For January 2018, Laurent Monsengwo, then Archbishop of Kinshasa, mark di spirits with im famous sentence wey im addressed to di authorities of di time afta di brutal police repression of di march of 31 December 2017: “Let di mediocre get out!”
A busy papal schedule
Di Pope don schedule meetings with various stakeholders, including goment authorities and religious leaders, wey fit strengthen di role of di Church as an actor for peace and social justice.
E meet President Tshisekedi for di Nation Palace on 31 January before di long-awaited mass on 1 February for Ndolo airport, where dem set up 85,000 square metre space to accommodate di expected 2 million pipo, according to official sources.
Although im trip to Goma for North Kivu, wey dem originally plan during di waka wey im end for July dey cancelled for security reasons.
Representatives of di victims of di conflict, refugees and internally displaced pipo go meet di Pope to hear im message of solidarity, in di hope dat pipo go hear im call for end to di conflict for di east of di kontri.
On Friday, e meet di bishops of di Congo Episcopal Conference (Cenco), presided over by di Archbishop of Kisangani, Mgr Marcel Utembi Tapa.
Afta di DRC, Pope Francis go travel to Juba for South Sudan on 3 February.