After celebrating the Easter festivities, the night of Tuesday, April 6, was a second ordeal for the whole community of the Priests of the Sacred Heart of Jesus of the Parish of Saint Clément in Kinshasa in DR Congo. Indeed, around 1AM, while everyone was asleep, the church of the Saint Clément Parish was intentionally set on fire by people not yet identified.
The religious community is located right next to the parish church. Five religious of the Priests of the Sacred Heart of Jesus serve in different sectors such as, parish pastoral work, education at the “Giuliano Lever” School Group ranging from kindergarten to secondary school. The church is also surrounded by neighbours who work alongside us in a collaboration for which we are grateful.
While the country is going through a situation of generalized insecurity, and the consequences of this insecurity can be felt everywhere, our parish has also become a victim. Tuesday night, April 6, was a disturbing night for our parish. At about one o’clock in the morning, the community was surprised by the flames and the fire. And to this day we do not know how and when it started. The community was alerted by a neighbour who had saw three people escaping after they had lit the fire, and immediately the community took measures, with the help and support of the neighbours, to extinguish the fire which until then had been at the level of the church doors. At the same time, we informed the police who arrived at the scene of the incident after the fire had already been under control. At the scene of the incident, traces of petrol and planks that had been used to start the fire were found.
These kinds of incidents are not isolated. Several parishes and religious communities have already suffered some attacks. And in several regions of the country, some dioceses and congregations have seen their priests either physically attacked or kidnapped. And some other clerics have disappeared or have been murdered. In a country where the political, economic and social aspects are in ruins, the Church, which is the only refuge for the people, has also become a target for people with bad intentions. Let us pray for the DR Congo so that peace may come to hearts and society.