Cardinal Michael Czerny visits the Congo for the country's 140th anniversary of evangelization


Pope Francis appointed Cardinal Michael Czerny, Prefect of the Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development, as the papal representative for the celebration of the 140th anniversary of the evangelization of the Congo. The visit took place from Friday June 2 to Tuesday June 6, 2023.

The theme of this Jubilee Year is: "For a more synodal Church: the multitude of believers had but one heart and one soul" (Acts 4:32).

Among the activities scheduled for the pastoral visit, on Saturday Cardinal Czerny met with the Commissions in charge of human development: Caritas, Justice and Peace, Catholic Education, Pastoral Care of Children and Youth, and Environment and Migrants. He also met representatives of health and prison pastoral care, the Conference of Major Superiors, and the leaders of several ecclesial movements.

On Sunday, June 4, Cardinal Czerny presided over a Eucharistic celebration in the Cathedral of the Sacred Heart of Brazzaville, during which he conducted the rite of priestly ordination of 9 deacons.

On the last day of the visit, the Cardinal met the bishops of the region and the civil authorities.



Other participants in the Jubilee included Cardinal Fridolin Ambongo Besungu, Archbishop of Kinshasa (DR Congo) and President of the Symposium of Episcopal Conferences of Africa and Madagascar (SECAM); Msgr. Edmond Djitangar Goetbe, Archbishop of N’Djamena (Chad) and President of the Association of Episcopal Conferences of Central Africa (ACERAC); and Msgr. Richard Appora Ngalanibe, Bishop of Bambari and Vice-President of the Episcopal Conference of Central Africa (CECA). 

Evangelization and Development

On Saturday morning, the Cardinal gave a lecture at the headquarters of the Association of Episcopal Conferences of the Central African Region (ACERAC) on “Evangelization and Development”.

In his speech, delivered in French, the Prefect of the Dicastery highlighted the prophetic wisdom of the Pastoral Constitution of the Second Vatican Council Gaudium et Spes, which underlines the importance of the proclamation of the Gospel in the contemporary world.

In this regard, Cardinal Czerny also recalled the Encyclical Evangelii Nuntiandi of St Paul VI, which highlights the link between evangelization and promotion of the human person, and the social Magisterium of Pope Francis that appears especially in the Apostolic Exhortation Evangelii Gaudium and the Encyclicals Laudato si’ and Fratelli tutti.

Finally, the Cardinal addressed five important topics that challenge the Congolese Church: poverty, health, environment, education and evangelization.

"It is the encounter with Christ, and not an ideology or a sociology, that generates the preferential option for the poor. Let us regain compassion and solidarity and express them daily. Let us develop true development Let’s generate responsibility and mutual accountability between the individual, society, the state, and the religions," he urged.


In the afternoon, Cardinal Czerny participated in a meeting with representatives of a number of charitable organizations in the region, including Caritas, Social Commissions, Migrants Commission, Prison Pastoral, Health Commission, Ecology Commission, and various religious congregations working on social issues.

Mass for the 140th anniversary of evangelization

On Sunday, Cardinal Michael Czerny presided over a Eucharistic celebration on behalf of Pope Francis for the 140th anniversary of evangelization of the Congo, during which he conducted the rite of priestly ordination of 9 deacons.

In his homily, the Prefect of the Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development conveyed the Holy Father’s affectionate greeting and invited the faithful "to give thanks to God for the joy of the Gospel".



The Cardinal then highlighted the vitality of the Church in this part of Africa, notably its dynamic apostolic movements, because those who received "the word of the missionaries are 'assiduous to the teaching of the apostles and to communion, to the breaking of bread and prayer'".

After recalling some of today’s ecclesial features that missionaries first introduced to the country, the Cardinal noted the presence of "a powerful evangelical ferment, thanks to the use of all the cultural elements capable of expressing the faith and the actions of Christians". He added that they also "help Christians to welcome Christ into the heart of their being and into his deepest nature, to love the Son of God and to serve him even in situations of human suffering."

"As we celebrate 140 years, an important milestone on the road to the 150th, Christ invites us to a new stage of evangelization marked by the joy that his Gospel communicates to us: to open our hearts more to Christ in a synodal dynamic, taking ever more into account the needy and the poorest," he said.

Finally, Cardinal Czerny recalled that "the Church has no other objective than to build a solid foundation of unity and communion, because God is communion, and he is present where there is fraternal charity". 


31 May 2023