Lubumbashi, important mining city with a million and a half inhabitants, in the South of the Country, is home to the women’s focolare center. Amisa Tabu lives here and shares with us the life of this community that radiates its action in eight provinces in Katanga and Kasai
Amisa, how was the Focolare communityà born in this territory?
30 years ago, some missionaries came to Lubumbashi and gave life to a small community which was 2,000 km from Kinshasa, and in 2011 they requested for the presence of the focolare. When the Movement gave three lines of action: «go out, together, suitably prepared», with the invitation of Pope Francis to go towards the «existential peripheries», we felt called to do so because «we were always the same people». We understood that it was not enough to tell people that God is Love, but we now had to make this concrete. The push given by New Humanty was important for us: bear witness to the Gospel lived in the various work environments, such as healthcare, education, the exercise of justice, business, etc. Living in this way we realized that the community began to grow. The ideal of life that we were proposing suddenly became attractive.
What is the focolare place in a growing community?
We keep our doors always open. Chiara Lubich left us with her testament “always be a family”. The people must be able to make the experience of being a family whose supernatural bond must exceed that of a natural one. Hospitality is a living part of our culture. In focolare we don’t have a fixed schedule and everyone comes whenever they can.
What do you do for the local Church?
In July 2017 we held two schools in the minor and major Seminaries, with 140 participants. It was followed by a retreat/school for 104 priests coming from different Dioceses of Congo. We feel the support of the Church. Some preists promote the spirit of communion of the Movement in their parishes.
And for society?
We are striving to develop the project of Economy of Communion. There are 44 entrepreneurs who are attending our formation courses, like the one held in Nairobi in 2015, and they have begun to get involved and commit themselves. The social and political situation of the Democratic Republic of Congo is not one of the most reassuring: there is violence and corruption. It is therefore necessary to insist on the formation of “new men” with the instruments that have matured in the experience of the Focolare Movement. When the focolare center came to Lubumbashi the community had only about a hundred members, now we are around 500 with the blossoming of vocations in the various expressions of the Movement.
edited by Gianna Sibelli