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A SCHOOL DEDICATED TO PEACE FOR CONGOLESE CHILDREN PDF Print E-mail

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This article appeared in the Assumptionist magazine published in France entitled Le Pèlerin (The Pilgrim). Every year they have a special campaign for one Assumptionist work in particular need of funding. This year they have chosen the Beni School Complex and its many needs.

I thought it would be interesting to send you the article with the following translation. There is one drone-taken photo that is really striking that provides an overview of the entire complex with the city of Beni in the background now estimated, with it suburbs, to have nearly half a million residents, including internal refugees.

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p. 24 Front page

A Special Report

A SCHOOL DEDICATED TO PEACE FOR CONGOLESE CHILDREN

In one of the most dangerous regions of Africa, North Kivu (Democratic Republic of the Congo/DRC), children learn to write, to count, and to live in peace. The school complex, Prince of Peace, was founded by the Assumptionists, just as this magazine was. This Advent, we call your attention to this hope-filled project.

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p. 25

photo caption: this student is attempting to compose numbers on her slate. Today this Catholic school houses 500 students from pre-K through high school, aged 3 to 19. The orphans of war are in a minority as the school also welcomes children of other families.

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p. 26

photo caption (found on p. 27): Aimée Kavugho Mahango, a second-grade teacher, corrects slates during a math class.

Text: This school exists for students like Kambale, 10 years old. Last January 8, armed men attacked his village, Maimoya, 40 kilometers north of Beni. They killed his father and kidnapped his mother. If they didn’t disembowel the mother, it was simply because she was pregnant, they said, even as they manhandled her. How can one grow up when he has experienced such a tragedy? The school tries to respond to this crying need.

“In the face of the suffering of street children, wandering through the streets of Beni after witnessing their parents being massacred in their villages, the Assumptionists had to act.”  Fr. Protais Kabila, then the provincial of the Assumptionists in the eastern region of the DRC (the capital of which is Kinshasa) still recalls that day in 2016 when he convinced his confrères to build a school. But not just any kind. For these orphans of war, the teaching would be centered on non-violence. Its name describes an entire program: Peace of Peace. With money given by friends, he built 8 classrooms on a piece of the Congregation’s property on the outskirts of downtown Beni, an ever-growing metropolis, with 100,000 in the city center alone.

“In addition to a basic traditional curriculum, I insisted that we speak of friendship, dialogue and reconciliation, by employing games and mini-plays,” he explained. “By use of these skits, the children would re-learn a sense of traditional welcome, which has given way today to distrust and fear of the stranger.” “Three times a week we speak of the Gospel to the children,” explained the actual director, Fr. Matabishi Kalondero. “We would like to bring the youngsters wounded by war to renounce a desire for revenge. If they had remained on the streets, they would have easily been recruited as boy-soldiers by one faction or another. Thanks to this work in common, I see them blossom and become happy.”

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p. 27 three photos

photo #2 The children prepare the daily salute of the Congolese flag. The colors represent peace (sky blue), the blood of martyrs (red), prosperity (yellow), and unity (yellow star).

Photo #3 In the afternoon, remedial classes allow students who didn’t have an opportunity to learn how to read in elementary school -----often because their village suffered from armed conflict in the region---- to get up to speed, as these teenagers are doing. The school administration takes pride in offering a formation among the best in the city, without receiving any government assistance. Tuition is covered by families that can afford it. “The poor pay nothing,” said the director.

Photo #4 “O zealous people/By your labor/We will build a country more beautiful than before/In peace.” The children intone the national anthem every morning before school begins.

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p. 28

text: For nearly a quarter of a century, in fact, North Kivu has felt the effects of tensions with their neighbors, Uganda and Rwanda. Armed factions have been financed by these governments to combat rebel groups that have taken refuge in Kivu. Today many of these groups survive thanks to various kinds of trafficking (charcoal, minerals, etc.) and exacting ransoms for kidnapped residents. Soldiers from the Congolese army, poorly paid, often engage in banditry as well. The principal threat to the region of Beni comes from a fundamentalist Islamic group of Ugandan origin, the ADF (Allied Democratic Forces). Every week they massacre dozens of peasants, often in retaliation for army offensives. They are the ones who killed Kambale’s father. The ADF may have been behind the kidnapping ---- still no one has claimed responsibility--- of the three Assumptionist priests near Beni in 2012. They have never been seen since. Which is also the case of two Catholic diocesan priests kidnapped in 2017. This all explains the urgency, among the Assumptionists, to support the development of this “school for peace.”

Photo #1 A drone photo shows the recreation yard with children shouting for joy.

Photo #2 Another drone photo shows the primary school (13 classrooms and several offices). But the secondary school only has 4 classrooms (for Grades 7 and 8). “Construction continues as students make their way to the upper grades and the student body grows,” explains Fr. Salvator Musande, the provincial treasurer of the Assumptionists in the Congo.  To arrive at the 30 classrooms we need for a full secondary education (Grades 9-12), we foresee the need to build three-four every year.” A brick classroom, equipped with desks, costs approximately 10,000 euros ($12,000).

Photo #3 Behind the map of Africa, one can see the portrait of Fr. Emmanuel d’Alzon (1810-1880), the founder of the Assumptionists, who oversee the school. They are also the ones who founded this magazine!

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p. 29

another drone-photo of children in the school courtyard

The rest of the page is a column requesting gifts from the magazine’s readers.

 Click here to view the original report

Translated by Fr. John Franck, A.A.

Last Updated on Saturday, 28 November 2020 20:35
 
IN MEMORIAM - FR. ARTHUR HERVET, A.A. PDF Print E-mail

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Father Arthur Hervet A.A. (Nov 11, 1938 – Nov 23, 2020) spent much of his Assumptionist life serving the poor in various capacities. For around twenty years he was chaplain on the chapel-boat “Je Sers” (I Serve), moored in the town of Conflans-Sainte-Honorine, just outside of Paris. There he founded “La Pierre Blanche,” a nonprofit association that serves those without access to housing, food and healthcare. In 2006 Fr. Arthur was transferred to Lille, a city close to France’s border with Belgium. He became well-known in his fight for the protection and wellbeing of the city’s Roma, a vulnerable immigrant population with a significant presence in France.

We pray for the repose of his soul as we remember the profound witness he gave to the dignity of every human life.

Last Updated on Wednesday, 25 November 2020 11:29
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A THANKSGIVING MESSAGE TO OUR ASSUMPTION FAMILY PDF Print E-mail

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Last Updated on Wednesday, 25 November 2020 11:08
 
PROVINCIAL POST - THE WIDOW'S MITE PDF Print E-mail

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In today's Gospel, to get this last week of the liturgical year underway, we meet one of the heroines of the Gospel. We know the situation of widows in the ancient world. No laws of inheritance, no social security, no safety net at all, widows were at the mercy of those willing to offer assistance. Like “prostitutes and tax-collectors,” “widows and orphans” are conjoined in the Gospel, the latter as a kind of shorthand for the most vulnerable in our midst.

But the widow in today's reading is not honored because she belongs to a category that elicits our compassion. She’s celebrated for what she does, for something that is so deeply expressive of Gospel teaching that it foreshadows the salvific action of Christ himself.

Read more...

Last Updated on Wednesday, 25 November 2020 11:10
 
EMMANUEL D'ALZON: PORTRAIT AND PRAYER PDF Print E-mail

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On the 140th anniversary of the entrance of our founder, Venerable Emmanuel d'Alzon, into eternal life, we share with you this digital icon created by Brother Blair Nuyda, A.A, followed by a prayer written by d'Alzon for perseverance in our vocation.

Last Updated on Wednesday, 25 November 2020 11:11
 
Assumption University Congo PDF Print E-mail

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The students from Assumption University Congo have produced a promotional video about the school's new programs. The institution has been funded and is lead by the Augustinians of the Assumption.

Université de l'Assomption au Congo «U.A.C»

https://uaconline.org/

https://www.facebook.com/uacuniversite2018/

https://www.facebook.com/UAC-Online-103900924750732

 
November 13, Feast of the Three Bulgarian Assumptionist Martyrs PDF Print E-mail

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November 13 - Blesseds Kamen, Pavel, and Josaphat

The feast of our three Bulgarian Marytrs is an opportunity for us to pause each year to reflect on their legacy.

To remember means to render present among us these brothers whom the Church, as a result of their beatification, considers to be a gift for all Christians.

Kamen Vitchev, Pavel Djidjov, and Josaphat Chichkov compel us to broaden our horizons. To maintain among us the memory of our three martyrs helps us to understand ourselves better and the martyrdom (that is to say, the witness) to which the Lord is calling each of us today.

Almost 70 years ago, our three brothers were imprisoned. First, Kamen in December 1951, and then Josaphat and Pavel on July 4, 1952. During their imprisonment they were mercilessly beaten, tortured and interrogated and forced to live 15 to a cell built for 3 or 4….which meant that most of the time they could hardly find enough air to breathe adequately.

And then suddenly on September 29th they were subjected to a show-trial, a real legal mockery, well organized by the Communist authorities. The truly trumped-up charges were all fabricated, completely made up. In what did these accusations consist: of these three Bulgarian patriots who had dedicated their lives to the service of their people? Accused of being spies for the Vatican…..yes, of the Vatican, this all-powerful, menacing State of less than a square-mile in size. And accused of being capitalist agents plotting to overthrow the « legitimate » regime of the Bulgarian people. How ridiculous!!!

Last Updated on Friday, 13 November 2020 10:16
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BENI SCHOOL PROJECT UPDATE: PRINCE OF PEACE SCHOOL COMPLEX PDF Print E-mail

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«It is not enough to teach. On must lift students up; education is a much more difficult task than simply teaching. » Fr. Emmanuel d’Alzon, Spiritual Writings

The Prince of Peace School Complex remains focused on its motto: « Discipline, Peace and Excellence ». This motto which goes hand in hand with Fr. d’Alzon’s ideal of education (cited above) is the rudder that guides our educational activity at the School Complex. This is what distinguishes us from other schools and is the source of our pride in this region of the country, where armed conflict has not spoken its last word. We accompany our students not just intellectually but also humanly, spiritually and psychologically. We aim to touch the whole person.

Education at Prince of Peace is an undertaking that cannot be limited to lessons given in the classroom. It reaches beyond the classroom to extra-curricular activities and even to the home. Teachers, parents, priests, brothers and sisters, we all see ourselves as partners in this work of education and together we believe that we will give the best of ourselves to assure the future of our children. We base this on the confidence and collaboration that exists between parents and students on the one hand and students and teachers on the other.

Read more...

Last Updated on Saturday, 07 November 2020 09:20
 
National Vocation Awareness Week PDF Print E-mail

It's National Vocation Awareness Week! Our Vocation Ministry Director, Bro. Blair Nuyda,  shared a message on his Vocation as an Assumptionist Brother at this year's convocation for the National Religious Vocation Conference.
Click the link below to view Bro. Blair's message:

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"As a Brother, we are encouraged to seek creative ways to serve. I’ve always liked to draw and paint, and I’ve been encouraged to use my artistic talents in ministry" -Bro. Blair Nuyda AA

 
PROVINCIAL POST - MAKING SAINTS PDF Print E-mail

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As we approach All Saint Day, let me offer a few thoughts on holiness. One of the central affirmations of the Second Vatican Council was the universal call to holiness. This means, among other things, that holiness is not the preserve of a particular segment of the Church’s life, but that all baptized Christians are called to live holy lives. A good complement to this teaching on holiness was another point of emphasis in the Council: the dignity of the lay vocation. Called to holiness, lay people are to express that holiness by participating in the transformation of the world as members of families, as citizens, and in the workplace.

Read more...

 
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