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Home WHO WE ARE Assumptionists Profiles Fr. Mulumba MATSONGANI, A.A.

Fr. Mulumba MATSONGANI, A.A.

Fr. Mulumba Kambale Matsongani, A.A.

Interviewer – Would you share with us some of your family’s background and your early education?

Fr. Mulumba Kambali Matsongani, A.A. – I was born in 1974 in the village of Mutwanga in the eastern part of the Congo. I am the sixth child of eight children, three boys and five girls. My middle name, Kambali, means that I am the second son. Living our Catholic faith was most important to our family. Our parents were really our first catechists. They told us bible stories and the traditions that were important in our culture. My father, who died in 2002, worked with the Assumptionist missionaries who are credited with the founding of our diocese. Our primary and secondary education took place in the village thanks to the Church.

– How did you grow in discerning your vocation?

– As a child, I always wanted first to be an altar boy. Then later, around the age of twelve, I became involved in the ‘Eucharistic Crusade’ which was a movement of the Assumptionists for young boys and girls. It centered on Jesus, Mary and the Church and placed great importance on adoration, which I loved. This was also my introduction to Fr. d’Alzon and the charism of the community. Meanwhile, in 1986, a group was formed in my parish, which was Assumptionist, for vocations which familiarized youth with different communities. The group was very hospitable, so I joined in 1988 at the age of fourteen. During my high school years, I studied business, the sciences and administration. But in time my goal to become a priest became clearer to me. I was also attracted to religious life and of course for me, that meant the Assumptionists.

– Where did your journey take you from there with regard to your formation and education?

Fr. Malumba – In my last year of high school, my parish became a diocese and the Assumptionists moved fifty miles away. My pastor however was then one hundred miles away so, as a result, keeping in touch with the community became very difficult. After graduating from high school, I worked for a year as an accountant. But with the enthusiastic support of my parents, especially my Dad, I joined the community in 1994 as a postulant in Butembo, where I remained for five years, through the novitiate and studies in philosophy. As postulants, we worked during the week as teachers, as it was the pastoral piece of our program. On Sundays we went to the provincial house where I met Fr. Sal Musande, A.A. and other Assumptionists. As novices, there were fifteen of us in Butembo. For our three years of philosophy we were in another Assumptionist formation house, also in Butembo. In 1999, we had another pastoral year in Arusha, Tanzania, followed by two years of theology in Nairobi, Kenya. From 2002 – 2003 I went back to Arusha to work in our parish where I did much in the area of justice and peace. I also wrote a proposal for the community in planning and management. 2003 -2004 took me back to Nairobi to complete my theological studies. From there I returned to the Congo and Emmanuel d’Alzon College for four years as Secretary General of Administration/Finance and Personnel Management. During that time I was ordained in 2006. From 2008 -2010 I was Master of Novices, having fifteen young men the first year and thirty the next year.

– How did you come to be assigned to the U.S.?

– In August of 2010 I arrived in the U.S. at the request of my provincial to do a business degree at Assumption College in Worcester, MA, focusing on accounting and management. I expect it to be a five year endeavor. Although my studies are in business, I have always been interested in philosophy and theology, especially in social ethics and the Church’s teachings on social justice. This interest goes back to my time in Arusha.

– What have been some of the challenges that you have faced in coming to the U.S.?

– Certainly the culture, the way of life, the language, the educational system and method of teaching have been challenging for me and have required adaptation on my part. I did learn English in Nairobi and French in school growing up which have been most helpful. Also in the area of American based business practices, I have had to learn and consequently, do much reading with great effort that requires much time. What I do enjoy is the experience of meeting people from a variety of cultures and backgrounds, as I grow in acquiring the skills I need to be a good account and manager.

– What would you like to do following this program of studies?

– I would like to practice and teach the skills that I am now learning in this program, possibly at the college level, or any other way I can serve my province and the Church.

– Are there any significant scriptural passages that are especially meaningful for you?

– Yes, “I have witnessed the affliction of my people…” (Ex. 3:7), “I came so that they may have life and have it more abundantly.” (Jn. 10:10), “I am the way, the truth and the life.” (Jn. 14:6) and “O God, be merciful to me a sinner.” Lk. 18:13) are my favorite scriptural passages.

– Would you share some of your happiest memories?

– My happiest memories would include my perpetual profession as an Assumptionist religious on April 1, 2002 and my ordination to the priesthood on November 9, 2006.

– What is your vision/hope for the congregation and/or the Church in the future?

– My hope is that the General Chapter will look at restructuring for the future. We need as always to look at priorities like the redistribution of personnel. We need to grow in working more closely with the laity, especially in schools and parishes. We need to be open to the expertise of lay advisors. With regard to my African Province of the Congo, Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda, it needs the encouragement to be self-sustaining. As far as the Church goes, I believe that we need to look at the distribution of resources during this time of economic crisis. In general, I am hopeful for the future. I am happy and love my missionary life as an Assumptionist!

 
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