A Passionist from the Congo: Fr Bernard Mayele, C.P.

Last August, Fr. Bernard Mayele, C.P. was ordained a priest in the Passionist church of St. Mark in Kinshasa, capital of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, a Central African country of over 50 million people. Before his ordination, he studied Christian spirituality at the Gregorian University in Rome.

In an interview with Compassion last Spring, Fr. Bernard spoke about his vocation to the Passionists and the community in the Congo today.

Fr Bernard Mayele, C.P.Called to the Passionist Life

"My family was Catholic, and I went to Catholic schools," Father Bernard recalls. "There were six of us. My brother and sister died within the last four years. My brother went to Angola to work in the diamond mines and died in a mine cave-in. When my eldest sister got sick, she didn't have enough money for the medical treatment she needed. She died and left four children.

"My mother died ten years ago. My father is still living and will come to my ordination; he has been living for that.

"In 1990 I went to Kinshasa, the capital city, to study medicine, and stayed in my uncle's house, which is next to the Passionist church of St. Mark, where I am to be ordained. At one the socials after church on Sunday I met some young men who were interested in joining the Passionists. They told me about the community and invited me to meet one of the Passionist priests, Father Tomas. I loved what he told me about the Passionist life.

"Almost sixty young men applied to enter the community when I did; only six were accepted. I studied philosophy for three years at an inter-community school in Kinshasa. Then, after making my novitiate for a year in Lumbi, I studied theology in Kinshasa before being sent to study in Rome."

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