Salesian priest stabbed to death in Democratic Republic of the Congo — By: Catholic News Agency

Father Léopold Feyen. / Credit: ANS

ACI Prensa Staff, Dec 15, 2023 / 18:45 pm (CNA).

The Salesian News Agency (ANS) reported the murder of Salesian missionary Father Léopold Feyen in Kinshasa, the capital of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), on Dec. 12, the feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe.

According to the Vatican news agency Fides, the 82-year-old priest was stabbed several times in his bedroom in Our Lady Help of Christians Parish in the municipality of Masina just east of Kinshasa.

The Salesians said that Feyen was known locally as “Koko Pol” and had health problems. He did not hold any leadership position, but “he supervised the management of the orchards cultivated to produce fruits and vegetables for schools.”

“In so many years of work, he dedicated his life to young people, especially those most in need, with the heart of the Good Shepherd, becoming for them, like Don Bosco, ‘father, teacher, and friend,’” the Salesians highlighted.

According to Fides, there is currently little information about the circumstances surrounding the murder; however, local media reports suggest the priest may have been the victim of an attack by an assailant.

Feyen was a native of Belgium. He was ordained a priest in 1969 and for about 40 years served as a missionary in the DRC in various Salesian projects for the education of young people.

Violence in the DRC

The Democratic Republic of the Congo is a country that has suffered for decades from clashes between various armed groups due to conflicts of ethnic, political, and even religious origin. All this has turned it into a nation with millions of displaced people.

On Jan. 31, the feast of St. John Bosco, Pope Francis visited the DRC with the aim of encouraging Congolese to build a society of peace.

The pontiff was there until Feb. 3 and was able to learn from the testimonies of the consecrated religious themselves and young people the harsh reality of violence that exists in the territory.

In the midst of this situation, priests and religious continue to seek to bring hope to the Congolese people, even when their own lives are at risk.

This story was first published by ACI Prensa, CNA’s Spanish-language news partner. It has been translated and adapted by CNA.

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