Missionary in DRC: “The Church's goal is to at least spread awareness”

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29/04/2018
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As conflict in the Democratic Republic of the Congo drags on, the Catholic Church continues to be an active voice in demonstrations for justice and peace. 

Whether participating in peaceful protests or providing aid services, Brother Miguel Ángel Niño del Portillo and his fellow Comboni Missionaries of the Sacred Heart are experiencing the situation first-hand. Based on what they witness daily, they aim to shed light on the nation's reality.

B. MIGUEL ÁNGEL NIÑO DEL PORTILLO
Missionary, Democratic Republic of the Congo
“The Church's goal is to at least spread awareness to people that these are citizens. The Democratic Republic of the Congo – the name itself says 'democratic' – but there's very little democracy. We're trying to make people aware of the situation.”

At a small center in the northeastern part of the Republic, Niño del Portillo and colleagues seek to empower locals in a variety of ways. One of them is providing an open space for the town's residents to meet and be heard by their peers. 

B. MIGUEL ÁNGEL NIÑO DEL PORTILLO
Missionary, Democratic Republic of the Congo
“The human aspect... so they see themselves as fellow men and women and nothing more; so there are bonds among Catholics and Protestants or other faiths; to bring people together.”

While the Congolese government refuses to acknowledge public outcry for change, the brother believes one of the most important forms of missionary outreach is something intangible.  

B. MIGUEL ÁNGEL NIÑO DEL PORTILLO
Missionary, Democratic Republic of the Congo
“Listening... people need to be heard. When they're heard, we can try to help them with whatever they need.”

The Congolese people continue living in a state of violence and oppression. Thanks to Church centers and people like Brother Niño del Portillo, though, they are provided a safe haven for their voices. 

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