KINSHASA, 26 July 2021 – Thousands held a final memorial over the weekend to honor the memory of a cardinal of the Catholic Church in DR Congo.

Cardinal Laurent Monsengwo Pasinya has been honored at several ceremonies since last Tuesday by Christians and government officials who praise his life-time dedication to advancing democracy and human rights.

Beni, DR Congo - Source AFP

DR Congo – Source AFP

Cardinal Monsengwo - Photo Umuseke Rwanda on Facebook

Cardinal Monsengwo – Photo Umuseke Rwanda on Facebook

The former Roman Catholic archbishop of Kinshasa was an outspoken critic of successive governments of DR Congo, notably the government of Mobutu Sese Seko (from the 1960s) and, more recently, the government of former president, Joseph Kabila.

Cardinal Monsengwo died earlier in July 2021 in Paris, France, at the age of 81.

The peak of the ceremonies celebrating the cardinal’s life occurred last Tuesday inside the parliament building in the capital, Kinshasa.

Nov. 20, 2010 Shortly after Laurent Monsengwo Pasinya was Created Cardinal - Photo Pier Paolo Cito, AP

Laurent Monsengwo Pasinya at the Vatican on 20 November 2010 shortly after he was Created Cardinal by Pope Benedict XVI – Photo Pier Paolo Cito, AP

Cardinal Monsengwo, once briefly served in the same building as a speaker of a transitional parliament in the late 1990s following the Sovereign National Conference.

The prelate sharply criticized abuses by governments and encouraged Catholic Christians to defend the truth and seek justice in keeping with the teachings of Jesus Christ.

The presidents of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DR Congo) and of neighboring Republic of Congo (Congo) respectively Felix Tshisekedi and Denis Sassou Nguesso were among the thousands in attendance at the main ceremony.

The Catholic prelate was laid to rest last Wednesday inside the Roman Catholic cathedral in Kinshasa.

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