He’s wanted to be a priest since he was 15, he says.
“There was so much motivation because most of our teachers were priests. The Congo is so much Catholic. Most of the things are done by the sisters and the priests. They do so much that you are overwhelmed by the way they do things. I found a motivation to try to imitate them.
“And it was by God’s grace, not because you are the most smart or the most moral guy. It’s just a gift of God, because anybody can fail. The journey’s too long. You have more than 14 years (to prepare for the priesthood). You cannot hide for 14 years,” he says and then laughs.
“The life of the other priests — what they did for the society, the community — motivated me because you know they’re doing the right thing.
“That’s why after minor seminary (high school), I said I’m going on the same course, to the priesthood.”
He graduated with a bachelor’s degree in philosophy in 1985 from a university in Nigeria. Returning to the Congo, he graduated in 1989 with a degree in theology from the Catholic University of Kinshasa, was ordained in 1990 and also attended law school.
“The Congo was a very, very dynamic center in Africa. You have lot of people, Africans, coming for African philosophy and African theology. Even people in Europe come to make studies.”
His senior theological thesis addressed a simple but mighty subject: love.
“Love can inspire political life, economic systems, living in solidarity with others with everybody sharing the revenues. Love can shape political polices, cultural and family policies.
“It’s all about love ... even becoming a priest is to give up, to surrender your life. We do not marry and most of the time, we keep a low profile.