ISSR - Bukavu

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Official name ISSR/Bukavu.
Country / Continent Rwanda / Africa
Director of the institute Rev. Fr. Gustave Amuli Mihigo.
Legal holder of the institute Mgr. Francois Xavier Maroy Rusengo, Archbishop of Bukavu.
Sponsor of the institute Missio Aachen, Kirche in Not (Aide a L`Eglise en Détresse – AED) and Fastenopfer (Careme de Partage) Switzerland.
Year of foundation 2003
Number of staff (employees, freelancers, volunteers) 4 employees, part-time workers: 29 professors.

N. B. We still have 3 craftsmen.

Staff members of your institute Among the co-workers are priests, ordained- and laypeople
Contact Maison Mgr. Christophe


c/o B.P. 02




Particulars of your pastoral institute

Official name


Director of the institute

Rev. Fr. Gustave Amuli Mihigo.

Legal holder of the institute

Mgr. Francois Xavier Maroy Rusengo, Archbishop of Bukavu.

Missio Aachen, Kirche in Not (Aide a L`Eglise en Détresse – AED) and Fastenopfer (Careme de Partage) Switzerland.

Vision / mission statement

Vision: An up-to-date training of pastoral co-workers. Adults who take over responsibilities in the church (in the parishes, in the schools, in the religious communities, in the dioceses, in the catholic movements, in the school- and hospital apostolate…). Training of religious teachers. Training of men and women (laities, priests and ordained people) who will acquire experiences in the areas of pastoral and catechesis. To help believers and support them to deepen their faith, to practise their faith more effectively and to share it with other people. Our training programme intends to enrich evangelizers with pastoral competence, in which they make the religious sciences part of their lives, live a spiritual life, and acquire the methods that suit the local circumstances. The values of an authentic African and Christian enculturation are important here. Our programme is made up of courses and seminars, in which the human sciences, the theological reflection, the catechetical and pastoral practice will be integrated. We teach to analyze the situation and to effect more sense of justice in the light of the gospel. We draw inspirations from the different theological and pastoral options for the enculturation of faith.

Main areas of work

Major areas of responsibility: dioceses, parishes, catholic schools, catholic associations, different areas of pastoral care and religious communities.

Addressees of your work (course participants[1])

Addressees: catechists in the parishes, religious teachers, leaders of associations/ societies and the local groups for the improvement of relationships, leaders in the civil society…. The courses are attended by ordained and laypeople.

N. B. Priests can take part when the second licentiate circle is opened.

Year of foundation


Organisational structure of the institute

Our institute is under the Ministry of Education of the Democratic Republic of Kongo. The diploma is recognized and issued from the Ministry.

2nd structure: The archbishop of Bukavu is the president of the administrative board.

3rd structure: The leading body is directed by the general director of the institute.

4th structure: The committee of the students` union.

Number of staff (employees, freelancers, volunteers)

Number of staff (fulltime workers): 4 employees, part-time workers: 29 professors.

N. B. We still have 3 craftsmen.

Staff members of your institute[2]

Among the co-workers are priests, ordained- and laypeople

Qualifications of staff members of your institute

Education standard: doctors, qualified specialists and licentiate.

Questions relating to the work of your institute

What pastoral options do you feel obliged to?

Our pastoral options are: catechesis and liturgy.

What are the pastoral focus areas of your institute?

We emphasize importance on the following pastoral areas: Pastoral of the living basic communities (CEVB), youth pastoral, school pastoral, development pastoral.

What pastoral services does your institute provide?

Competent religious teachers. Social pastoral leaders in different areas of the churches life: catechesis, liturgy, social support, schools, catholic movements, youth pastoral care, hospital pastoral care …. Leaders and administrators in pastoral areas (known as deaconry / social welfare work in some dioceses).

What pastoral aims does your institute pursue?

Up-to-date education in their respective contexts. To empower adults to take over responsibility in different areas (diocese, school, religious community, catholic movement …). Helping people to deepen and to express their faith better and to be able to share it with other people. Education of capable religious teachers for the catholic schools. To encourage and support the research into authentic African Christian enculturation.

What pastoral processes have you initiated or accompanied recently?

Our former students worked as observers and local election officers in the last presidential and parliamentary elections. We organized retreats for different social groups during the advent. Through the help of Radio Maria, the radio programme of the diocese, we sensitized people about the importance of the election. Also about spiritual life, about life in the church as family of God; the respect for communal welfare, for orderly, conscientious and productive work. We have informed the secondary students about the dangers of Aids and betrayal / dubious life.

What does this mean for the areas of catechesis, deaconry and liturgy?

With regard to catechesis, the word of God should move every believer to bear witness for Christ everywhere. Concerning the deaconry every Christian is called to the life of service in the church and in the society in the light of his faith. We celebrate in the liturgy what we teach and preach. There should be here no contradiction between the celebration, talking and doing.

What notion of God inspires your work?

We draw inspirations in our work from the idea of God that will free us from false gods. This God took the risk to send his son in order to teach us how we can help our fellow men to live better lives (spiritually and socially) through our prayer lives and our work.

In how far does Christian spirituality shape your work?

The Christian spirituality gives our work orientation through the spirit of prayer and work of Christ, which lead us. Our motto reads: Ora et Doce: “Pray and preach”.

What processes do you use or develop to analyse reality? How are these elaborated and how are they linked to pastoral care? How do you pass these processes on?

We use the method >seeing – Judging - Doing <: Through the social pastoral analysis we discover some of the problems; and we try to approach these problems with the help of theological methods and we propose pastoral and catechetical ways of solution in order to improve the situation.

What prophetic approaches does the institute put into practice with a view to shaping society?

For the collaborative up-building of the society: Our prophetic approach consists of an awareness training and the sensitisation of the people; we carry out with them social pastoral analysis in order to realize concrete activities of human development. We denounce injustices in the light of Christian faith and allow the citizens to take part in the processes against injustices.

What does the work of the institute involve exactly? (Framework conditions? Publications? Courses? Lectures? Congress?...)

In our work, we engage ourselves in the following areas: the reanimation and the enculturation of the Christian basic communities (CEVB); the religious lessons in catholic schools; sensitisation and awareness training of the leaders of the community organisations and political leaders; talks for intellectual groups (teachers, students, politicians, business people …); enculturation of catechesis; publication of cultural and academic documents.

What magazines, periodicals, books, manuals, work aids, methodological instructions etc. does your institute publish?

This year we want to publish a bulletin that will enable our students, the professors and pastoral co-workers (priests, ordained people and the laity) to exchange their ideas.

What do you consider to be the most important service of your institute?

Our most important offer are the courses which we do with the students as well as the pastoral care practices, which they do in the various dioceses and parishes during the long vacations.

How do you evaluate the work of your institute?

The evaluation of four work consists of: weekly official conferences with the team leaders and the assessment of the (teaching) practices of our students as well as the observations and suggestions of the priests and other pastoral co-workers which help our students during their (teaching) practices.

What are the most important developments that you are dealing with at present?

The most important developments at the present are:

  • The increasement of the number of competent religious teachers in our schools
  • The increasement of the number of trained catechists to teach catechesis in our dioceses and parishes.
  • The improvement of catechetical, liturgical and pastoral activities in the pastoral areas.
  • The improvement of the administration of parish offices with the help of our former students.
  • The improvement of working ability in the pastoral, catechetical and liturgical centres of our dioceses with the help of our former students.
  • New methods of collaborative work between priests and committed lay or ordained people whom we trained in our institute.

What are the main difficulties your institute is confronted with in its work?

Shortage of fulltime employed teachers, shortage of good strong cars for administrative services and for the teachers. Shortage of a piece of land for the practical of the development courses. General shortage of financial means for the work. There is no network with other religious science institutes which results to difficulties in teamwork with other big institutes of religious sciences. Our library is not well equipped. We equip step by step. There is shortage of finance for the production of our regular bulletin. There are difficulties in negotiations with the advisers of the education ministry.

What challenges do you perceive for your institute at present?

The opening of a second licentiates` circle in no distant time.

We occupy ourselves in the moment with the question: Where can we find other partners, if the Fastenaktion of Switzerland in short distant time cannot support us financially again? How are we going to be able to exchange our ideas with other religious science institutes?

What hopes, dreams and visions do you have for your institute?

Our hopes: That the number of our students will increase with the state recognition through the ministry of education. That financial support of Missio Aachen and Kirche in Not remains a source of big hope for the future of our institute.

Our dreams: A new car. The creation of production means for self-financing. We want to create an option in our institute so that it will be more dynamic. We

would like to open an internet site.

Our vision: We wish to have a team work with the theological faculty, the future catholic university of Bukavu.

To what extent does your institute support laypeople in the Church and in society?

Regarding our supports for the laity in the church as well as in the society: We improve the knowledge of the laity to enable them work more effectively in our dioceses and parishes. A well trained layperson is a very important help for the priests and he can as well act as translator among other laypeople.

How do you communicate your experiences and results to the respective local church, to neighbouring local churches and to other addressees (e.g. institutions affiliated to you)?

For example: We want to link up ourselves with the religious science institute of Strassburg in France. We want to affiliate ourselves as well with the papal university Urbaniania or the religious science institute of Rome.

To what extent does cooperation with the Bishops’ Conference of your country or with your diocese take place?

Regarding the cooperation with the bishop’s conference of our country or with our diocese: The religious science institute of Bukavu came into being through the initiative of the diocesan synod of Bukavu. The archdiocese of Bukavu established this institute and made it open for other dioceses of the bishops conference (diocese of Uvira, Kasongo, Kindu, Butembo-Beni, Goma and Bukavu), whose students will be trained in our institute, and we are working well together with the bishops. In the same manner we are working well together with the national bishops` conference of Kongo (CENCO).

What linkages/networks are in existence at national level?

There are 6 bishops` conferences in our country, and every conference has its own religious science institute. We have already organized a meeting of all the caretakers of the religious science institutes in Kinshasa. We receive instructions from the national bishops conference of our country.

What linkages/networks are in existence at international level?

At international level we receive instructions from the congregation of catholic education system. Equally we received some instructions on the reform of the religious science institutes, which the prefect of the congregation of faith Zenon Grocholowski and the secretary Mgr: Jean-Louis Brugues, the retired archbishop of Angers, signed on the 28th of June 2008.

What kind of interreligious cooperation does take place with non-Christian religions?

We cooperate with the Muslims in our area. We have planned to introduce an Islamic course for a good interreligious dialogue. Our students are already carrying out researches into the influence of Islam on Christians in Muslim concentrated areas: in Maniema, where the dioceses of Kindu and Kasongo are situated.

What kind of ecumenical cooperation does take place with non-Catholic churches?

We have a very good cooperation with our separated brothers, the “protestants”.

Which theological mergers/associations are you affiliated with (personally or as an institute)?

None in the moment.

How can we assist you with your intercontinental exchanges and with exchanges between the continents?

We would like to establish contact with other religious science institutes. Equally we would like to present our applications for financial help to other partners on time. We are looking for scholarships for our teachers who want to do their doctorate studies.

  1. It would be interesting to know among other things whether course participants are active at parish, diocesan or supra-diocesan level and whether courses are attended by priests, religious or laypeople.
  2. It would be interesting to know among other things whether the staff members of the institute are priests, religious or laypeople.