A look back at the episcopal ordination of Bishop José Likolo of Lisala

Appointed Bishop of Lisala on 15 February, Bishop José Likolo, a priest of Kinshasa and a member of the Emmanuel Community, was ordained on Saturday 29 May by Cardinal Fridolin Ambongo Besungu, Archbishop of Kinshasa, surrounded by about twenty bishops of the Democratic Republic of Congo. 

A delegation of about ten members of the Emmanuel community was able to attend this event. The general moderator, Michel-Bernard de Vregille, the person in charge of the consecrated sisters, Antonia Holstein, and the person in charge of the clerical association, Father Henri-Marie Mottin, joined a Congolese delegation of about thirty brothers and sisters in Kinshasa to take the same plane to Lisala.

An equatorial bishopric 

In the Lingala language, the celebration began at 8.30 am on Saturday 29 May and lasted no less than seven and a half hours! Punctuated by praise, recollection, thanksgiving, and gratitude, it was a high point for the local church of this ecclesiastical province located along the Congo River, at the equator. This region of Central Africa has an equatorial climate and is crossed by an immense river, which bears similarities to the Amazon. Therefore, Bishop José Likolo is beginning his episcopal ministry in this region of his country that he did not know.

His episcopal coat of arms 

His coat of arms is discreetly stamped with a tortoise, the Marian Star, the Sacred Heart, and the Blessed Sacrament, presented in a monstrance. This turtle symbolizes the quiet strength of a silent animal that listens and walks cautiously… but perseveres to the end and knows how to withdraw into its interiority to draw power from it. Under this symbolism, briefly summarised here, Bishop José Likolo places the sign of his ministry.

Why be inspired by the turtle? The turtle inspires us to pursue our path with determination, perseverance, patience, constancy, tenacity, and serenity. It teaches us to move forward slowly but surely. By slowing down, she protects us from emotional outbursts. It moves at its own pace – it is steady. It helps us to develop discernment, intelligence, wisdom, and self-control. In the spirit of the turtle, you don’t go faster; you go further.

 
The turtle symbolizes peace, non-violence, and stability by maintaining a harmonious relationship with its environment.
 
It keeps its back to the ground and maintains its inner world. In this sense, it invites us to let ideas mature before exposing them to others. It is an excellent master in the art of putting down roots. She is very forgiving, caring, understanding, and gentle, but she is not naive. The tortoise is wiser because it carries its home. It is a reasonably autonomous animal.
 
About the aspect of protection, we learn the lesson of not getting involved in other people’s problems; of guarding against physical, psychic, moral, and verbal attacks; it’s about protecting ourselves from negative influences.

In healing, the turtle promotes longevity; helps metabolize vitamin D (some giant turtles can live up to two hundred years).
 
Like the oracle or augur, it teaches us to remove ourselves from bad situations; to honor our appearance.
 
In terms of food, the turtle is tender and delicious meat. It is an invitation to give the good things around us.
 
The turtle is oviparous, herbivorous, carnivorous, or piscivorous. It lives in the water, on the land, and in the forest. It lets us know that we have to adapt to changing conditions and different contexts of life.
 
Hearing everything and saying nothing, the turtle is an animal of silence, precedence, and depth. It teaches us not to get caught up in the day-to-day activities, suggests that we should not make hasty decisions or rush into things. When we are under the spell of excitement, it can warn us when we confuse the urgent with the important. It helps to regain a sense of priority in a calm environment. It invites us not only to slow down but to look for answers within ourselves; it invites us to reflect, meditate, to listen to our heart.

The turtle evokes balance, the need to think carefully before acting. Its front legs are so powerful that it can face almost any problematic situation. The turtle knows the secret of the proper movement.

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