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Within the framework of their maritime explorations and strengthened by padroado, rights granted by the Holy See for the organisation of the mission in the countries to be conquered, the Portuguese began the evangelisation of the Kingdom of Kongo in 1491. They did not succeed in their efforts due to a lack of adequate preparation and because of the abusive application of the padroado. By instituting the Sacra Congregatio de Propagande Fide in 1622, the Holy See repeals the padroado and entrusts the evangelisation of the Kongo to the Italian Capuchins. And so began the Missio antiqua in 1645; it died two centuries later when the last Capuchin left Congolese territory. The mission was then stopped for thirty years; the missionaries having neglected the formation of an African clergy able to provide relief after their departure. With the authorisation of the Holy See, the fathers of the Congregation of the Holy Spirit based in Paris resume the mission from 1865, thanks to the insights of their founder, François Libermann, and based on the work of an extraordinary man, the 'baobab' of the African mission of the 19th century, father Charles Duparquet. The Spiritan fathers focused their work on educating the youth with the aim of birthing a new society imbued with Christian values.
Willy-Pierre Mbuinga Mayunda is a priest of the diocese of Boma in the Democratic Republic of the Congo since 1989. He holds a doctorate in theology from the Sankt Georgen Graduate School of Philosophy and Theology in Frankfurt, Germany, and currently works as pastor of the Parish of St. Mauritius in Oberengstringen in the Diocese of Chur, Switzerland. Furthermore, he is a Professor of Church History at the Catholic University of Congo, and at the Université Saint Augustin de Kinshasa (RDC).