Formation Center

Bishop Djomo looks at a future meeting room in the Formation Center.

Across a valley from the Université de Notre Dame de Tshumbe, Bishop Djomo is building a center for formation.  The center will include a number of buildings, including residences, a dining area, classrooms, and a dining hall.  The bishop said that he hopes to build a bridge across the stream at the bottom of the valley, so that visiting professors can live at the formation center, and easily cross the valley to the university.  On July 16, however, we had to drive in a roundabout way to reach the center.

One of the Formation Center buildings takes shape.

The bishop said that he originally envisioned the complex as a retreat house, but renamed it a “formation center” when he discovered that potential donors prefer that name.  A retreat house isn’t as exciting as a formation center, he said ironically, and spirituality doesn’t seem quite as dynamic as formation.  The six buildings of the center will be able to serve a variety of purposes, from education to formation to retreats.

Masons erect a wall in the Formation Center.

My reflection: in a country where wages are low and where the government will support educators, it is not expensive to employ teachers.  The real expense for the bishop is the bricks-and-mortar construction cost of erecting buildings that will last — and of getting the building materials upriver from Kinshasa.

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