Fr. Daniel LOOBUYCK, former superior of the Congo, died on May 19 in his native Belgium. On May 26, in the chapel of the Oblate Scholasticate at Kinshasa, the current provincial of the Congo, Father Joseph NTUMBA, presided at the Mass for the repose of the soul of the first superior of the Saint Eugene de Mazenod scholasticate.
Father Baudouin MUBESALA, former provincial superior and former assistant general, delivered the homily. Here are excerpts:
“Father Daniel Loobuyck was an Oblate with an exceptional career. When he had finished his studies at Gijzegem and then at Nijmegen, with Piet Weijs, he came to the Congo without delay. After serving in the bush of Koshibanda, Musenge-Bawongo and Kipuku, he was appointed provincial. In the early years, he found it difficult to leave Koshibanda for the provincial house in Ifwanzondo.
“Provincial for three successive terms, he had the courage to trust the Congolese youth by reopening the Ifwanzondo novitiate in 1977, after he had admitted Theophile Moke, in 1975, Jean-Pierre BWALWEL and his friend François- Xavier Ngaydam, the following year, who made their novitiate with the Scheut Fathers in Mbudi.
“In his eighth year as provincial, he left his job as provincial to prepare himself in Canada to become superior of the Kitambo scholasticate, which was about to open. On his return, for a year, he was appointed superior of Home Asuma, in Righini, before joining the scholasticate in Kitambo which began with him in 1982-1983. That same academic year, the Eugene de Mazenod Theologate began with five students. Daniel would, at the same time, assume the role of superior of the scholasticate and rector of the theologate.
“Then, he assumed the task of Provincial Treasurer before returning to Belgium where he would again be provincial for three years.
“It was an exceptional life for an exceptional man. What God has given him, he has been able to give back to his brothers and sisters, and especially to the Oblates of this Province. Abundantly generous, Loobuyck touched the hearts of many, all generations included.
“He was daring in several areas, but three struggles have especially touched the spirit of the young Oblates … These three struggles were first of all, the reopening of the novitiate in 1977, after the war of Mulele in 1964. I do not say that his compatriots did not believe in young people, but I will not hesitate to say that they saw no chance of renewal. Since it was necessary to dare, he dared.
“The second struggle was that of the opening of the scholasticate in Kitambo. At the request of the late Cardinal Joseph-Albert Malula, Archbishop of Kinshasa, who wanted the Oblates to have another parish in Kinshasa besides Saint Eloi, Daniel Loobuyck would be the parish priest of Saint Felix, Camp Mombele. He was a fighter.
“The third was the opening of the Eugene de Mazenod theologate, with five students. It needed to be done. And he did it. Father Guy Homery, founder of the Divine Providence of Crehen, said: ‘First begin, my son; Providence will come to help you’, and Daniel believed that. History has proven him right.
“It’s enough to believe, to dare and to be strong. Daniel believed firmly in man, especially in Congolese youth. He has given a lot for this Province, and this Province of Congo is grateful to him. In celebrating this Eucharist in his memory, the Province would like to have him as an intercessor. May his soul rest in peace with the One whom he has served.” (http://www.oblatcongo.org)