Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Fr. Louie Dailisan, SVD Missionary in Congo

Fr. Louie Dailisan, SVD (in African shirt)
here with his former classmate and former missionary to Africa
Fr. Natoy Tampol, SVD, DWS procurator

I've got a chance to talk to Fr. Louie Dailisan, our SVD missionary in Congo who was here for a visit (3/7). Louie, 41, came from Iligan City and entered the seminary in Davao as an electrical engineer. He was ordained in December 1999 and the following year he went to Africa, first to Togo to learn French and then to Congo.

The Democratic Republic of Congo (formerly Zaire), a former Belgian colony, is the third largest country in the African ccontinent with a total land area of 2,344,858 km and an estimated population 63,655,000. It is a rich country inhabited by poor people.Thirty-two years of a dictatorial regime and the subsequent decade of civil and ethnic wars have wreaked the lives of the Congolese people.

This how Wikipedia describes the recent political conflicts in Congo:

Since 1994, the Congo has been rent by ethnic strife and civil war, touched off by a massive inflow of refugees fleeing the Rwandan Genocide. The government of Mobutu Sese Seko was toppled by a rebellion led by Laurent-Désiré Kabila in May 1997; he changed the country's name back to Democratic Republic of The Congo-Kinshasa (the capital of Congo/Zaire). His former allies soon turned against him, however, and his regime was challenged by a Rwandan and Ugandan-backed rebellion in August 1998. Troops from Zimbabwe, Angola, Namibia, Chad, and Sudan intervened to support the new regime in Kinshasa. See Foreign relations of Congo and First Congo War.

A cease-fire was signed on July 10, 1999; nevertheless, fighting continued apace especially in the eastern part of the country, financed by revenues from the illegal extraction of minerals such as coltan, cassiterite and diamonds. Kabila was assassinated in January 2001 and his son Joseph Kabila was named head of state. The new president quickly began overtures to end the war and an accord was signed in South Africa in 2002. By late 2003, a fragile peace prevailed as the Transitional Government was formed. Kabila appointed four vice presidents, two of whom had been fighting to oust him until July 2003. Much of the east of the country remains insecure, primarily due to the Ituri conflict and the continued activity of the Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda in the Kivus.

This period of conflict has been the bloodiest in history since World War II. Almost four million people have died as a result of the fighting. The United Nations is concerned that 1000 people a day are still dying as a result of the conflict and have described 2006 as a "make or break point" for the continuing humanitarian crisis.

The SVD missionaries arrived in this country in 1951 as the Belgian government was about to give independence. The SVD Filipino missionaries who have been assigned there are: Menardo Alcober, Ganie Ehido, Regie Domino- the three are now working in the Philippines; Xene Sanchez, the former provincial is now the present rector of the seminary, Alex Cinco is the present prefect, and Louie Dailisan is stationed in Bandudu. Two newly ordained priests will also be going there there, Nonito Gallego and Dondon Soriano.

Louie arrived in Congo in the midst of political turmoil, a year before president Kabila was assasinated. An essential part of his ministry until now is listening to the stories of war victims, building communities out of a war torn country, preaching reconciliation even if it seemed impossible in such circumstances of tribal conflicts.

When I asked Louie what did he do first when he arrived in his mission area, he spoke of immediately immersing himself learning French (in Togo), Lingala, the national language, and two more local languages. There are at least 242 spoken languages in the country! Indeed, an essential element in doing mission is learning languages. No wonder at Pentecost, the birth of the Church, the writer of the Acts of Apostles associates the event with 15 languages (Acts 2:9-10).

At present, Louie is involved in a project of building a barge for cars to cut 300 kilometers of detour along a river--symbolic, since boat is one of earliest images of the Church.


Anonymous said...

Our family name is Dailisan and our roots come from Bo Maloco, Sta Cruz, Ibajay, Aklan. Would it be possible to get Fr. Louie's contact number or email?

Thanks so much.

Anonymous said...

Fr. Dailisan is now on his way to Congo. You can inquire his email address through

Paroisse St. Augustin
B.P. 7463, Kinshasha I
Democratic Republic of Congo

Anonymous said...

Father Louie's email adresse is