The Archdiocese of Kinshasa, on behalf of the Episcopal Conference of the Democratic Republic of Congo, has nominated Father Noel Mpaty as the chaplain for the Congolese in London, and Cardinal Murphy O'Connor has confirmed the appointment. The chaplaincy extends across all three London dioceses. Fr Mpaty celebrated Mass for the new chaplaincy on Sunday, 11 March in St Joan of Arc church, Highbury. Previously the Congolese had two Mass centres in Westminster Diocese. The first was in the French Church of Notre Dame de France in Leicester Place, off Leicester Square. The second was in St Mellitus Church, North Islington. North Islington has been a natural centre for Congolese since the family of Patrice Lumumba, the first Premier of the former Belgian Congo, fled there after his murder in 1961. The first Mass for Francophone Africans was celebrated at St Mellitus on 4 March 2001. For the last three years the Mass has been celebrated in Lingala, the language of Kinshasa, the Congolese capital. Both communities drew people from a wide area of London, but mainly from the northern and eastern boroughs and from Essex. At their last Mass celebrated by Fr Mpaty at St Mellitus on 4 March this year, Bishop Alan Hopes, Vicar General with responsibility for ethnic chaplaincies in Westminster, announced to a joint congregation of the two communities their move to Highbury.
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