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Boston U. alum murdered in Congo was martyr of truth, says Assumptionist


Assumptionist Father Vincent Machozi, a Boston University alumnus pictured in an undated photo, was gunned down in Congo March 20. (CNS photo/courtesy the Assumptionists)

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WORCESTER, Massachusetts (CNS) -- A Congolese priest serving in the U.S. said he believes his colleague, a Boston University alumnus gunned down in Congo, was "a martyr of the truth."

Father Mulumba Kambale Matsongani, the only Congolese Assumptionist now living in the Worcester Diocese, shared memories of Assumptionist Father Vincent Machozi, who taught him in Congo. Both later studied and served in Massachusetts -- Father Machozi in the Boston Archdiocese, where he co-founded a Congolese Catholic community in the Boston Archdiocese and an organization of Nande people in the United States.

"He was a tremendous teacher. He's a smart guy and he's full of initiative," Father Matsongani said of the 51-year-old priest, killed March 20. "He started an ecumenical movement in the (Congolese) Diocese of Butembo-Beni. He could unite all of the Christian churches to discuss important issues on faith, politics ... and this was ... appreciated by many."

Assumptionist Father Benoit Griere, the order's superior general, said in a letter that Father Machozi had just celebrated Palm Sunday Mass, visited his mother and held a meeting with the elders of Butembo March 20 when a jeep with 10 armed soldiers arrived at his house. "The soldiers demanded to know where Vincent Machozi was. Figuring out who he was in the small group gathered there, the assailants immediately riddled him with bullets. He died instantly."

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