Monsengwo led the archdiocese of Kinshasa from 2008 until his retirement in 2018 at the age of 79. The archdiocese, which serves more than seven million Catholics, is based in the capital of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC).
The DRC is a central African country with a population of almost 87 million people, an estimated 35 million of whom are baptized Catholics.
The pope wrote: “Having learned with sadness of the death of Cardinal Laurent Monsengwo Pasinya, archbishop emeritus of Kinshasa, I send my deepest condolences to you and to his family, to the auxiliary bishops and to the faithful of the dioceses of Inongo, Kisangani, and Kinshasa, of which he was successively the pastor.”
“I ask the Father of all mercies to welcome in his peace and light this exegete, this man of science, this great spiritual man and this pastor intensely devoted to the service of the Church, wherever he was called.”
Laurent Monsengwo Pasinya was born on Oct. 7, 1939, in Mongobele, Mai-Ndombe Province. After beginning his priestly formation in Africa, he studied theology at the Pontifical Urban University in Rome. He was ordained as a priest of the diocese of Inongo, in western DRC, on Dec. 21, 1963.
After further studies at the Pontifical Biblical Institute of Rome and of Jerusalem, he taught Sacred Scripture at the theological faculty in Kinshasa and at John XXIII Major Seminary.
In 1980, at the age of 40, he was named an auxiliary bishop of Inongo. A year later, he was appointed an auxiliary of Kisangani archdiocese in northeastern DRC.
In 1984, he was elected president of the National Episcopal Conference of the Congo. Four years later, he was named archbishop of Kisangani.