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Apostolic Movement

A special day of celebration for the Schoenstatt Fathers in Burundi

By: Emmanuel Ayogu

“This is the day which the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it” (Psalm 118;24). Truly, every day is made by the Lord God, the creator of heaven and earth. But amongst them, there are some days made special by the remarkable events that the Lord has worked through his people and the precious gift they have received from Him. Last Sunday, being the 7th day of April, 2024 and also the second Sunday of the Easter season, considered as the Divine Mercy Sunday, is one of those special days in the Mont Sion Gikungu, Schoenstatt Fathers’ Sion Patris Africae, here in East Africa.

The celebration of the golden jubilee of the presence of the Schoenstatt Fathers in Burundi and the priestly ordination of Reverend Samuel Sibomana are the providential events that made this day special and different from other days.

3 bishops and more than 50 priests took part in the celebration

The event started with the celebration of Holy Mass at 10am. It was graced by the Archbishop of Bujumbura Archdiocese, Monsgr. Gervais Banshimiyubusa, who was the Ordaining Prelate, the Archbishop Emeritus, Evariste Ngoyagoye, and the Bishop of Ruyigi diocese, Monsgr Blaise Nzeyimana. More than 50 priests were present, including two representatives of the General Council of the Schoenstatt Fathers and the Superior Delegate of the Victoria Matris Region (Nigeria), Rev. Fr Kingsley Okereke, the Rector General of the Institute of Schoenstatt Diocesan Priests, Dr. Christian Löhr, four Deacons and Rev. Samuel who received the sacred order of priesthood, also many dignitaries, and other great personalities who accepted our invitation.

50 years of the Schoenstatt Fathers in Burundi

To begin, the Delegate Superior of the Schoenstatt Fathers for Sion Patris Africae, Fr. Jose Luis Correa, gave us a brief history of the Schoenstatt fathers in Burundi through the instrumentality of Fr Alfred Kistler and other priests from Switzerland like Fathers Othmar Landolt, Edwin Germann, Ruedi-Josef Hüppi…, who were invited by the Schoenstatt Sisters of Mary already present in Bujumbura, stating the roles they played without forgetting the challenges faced in that moment.

A new Schoenstatt Father for Burundi

During the homily, the archbishop, Gervais Banshimiyubusa expressed his happiness for having two shrines in his archdiocese with the highest number of Schoenstatt pilgrims. He stressed on Jesus’ gift of peace to his disciples as a contrast to the shame and fear they had. He also encouraged and urged Rev. Samuel to remain resolute and faithful to his calling, and fulfill his duties diligently and fervently.

Samuel Sibomana chose as his priestly motto the phrase: “Because the Lord your God, is a Loving God” (Deut 4:31).

He wants to live his vocation “as a Schoenstatt Father who is dedicated and committed to the call of God through our Sion Community”. And he says: “For me, I understand and I believe that the Covenant of Love we seal with our Blessed Mother Mary is a means to strive for priestly holiness. And through the Covenant of Love and the contribution to the capital of grace, I’m sure we remain close to the Blessed Mother who is the model of our life, and she obviously helps us to live a life truly as an ‘Alter Christus’ (another Christ), to live a life of holiness like her instruments in our contemporary time”.

During the reception, there were lots of entertainment and refreshments. The president of the Republic of Burundi, through his representative, urged us to improve in areas we have failed and encouraged us to continue the good works in areas we have succeeded. Also, the first counselor, representing the General Council, Fr. Arkadiusz Sosna, expressed his joy over the golden jubilee of Sion Patris Africae and the priestly ordination of Rev. Fr Samuel Sibomana and wished him well in his priestly ministries and life. There were many other speeches and well wishes over the remarkable events of this day.


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