News from Burundi (Info-Pac Nr. 76)

Dear confreres who have known, loved and served Burundi by bringing the Good News, Greetings.

We must give thanks to God who made the seed of faith grow well. Our present attitude of gratitude could be defined in the words of Pope Francis: to the past of recognition, to the present of passion and to the future of trust.

We cannot lock the past into archaeology. It is about the memory of the God who acts, which must ignite our enthusiasm in the present. And we have reasons to be enthusiastic about Burundi. Not only is the Church in Burundi blossoming in the growing number of Christians, but also in that which touches us more closely, the number of vocations for our Society. There are thirteen Burundian members in our Society, and we can rejoice to see about thirty Burundian candidates in training and as of last, ten will start the propaedeutic and a new student from the University will start this year the philosophy. Here is a small extract from the testimony of an elder from Burundi: “It would be a mistake for us as former missionaries of Burundi to place ourselves outside this situation in Burundi, thinking that it no longer concerns us, given our age and the fragility of our health. Our oath placed us at the service of evangelization in Africa until our death. When I arrived in Burundi in 1963, we were many Missionaries of Africa, more than 260, and among us there was only one African, Bishop Makarakiza, from Burundi. As I speak to you (June 2018), there are three Burundians, one Congolese, and four Europeans, three of whom are over 80 years old. But we expect two young African confreres in three months, appointed for Burundi.”

We have no doubt that you continue to pray for Burundi and you probably sometimes ask yourself this question: What else can I do for Burundi? We believe that you can continue living this happy, vocational and missionary “present time” of Burundi with passion.

Please allow us to send you “our community dream” regarding the land in Makarakiza, a project prepared by the community of Gitega and which has received the support of all the confreres of Bujumbura. We are asking for help so that the “Burundi Sector” may be more and more present in Burundi, that the Church in Burundi may not close itself off, but may welcome more joyfully the missionary vocation.

In this photo: M.Afr. candidates for Goma, 2018-2019 edition, with the PP: Bernard Lesay, German Arconada, Benno Baumeister and Jean-Bosco Ntihebuwayo during the preparatory session for Goma, June 2018.

Of course, Cardinal Lavigerie had foreseen that Africans themselves would be the main evangelizers of Africa. But he never said that they would be the only evangelizers of Africa. The Cardinal has always been an apostle of the Catholicity of the Church, and of universal brotherhood. I do not think that his wish was for an autonomous African church apart from the universal Church.

In thanking you for the welcome you will give our “Makarakiza Land Dream”, we entrust you with this African saying: “Where the foot cannot go, the heart goes”.

Jean-Bosco Ntihebuwayo, M.Afr.
Provincial Delegate of the sector Burundi

If you are interested by the project, please read more about it in the Info-Pac 76.

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