Posted On 2024-04-14 In Covenant Life

“Sion: In the shrine I have seen your power and glory” (cf. Ps 63)


The Sunday of Mercy, April 7, 2024, was a day of great joy in the Schoenstatt Shrine for Peace and Reconciliation in Mont Sion Gikungu for the Schoenstatt Fathers, for the faithful who visit our Shrine, and also for those who are attached to the Shrine from our neighboring countries such as the Democratic Republic of Congo. —

The Mass was scheduled for 10.00 a.m., but from 9.30 a.m. heavy rain set in, so that we could not enter the church in a long procession, but went through the direct entrance from the sacristy to the altar. Gervais Banshimiyubusa, the Archbishop of Bujumbura, Evariste Ngoyagoye, the Archbishop Emeritus of Bujumbura, Blaise Nzeyimana, the Bishop of the Diocese of Ruyigi, the Vicar General of the Archdiocese of Bujumbura and around 60 priests, including a delegate from the Archbishop of Bukavu, not forgetting the religious, took part in this jubilee and consecration celebration.

Fr. Arkadiusz Sosna and Fr. José Luis Correa had already arrived two weeks earlier as representatives of the General Council of the Schoenstatt Fathers. The presence of Fr. Kingsley, the superior of the Victoria Matris delegation from Nigeria, should also be emphasized.

Priesterweihe in Burundi

Ordination to the priesthood – the 20th local Schoenstatt Father

Personalities from state and society: Recognition of Schoenstatt’s contribution to peace and reconciliation

On the other hand, the various religious communities and the pilgrims of Mount Sion Gikungu accepted Our Lady’s invitation: the Minister of Health and the Fight against AIDS was delegated by H.E. Major General Evariste Ndayishimiye, the President of the Republic of Burundi. Other high-ranking personalities of the country were present: Excellency Domitien Ndayizeye (former President of the Republic of Burundi) with his wife, Excellency Sylvestre Ntibantunganya (former President of the Republic of Burundi), Sabine Ntakirutimana, Vice President of the National Assembly, and her husband, Mrs. Laurence Ndadaye, wife of the late President Melchior Ndadaye, Hero of Democracy in Burundi, Mrs. Sylvane Ntaryamira, wife of the late President of the Republic Cyprien Ntaryamira, Mrs. Tania Knittler, Number 2 of the Embassy of the Federal Republic of Germany in Burundi.

Painting the picture of presence, I cannot but mention the parents and other family members of the new priest Fr. Samuel Sibomana who was the 20th local Schoenstatt Father to receive the priestly anointing from the hands of Bishop Gervais Banshimiyubusa.


The traditional Burundian horn opens the jubilee

Thanks to the first Swiss Fathers

The day was rich in symbolic expressions, including the rhythm of the Burundian drum at the beginning and end of the ceremonies and the sound of the traditional Burundian horn to announce the jubilee.

At the beginning of the Eucharistic celebration, which was attended by more than 5,000 faithful, Father Herménégilde, Superior of the delegation, welcomed everyone who had come to the event. He recalled that 50 years ago Divine Providence had chosen the Schoenstatt Fathers to come to Burundi to proclaim the graces of Divine Mercy and the Covenant of Love with the Blessed Mother. The first four Swiss Fathers, Father Alfred Kistler, Father Othmar Landolt, Father Edwin Germann and Father Joseph Ruedi Hüppi, are symbolic like the four evangelists sent by Jesus with the same words: “As the Father has sent me, so I send you…”.

Priests in the service of the Church

The Archbishop of Bujumbura congratulated the Schoenstatt Fathers on their jubilee and paid tribute to their apostolate. He emphasized the importance of the two Schoenstatt shrines, that of the Sisters in Mutumba and that of the Fathers on Mount Sion Gikungu, for the faithful of the diocese and for all who visit them.

When the moment of the laying on of hands arrived, it was wonderful to see about 60 priests surrounding Fr. Samuel, who was joyfully waiting for this unforgettable moment in his life. When the Archbishop mentioned the ordination of Fr. Samuel Sibomana, he said that he was grateful that the Schoenstatt Fathers continue to give the Church well-trained priests for the mission.

Priesterweihe von P Samuel

Priestly ordination of Fr Samuel

Queen of peace and reconciliation

After the final blessing, the new priest was asked to give a blessing to all the faithful. The Mass ended with a beautiful and long procession from the large pilgrimage church to the shrine of the Blessed Mother: The cross in front, 50 children of the Pueri Cantores Maria Goretti choir carrying lighted candles to commemorate the 50 years of commitment of the Fathers, the dancers, the two choirs that had sung alternately during the Mass, the religious, the various representatives from state and society, the priests, the three bishops and the large crowd moved to the shrine where the Schoenstatt Fathers renewed the Covenant of Love with the Blessed Mother and together with all the faithful renewed the crowning of Mary as Queen of Peace and Reconciliation. After this prayer, the Archbishop of Bujumbura imparted the blessing, accompanied by drum and dance rhythms, as the bishops and all the concelebrants moved into the large sacristy.


Laying on of hands

A well-rounded celebration – including a cow

The celebrations continued in the garden of Sion, which had been prepared in a manner worthy of such a celebration. The Burundian-style speeches were very rich in content. The chairman of the committee preparing the festival was delighted at how committed everyone was to the cause. Fr. Arcadius, who spoke on behalf of the Superior General of the Schoenstatt Fathers, surprised everyone because we had expected him to translate, but he had prepared his speech in French, in which he emphasized the beauty and cultural richness of Burundi, which has opened itself to Schoenstatt’s spirituality and today sees many fruits when one sees how well known the picture of the Blessed Mother is in every diocese, in every parish of the Church in Burundi.

For his part, the new priest took the floor and showed his joy by thanking his family and all those who accompanied him during his formation. Rémy Binigi, the father of the newly ordained priest, did not hide his joy either. He advised his son to remain more of a servant in his ministry. He presented him with a cow as a gift, which everyone was delighted to receive.

Die Eltern des Neupriesters

The parents of the new priest

Continuing on the path of peace and reconciliation

The Minister for Health and the Fight against AIDS spoke on behalf of the President of the Republic of Burundi. She congratulated the Schoenstatt Fathers on their jubilee and emphasized the contribution of the Church in Burundi to the development of the country, especially in the health and education sector and in the social sector by helping the needy.

Sylvestre Ntibantunganya, former President of the Republic of Burundi, who spoke on behalf of all the guests, emphasized the importance of the shrine of Mont Sion Gikungu for the reconciliation process in Burundi and invited the Schoenstatt Fathers to continue on this path, as there is still much to do.

All these speeches were interspersed with various dances, texts and songs. The Archbishop, who concluded this part of the speeches, congratulated the Schoenstatt Fathers once again. He appreciated everything that had been said and advised the new priest to remain a deacon, i.e. a servant. The Archbishop emphasized the character of the jubilee and stressed how important it was to celebrate such a jubilee, which should not pass unnoticed. He also emphasized that this jubilee had not been opened, but that he saw it as the opening of the jubilee year. So he invited the Schoenstatt Fathers not to forget this aspect, but to focus on the conclusion of the jubilee next year.

He concluded his address with the final blessing as the rain began to fall again, as it had in the morning at the beginning of the celebration.

When we experience all this, we can only marvel at how much our Mother has glorified herself, because these 50 years have been punctuated by tragic moments in which our Mother has proved herself victorious. Hence the motto of this jubilee year: Sion: In the shrine I have seen your power and your glory.


New Priest Father Samuel

Discours du Pere Arkadiusz Sosna – Français

Echo jubilé – Français

Original: French. Translation: Maria Fischer @schoenstatt.org

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