BURUNDI, Fr. Banziriyubusa •
About 500 Catholics attended the 130th anniversary of the birth of Fr. Joseph Kentenich, the founder of the Schoenstatt Family. It took place on the evening of 16 November 2015 at Mont Sion Gikungu.
Fr. Félicien Nimbona was the main celebrant and he was assisted by four priests and a deacon at the Mass which began at 17:00 in the Eucharistic Chapel. At the start, Fr. Félicien Nimbona, the rector of the shrine, reminded the congregation of the reason for the celebration. “We have come,” he said, to give thanks to God for his gift of Fr. Joseph Kentenich. Everything we experience here at Mont Sion, the things that have been done, the apostolate of the Schoenstatt Fathers…God has made it happen through one person, Fr. Joseph Kentenich. Born on 16 November 1885 in Germany, he was a true father for Schoenstatt. Therefore, for this celebration, the first of its kind here at Mont Sion Gikungu, we have come to give thanks to God and to pray for our founder who has not yet been canonized.
Recalling Father Kentenich`s life and a mission continuing
The Mass continued with the proclamation of the word of God. During the homily, Fr. Félicien recalled the milestones in Fr. Kentenich’s life and, as a consequence, the family he founded.
There are people who need our prayer, he indicated. Fr. Kentenich can be seen as a saint for the work he did and for which we are grateful. However, the Church has not yet recognized him officially. The process is under way and it is going well. This is why we have come to pray for him today. And, I ask you to constantly remember him to God as we do for those who have died. May this prayer remind us that we are also pilgrims. In fact, this world distracts us and often stops us from remembering that we are actually on a journey through this earth towards Heaven.
Another reason we are here today is to give thanks to God for the life that he gave to our father and founder 130 years ago. In fact, his dwelling place has changed but he is always living as St. Teresa used to say: “I am not dying; I am entering into life!” God always counts the years because He created Fr. Kentenich and entrusted him with a noble mission.
The Mass continued joyfully, accompanied by the singing of the Sancta Maria Choir and ended at about 18.20, in time for the novena in preparation for the feast of Christ the King.
A beautiful feast to come
The joyful celebration of Father Kentenich`s birthday toodk place on the dark backgrpound of ongoing and increasing violence in Burundi. “Things are really not good in Burundi. Every day there are deaths and more deaths. Thank you for the prayers and the interest,” wrote Hermenegilde Ntabiriho, who volunteered to provide news from Burundi for Schoenstatt.org “However, no one can take away joy and peace.”
There is a beautiful celebration to come on December 12, he shares: “And we are happily looking forward to the next great celebrations when on 12 December Deacon Yves Irakoze will be ordained as a priest to the Community of the Schoenstatt Fathers.