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 published: 2008-05-16

Let there be peace!

Pilgrimage of the third international Auxiliary of the Schoenstatt Rosary Campaign Bukavo, Congo

 
Friedenswallfahrt mit der Dritten Internationalen Auxiliar

Peregrinación de paz con la Tercera Auxiliar Internacional

Peace pilgrimage with the Third International Auxiliary

Friedenswallfahrt mit der Dritten Internationalen Auxiliar

 

Im Dezember 2007 wurde die Auxiliar vom Apostolischen Nuntius ausgesandt

Envió por parte del Nuncio Apóstolico, en diciembre de 2007

In december 2007, the Auxiliar was sent out by the Apostolic Nuncio

Im Dezember 2007 wurde die Auxiliar vom Apostolischen Nuntius ausgesandt

Fotos: Maruhukiro © 2008

 
   

BURUNDI, Fr. Evode. History keeps showing us that although evil always looks ways to destroy the power of good, it is always defeated by it. We also experienced this during our pilgrimage to Bukavo with the picture of the Pilgrim Mother.

As we saw with our experience here at Mount Zion Gikungo, on the eve of important events, particularly spiritual ones, Satan did not miss an opportunity to meddle and stop it all from happening, but in the end, it was all like pouring water on a duck’s back, "gusuka amazi ku mugongo w’imbata," according to a saying here in Burundi.

An eventful trip

The preparations for the pilgrimage were going well when, on the eve of the pilgrimage, an attack by the Palipehutu-FNL shook the capital, Bujumbura. On the morning of the pilgrimage (Friday, 18 April 2008 and Covenant Day) relative calm had settled over the capital. After receiving a blessing by Fr. D Déo MARUHUKIRO, the rector of the Mount Zion Gikungo Shrine, Frs. Jean Bernard, Joaquin and I (Fr. Evode) left for Bukavu. Having arrived in Mpanda (around 15km from the capital), we were surprised to find a string of cars waiting for military authorisation before they could proceed. We were told that this was a result of the insecurity and that we should wait just like everyone else. Throughout all of this, we remained calm, trusting that our Queen of Peace who was with us would display her power. In the meantime Fr. Jean Bernard phoned Bukavu to let them know that we would not be on time as a result of the situation. After about half an hour later, the soldiers let us proceed. Five kilometres down the road, more soldiers suggested that we turn back on account of the instability further down the road. Having returned some of the way we had come and then decided to take the Uvira route via Gatumba. We arrived well in Bukavu, despite the usual skirmishes on the border with the Congo.

Our welcome

We were met by group of Schoenstatters who welcomed us with song and dance. After getting through customs, the procession, consisting of a bus, a van to transport the MTA and our RAV4 vehicle, headed towards Bagira. We arrived in Bagira at around 16:00 where we were cordially welcomed by the youth group. At 16:30 Fr. Jean Bernard celebrated Mass in Swahili during which he briefly explained the aim of our visit. The next day at 09:00 we visited the vicar-general for the Archdiocese of Bukavo who welcomed us very warmly. By 13:30 the teaching with all the Schoenstatters from Bagire, Kadutu, Nyangezi, Uvira and other places began, under the watchful eye of our Mother. The conference with Fr. Jean Bernard dealt with the apostolate of the Rosary Campaign and the the third auxiliary. He explained the origins and the mission of this picture. Fr. Evode then spoke about the project to crown the Virgin Mary. Fr. Evode spoke in French and Fr. Jean Bernard interpreted for him. After these talks, Fr. Evode celebrated at a Mass in French which was attended mainly by Schoenstatters. After this mass, we visited the Murhesa Seminary (named after a philosopher and theologian).

The highlight of the pilgriimage: blessing of the MTA retreat house.

Sunday, 20 April was the highlight of our pilgrimage when the Virgin Mary retreat house was blessed. The blessing took place after the 11:30 Eucharistic celebration, presided by Fr. Jean Bernard, the Bagira parish priest, who cut short his working session especially for this visit, the Mater Dei parish priest, who was previously the Bagira parish priest, Frs. Evode and Joachim who have a large crowd of devout followers. The Mass started with a procession consisting of songs and dancing. This is I call the Congolese people the "people of the dance." After Mass, we blessed the retreat house. Fr. Jean Bernard presided over the blessing and took advantage of the opportunity to say that the retreat house does not belong only to the Schoenstatters but to all believers. Whoever feels the need to meet with our Mother can retreat there and talk to her as much as they like. After the blessing, we celebrated in the large hall with songs, dances and talks.

The return journey

As with the journey to the Congo, the return journey was also punctuated by a series of events. To begin with, Fr. Jean Bernard celebrated the farewell morning Mass to a large crowd of the faithful, since it was public holiday. As we started our return trip, everything went well until we arrived in Cibitoke, Burundi around 12:00 where we learnt that the road had been closed off all day because of the fighting between the army and the

Palipehutu-FNL. In our customary manner, we trusted in the Queen of peace because we were certain that she would display her power as she had on the outward journey. In the meantime, we ate something while we waited for Mary to answer. We did not have to wait very long, for no sooner had we finished eating, when we heard that the road had been opened. The Virgin Mary waited for us to rest a bit before clearing the path for us. It was with this joy in our hearts that we arrived safely in Mount Sion Gikungu.

What else can we say?

The Virgin Mary continues to display the power that she undoubtedly receives from the Lord. If we are preparing to crown her as the Queen of Peace, that is because we have already experienced what she really is and what she will continue to be. The Congolese community are also convinced by this certainty and it is for this reason that they joined our project. We therefore wait in confidence that the Virgin Mary will give peace to the Great Lakes region that has been ravaged by more than a decade of war, on the condition that we make our contribution: "Nothing without you, nothing without us."

Translation: Sarah-Leah Pimentel, South Africa

 


 

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