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 published: 2009-01-21

The Queen of Peace visits the martyrs the brotherhood in Buta

The last pilgrimage with the International Auxiliary in Burundi

 

Heilige Messe in der Kapelle der Märtyrer der Brüderlichkeit; im Hintergrund die Auxiliar

Santa Misa en la Capilla de los martíres de la fraternidad en Buta. En el fondo la Auxiliar.

Holy Mass in the Chapel of the martyrs of fraternity; in the background the Auxiliary

Heilige Messe in der Kapelle der Märtyrer der Brüderlichkeit; im Hintergrund die Auxiliar

 

Wallfahrt mit der Auxiliar

Peregrinación con la Auxiliar

Pilgrimage with the Auxiliary

Wallfahrt mit der Auxiliar

 
Willkommen  

Recepción

Welcome

Willkommen

 
Ein bewegender Augenblick  

Un momento emotivo

A moving moment

Ein bewegender Augenblick

 
Heilige Messe  

Santa Misa

Holy Mass

Heilige Messe

 
Die Kapelle  

La Capilla

The Chapel

Die Kapelle

Fotos: Maruhukiro © 2009

 
 

BURUNDI , Fr. Déogratias Maruhukiro. Last Saturday, 17 January 2009, a large number of Christians, numbering some 160 people from Mount Sion and neighbouring parishes went on a prayer pilgrimage for peace in Buta. Buta is a small area situated in the south of the country in the Bururi Diocese. This area is mainly known for two things: a small seminary that was built there a long time ago and which has educated many priests and people who are highly respected in Burundi. More importantly, it is also known for the martyrs of brotherhood.

During the civil war in Burundi, the rebels went to the small seminary and wanted to kill members of one of the ethnic groups. They ordered the pupils to separate themselves but there were a few who refused to do so and the rebels opened fire on all those who remained in the dormitory. Forty seminarians died and as they were being killed they prayed that their murderers would be forgiven. They became known as the martyrs of brotherhood. A shrine was built in this place in honour of the martyrs under the protection of the Virgin Mary, Queen of Peace.

Pardon for the sins committed in our country

Why this pilgrimage after we officially concluded the chain of pilgrimages? Initially we thought that the Blessed Mother herself wanted this pilgrimage and she had several surprises in store for us.

We therefore decided to hold this pilgrimage because this is the year of the nation. The first three months will be dedicated to forgiveness, forgiveness we ask for ourselves, forgiveness we can offer others and forgiveness for the sins committed in our country. In order to ask specifically for this forgiveness, Buta was an ideal location because it was one of those places where the blood of the people of Burundi was shed on a large scale. It is without a doubt that the blood of these innocent people, spilt after Burundi gained its independence brought down a curse on the entire country. It was necessary to go there to ask for forgiveness in the name of all the people of Burundi so that the God of mercy can forgive us and to once again call for God’s blessings to be showered down on Burundi. This was one of the themes of our pilgrimage.

It was also necessary to visit the martyrs of brotherhood, so that together with them we can ask for peace in Burundi. Their testimony is a sign that God gave us a grace and blessing for Burundi, for the region and the whole world. We wanted many people, but especially those who still had their doubts to become aware of the truth. Thus, in Buta the word of God became real: "Where sin increased, grace increased all the more." By their testimony, the martyrs of brotherhood showed us that life conquers death, love conquers hatred and that peace will conquer war!

When one goes to Buta...

When one goes to Buta, it is impossible not to be touched deeply if one has a heart. When one goes to Buta it is impossible not to enter into prayer upon entering the martyrs’ shrine. We spent a whole night in prayer and during this night of prayer we felt the power of the Lord.

The pilgrim Mass was held on Sunday the 18th, covenant day for the Schoenstatters. The celebration began with a long 2km procession. The various Catholic action movements, among them Schoenstatt, were present. The procession included, of course, the Pilgrim Mother who went on her last pilgrimage for peace in Burundi. The Mass was celebrated by Monsignor Bacinoni Venant, the bishop of Bururi. He welcomed the pilgrims who had come with the Virgin Mary and asked them to continue praying for peace. He said, however, that peace would not come as easily as rain as it is necessary to work, to adopt a new attitude, to pray and to travel the path of forgiveness and reconciliation.

Joy without bound

At the end of Mass we were all happy as we headed towards the bus for the homeward journey. On the way back, we once again had the opportunity to admire nature’s beauty. When we arrived on the banks of Lake Tanganyika, heaven gave us a precious gift. It was an extraordinary sunset. It was as if, by some strange phenomenon, the sun was dancing and changing colour. Curiously, it was possible to look at this beautiful sun for several minutes. The lake was so calm that it appeared to be contemplating the sky silently. The sun’s rays which pierced the clouds reflected on the peaceful waters of the lake. We all climbed off the bus to admire this marvel and were overjoyed that God gave us such joy. After this long pilgrimage, just before arriving home, it seemed that God and our dear Mother wanted to smile down at us from the sky and tell us that they were happy. Yes, the sun danced with joy as a prelude to the great joy that is to come when the veil of sorrow and death is lifted from the countries in the Great Lakes region, when fear for tomorrow will give way to joy without bound, when the hatchet of war is finally buried. This time is not far-off. It has already begun because the Mother of God, the queen of peace is by our side and she intercedes powerfully for us.

I cannot end without thanking all the people who agreed to accompany us on this pilgrimage, all the people who prayed for us and prayed that this pilgrimage would be successful. God bless them all!

Translation: Sarah-Leah Pimentel, Johannesburg, South Africa

 


 

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