THE PASTOR’S DESK
By Fr. Terry Kerner
stated in last week’s bulletin, we joyfully welcome a
missionary as part of the Propagation of the Faith’s
Missionary Cooperative Plan this weekend who will speak to
us at all the Masses. We are pleased to welcome Fr.
Deogatias from Africa. I am sure you will support him in
every way possible. Welcome Fr. Deogratias!
will find the missionary envelopes in the pews. Donations
may be given this weekend and next weekend.
APPEAL FOR NYUNDO DIOCESE-RWANDA
brothers and sisters of St. Kateri Tekakwitha Church. I
come to you from your brothers and sisters of the diocese
of Nyundo Rwanda, Africa. My name is Fr. Deogratias Bahizi,
born June 19, 1983. I was ordained to Priesthood July 16,
2011. I belong to the diocese of Nyundo in the central
part of Africa, between the two famous landmarks: Lake
Kivu, and Ibirunga Gorilla National Park, and a home of
millions of wild animals. I am wondering if some of you
might have been there. Bishop Anaclet Mumvaneza is the
bishop of the diocese of Nyundo. It is a young diocese in
Rwanda, being founded only in 1952. Rwanda is an important
place in the East African Community.
year the U.S. Bishops invite missionaries from other
mission countries to share their experiences in ministry
and ask for your support for their pastoral projects.
the reason why I am here today. On behalf of missionaries
who are working in the diocese of Nyundo, Rwanda-East
Africa, I have come to share with you our pastoral
challenges and ask for your prayer support for our
pastoral projects. And this is a way of helping the church
to walk together as one family of God.
pastoral ministry in Africa is very different from the
U.S. Although through baptism we are all called to
ministry, the same ministry differs from one place to
another depending on the environment, culture and
location. While in the United States, for example, many
churches are closed and bishops talk about uncertain
futures of the parishes, the story of Rwanda is different.
While in the U.S. there is a declining number of priests
and nuns, in Rwanda we lack financial resources to
construct new Churches, new seminaries and new convents.
our ministry in Rwanda is facing several challenges like:
the year 2017, the diocese of Nyundo has set a goal to
build a Catholic church of Nyange Parish. This parish has
a population of 79,286 Baptized Catholics
are 35,894 and Catechumenates are 518.
2. A high degree of
illiteracy: Rwanda is a third world country. A big number
of young people have no opportunity to go to school.
Therefore the Church is making efforts to stand out with
better services. The Catholic diocese of Rwanda in
particular is involved in many education projects in order
to promote education to the youth.
3. The high level of
poverty: Rwanda has most peasant farmers with a government
burdened by foreign debts. The country itself is rich in
natural resources. But we do not have modern machines to
cultivate like tractors, combine harvesters etc. The
majority of Rwandans are still farming by using their own
hands. We are challenged on how to do ministry to people
who are living below the poverty line.
4. Our pastoral
ministry is also challenged with a great rise of the power
Muslim extremists. There is a big tension between Moslems
and Christians in Africa right now.
Brothers and sisters,
you have every reason to thank God because you have peace
and freedom of worship. In many countries of Africa, the
situation is different. Churches are burned down just
because we differ in faith. Christians are persecuted.
Please pray for your fellow Christians who are persecuted
in other parts of the world because of their faith.
However, in spite of
many challenges, the future of the Church in Rwanda is
still promising. The Catholic church is doing well in self-sufficiency
in personnel. We have many vocations to priesthood and the
number of Catholics is growing very fast. And the reason
why missionaries are coming to you every year to ask for
your support is because of the facts that:
1. The Church is one.
We are one community of believers. And this is what we
profess in our creed. The missionary cooperation plan is
an opportunity to support missionaries, religious and lay
catechists among the suffering and poor of the Missions in
2. Our mission is the
same. Through baptism we are all united in the one body of
Christ. We are all Disciples of Christ. We are all called
to the mission of Christ. We are one community and
therefore, we are church members who are communal and
relational. Because of baptism, we are one community and
we are related. Therefore, the missionary cooperation plan
is a call for solidarity.
Our thanks to Most
Reverend Allen Henry Vigneron, to the Propagation of the
Faith and to your Pastor Terry for allowing us to visit
you. May God bless you abundantly.
Fr. Deogratias Bahizi