Rwanda: Golden and silver jubilee of religious life.
On 16th December 2018, the Delegation of Rwanda celebrated two jubilees of Brothers; golden Jubilee of Brother Aloys NDIMUKIHE and silver Jubilee of Brother Pierre Celestin NTAGISANIMANA. The celebration led by His Excellency NZAKAMWITA Servilian, Bishop of Byumba Diocese, started at 10:00 in Byumba Cathedral.
As introduced by Brother John Bosco, President of the Delegation, the jubilee is a big feast in the Catholic Church. Referring to the Israelite tradition as written in Leviticus 25, 10-13, he reminded that Jubilee means the year of compassion and forgiveness. It is a year of forgiveness, the year of the mercy of God.
This year, we are not only celebrating a day of jubilee but our Brothers offer us an opportunity to communicate the year of God’s mercy. As Brothers in the Delegation of Rwanda, we have a chance to live the year of God’s mercy. Disciples of Saint John Baptist de LaSalle, these two Brothers have served as a missionary in many countries; Brother Aloys served in Congo Kinshasa and in Burkina Faso; Brother Pierre Célestin served in Cameroun and Chad. They are the icons of the Brothers in the Delegation of Rwanda.
Brother Aloys Ndimukihe was born in 1942 in Kinihira Parish, in northern Rwanda. In 1964 he started the minor novitiate in Congo for a period of two years. The zeal to serve the poor continued to be intensified in him and in 1966 he entered the novitiate then one year later, he made his first commitment on 8th September 1967 in order to consecrate himself in the Institute to the service of the poor. He continued his formation and on 30th October 1974, he made the final vows in the District of Congo Kinshasa. His life is marked by the desire to serve the poor. In anonymous messages, Brothers wrote about him: A humble Brother, Brother of faith, full of love and generosity. One day, a Brother in his community gave him money for his shopping. But going out, he met a little girl who told him how difficult it was to pay for her school materials; Brother Aloys gave her all the money. He said that he had full confidence in the divine providence. He led the Brothers in Rwanda and his leadership was appreciated by Brothers and his presence in the community is always a source of encouragement to many Brothers in the Delegation of Rwanda. He served in Burkina Faso where he has stayed for more than nine years, transforming lives of both adults and young people through his way of life and teachings. His teaching profession has been tremendous and is still a source of inspiration for many Brothers and for the society at large. Many students have admired his method of teaching Geography and History. He also taught at the university where he was a geography lecturer. Currently, he is a formator in the Postulancy Community of young people who desire to become Brothers.
Brother Pierre Celestin Ntagisanimana was born in 1964 in Busasamana Parish, in the western part of the country. He came to know De La Salle Brothers through a former student in the Brothers’ school who directed him to the Brothers’ community where he was received for the first time by Brother Aloys. He started the formation to become a De La Salle Brother in 1989. He did his novitiate in Kinshasa and made the first vows on 13th June 1992. He made the final commitment on 1st May 1999 in Yaoundé, Cameroon where he was in mission. After about 10 years working as a missionary in Cameroon and Tchad, he came back to Rwanda and he took the responsibility to educate street children at Butare and he is still there as a true disciple of De La Salle. The Brothers of Rwanda Delegation and those of the District where he lived know Brother Pierre Célestin as an exemplary Brother: serious, strict, authentic and coherent in his religious life.
In his homily, his Excellency the Bishop of Byumba Diocese started by reminding us that it is God who listens and speaks to us today through the readings. We are invited to put into practice what His Word tells us. “In our lives, we are supposed to be geared by an Intensive desire of love, this is the love that surpasses all things, the love that cannot be stopped by water waves and the love that cannot be bought.” (Cf Song of Songs 8, 6-7). The love of our neighbour and the love of all is the bottom line of this celebration.
This celebration has been an opportunity to recognize the love that our two Brothers have put at their everyday service on behalf of children and young people they served. Their devotion to the service has been a high expression of God’s love to them, and they took a pleasure to communicate it to the Brothers and to the young people. For sure, Brothers Aloys and Pierre Celestin helped God’s people to walk from darkness to light through the values of education. It is very important to bear fruits to the young generation which is entrusted to our care, and we thank God for the efforts our Brothers made to bear those good fruits.
At the end of mass, the celebration continued at De La Salle School of Byumba. The time of conviviality has been enriched by the diverse sharings and speeches and was marked by the presence of different guests such as the family members of our two Brothers, the representatives of different religious congregations, the significant presence of Priests from different parishes of the country. This celebration was also made colourful thanks to the presence of the members of the Brothers’ former students’ association (ASSANEF Rwanda) who actively participated in it.
Brother Habiyaremye Fabien