Mission as the central point of priestly formation
Bujumbura (Agenzia Fides) - From 28 to 30 December 2020, a missionary study seminar for priests who study in this ecclesiastical and academic institute was held at the "St. John Paul II" Interdiocesan Major Seminary in Gitega. This seminar took place as part of the activities related to the Silver Jubilee that this important theological seminary celebrated in May 2019. The central theme that was the guiding thread of the conferences and debates was: "Proclamation, Sacrament and Priesthood in the Mission of the Church".
Five conferences created days of reflection and discussion among priests. The first conference was moderated by Monsignor Nestor Niyokindi, Vicar General of the Archdiocese of Gitega. The theme was: "Papal Magisterium on Mission: Foundations and Openings. The case of Pope Saint John Paul II". Recalling that the Church of God in Burundi is the fruit of mission, the moderator invited the participants to realize that today everyone is called upon to move from the pastoral logic of preservation to a logic of evangelization.
The conference moderated by Brother Emmanuel Ntakarutimana (of the Order of Preachers) addressed "the state of the Spirit and the missionary commitment of the Church in Burundi, the situation, the main actors and future prospects" and underlined that the aim of the mission is to invite people to follow Christ, this means that Christians must not only look outside, since everyone needs to convert to Christ, hence the two dimensions of the mission: ad intra and ad extra. The religious proposed different paths of reflection in relation to these two dimensions.
The chairman of the Bishops' Conference of Burundi, Bishop Joachim Ntaholevaye of Muyinga, spoke about the "tools for an effective missionary pastoral care of the Church of Burundi".
These tools should be armed by comparing the nature and the specifics of the missionary nature of the Church with the challenges one faces in Burundian reality. His Exc. Mgr. Bonaventure Nahimana, Bishop of Rutana, stressed that the seminary should be lived as a space and a time of formation for missionary awareness.
His Exc. Mgr. Simon Ntamwana, Archbishop of Gitega recalled the need to reflect on the dimensions of priestly spirituality and the means to meet the challenge posed by the multiform noise of the internet and the risks of becoming imbued with mundane elements.
The training seminar ended with the formulation of recommendations to the various actors who are directly affected by the topic of mission, as well as the concrete commitment of the participants to awaken and strengthen the missionary spirit of the Church of God in Burundi.