Rwanda... where seminarians want to live the spirituality of unity

Rwanda... where seminarians want to live the spirituality of unity

An Italian seminarian’s recount of his journey to the suffering African country of Rwanda where he visited other seminarians who, like him, want to live the spirituality of unity.

My path began on the last day of the Rwandan calendar, the day in which we remember the massacre that happened in 1994. I know that Jesus Forsaken can give meaning to every human suffering, especially the ones that leave the deepest wounds in our hearts. I sense a profound bond between the sacrifice of Jesus and the pain and suffering of the Rwandan people.

Under the guidance of Father Telesphore, a local priest, he became acquainted with the capital city of Kigali known for its attractiveness. The signs of economic growth, however, can especially be seen in the centre of the city which looks like a European capital. But not far from the modern buildings there are the common folk, bound to agriculture and selling their products at market: fruit, vegetables, chickens, and so forth.
Due to my white skin and tall stature, my presence doesn’t go by unnoticed. I encounter many surprised faces, but it’s enough to offer a greeting of “muraho” or a smile and the ice melts into a nice smile.

We visit the main cities of the country by car, stopping now and then to give someone a ride. I was particularly struck by one young woman around 20 years old. Behind her pretty smile was a painful story. Fr Telesphore tells me that her parents were killed in the 1990 genocide. She had just been to their tomb where she went to pray. She and her young brother have been visiting Father Telesphore since they were young. They found a family that filled them with love. I met many other people in situations that were similar to theirs.

We spent Saturday at the seminary school of theology which takes in 130 seminarians from around the country. At the Mass, which was imbued with Rwandan culture, I was very touched by the Thanksgiving After Communion with songs that engaged the whole assembly. It was like a sacred rhythm, not perfectly synchronized, but incredibly harmonic.

At one seminary we held a “school” for seminarians who wanted to know about the spirituality of unity. Right from the start, Father Telesphore clarified for everyone that “this school is not run with books, but with life” and that “we’re here to build the unity Jesus desired, through our reciprocal love.”

The Gospel love among every tone could be felt in very strong and concrete ways throughout the meeting. After a basketball match, I found myself asking who had won? The answer: everybody. Where there’s love, competition becomes an occasion to live the Gospel.

We focused on the mystery of Jesus Forsaken, which is one of the points of the spirituality of unity. We were all moved by the testimony of two priests, one from Rwanda and the other from Burundi, lands that are marked by mutual misunderstandings. But through love towards Jesus in his abandonment, those misunderstandings gave way to unity between the two priests. One of the seminarians spoke for everyone: “When you speak with the heart, you touch us in the heart.”

The last days were dedicated to meeting with families and young people, but also other people who share the ideal of fraternity. We concluded with a pilgrimage to the Shrine of Our Lady, which was not far from the seminary. We wanted to thank her for this trip and for the Immeasurable gifts we all received.

Sat, 06/17/2017 - 13:04
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