By Staff (Nov 10, 2014)
The Marian Fathers are celebrating 30 years in Rwanda and the 10th anniversary of CANA – Marian Formation Center in Kibeho.
On November 13, 2004, the Marian Fathers installed the monumental statue of The Divine Mercy on the “Hill of God” in Kibeho, which is just 2 km from the site where the Mother of the Word appeared to the school girls. This statue is the cornerstone of CANA. We celebrated our first Mass on the Feast of Christ the King, November 21, 2004, and the Bishop of the diocese of Gikongoro blessed CANA on the Feast of the Immaculate Conception, December 8, 2004.
We thank God for all His blessings, including our outstanding benefactors and partners. He has also blessed us with vocations. We have four native Rwandan Marian priests, and 9 seminarians and 8 men who are discerning a vocation to religious life and the priesthood in our community.
As we celebrate these anniversaries, we think about our plans for the future. In the next ten years, we plan to build an evangelization center. Following the model Marian International Evangelization in Nazareth, we will build a theater and facilities for pilgrims and create multi-media programs, which help us live more deeply the Gospel and learn more about Marian apparitions around the world.
Let me share with you a prayer that I prepared for the missionaries on the 20th anniversary of our work in Rwanda:
Lord God, the Marian missionary community in Rwanda gives You thanks for the gift of sending us to the African continent.
On our coming to the Shrine of Our Lady, Mother of the Word in Kibeho, we want to perform the act of entrusting ourselves and to express our deep gratitude: My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord; The Mighty One has done great things for me (Luke 1:46-49)
In a special way we thank You for protection and a sign of Divine Providence during the difficult time of the fratricidal wars, for the Light of the Holy Spirit in fulfilling of our missionary service, and for strength in our daily toils. We thank You for the work of our confreres who began this service for the Congregation in Africa, and for the first native vocations.
Lord God, through the intercession of the Mother of the Word, we who continue their work now, ask You for the graces that we need. Shower us with new and holy vocations and grant that the charism of our Congregation, marked by the special love for Mary Immaculate, takes roots on the African continent.
Merciful Lord, standing with the Sorrowful Lady at the foot of the Cross, we ask You to forgive our shortcomings in loving our neighbor, our lack of trust in difficult times, and our little faith.
God the Father, having our eyes on the Handmaid of the Lord in imitation of our Founder, Fr. Stanislaus, and our Renovator, Fr. George, we entrust to You our entire future. We entrust each one of us into undivided possession of the Mother of the Word. May the One Who gave the Savior to the world make us a continuous gift to the Church in her mission of proclaiming the Gospel to all nations. Amen.
Kibeho, Rwanda, December 8, 2004-2014
Fr. Leszek Czelusniak, MIC
November 12, 2004
November 13, 2004
Fr. Seraphim Michelanko, MIC, and Dr. Bryan Thatcher