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Perpetual Profession of Brother Crescent and Felicien

22/10/2012: Rwanda

The 23rd September 2012 was a bright Sunday morning when the Sun rays threw its arrows to Byimana parish. Our two brothers: Crescent Karerangabo and Félicien Habiyaremye hailing from Rwabuye and Mururu communities respectively attracted people from the 1000 hills of Rwanda to come and witness their perpetual vows to follow Christ in a Marist way.

The church was full to its capacity and even, overflowed with young and old through its three entrances as everyone tried to glance so as to see what was happening on the Altar. The center of focus (Mass) was celebrated by father Jeremiah, a Dominican monk with other several co-celebrants. Moving hymns and chants were sung by the student’s choir of Byimana Science School, led Brother Valens Mushinzimana of Save community, as Brother Ndanga Spiridion coordinated in giving directions during Mass on Marist rituals.

At mid-day, Brothers: Crescent and Félicien, before the Provincial Valentine Djawu, freely and voluntarily proclaimed publicly to follow Christ, Chaste, Poor and obedient all their lives. It was indeed a moving solemn scene not only for the writer of this article but even to the outsider participants. One of the religious sounded closer to my ears saying: “your ritual is impactful”. To me, this shows the degree to which even a different person can sense the seriousness of oneself’s offering to God for a mission; because, it is not a “give and take game” but a life given freely for the Kingdom of God.

Receiving the crosses, they demonstrated that from then on, they accepted to carry on their shoulders till death all that it involves of being a servant of Christ in the footsteps of father Champagnat and others who have walked this way. Indeed “to become a brother is to become a Saint.”

While we sang and congratulated the newly finally professed brothers, the Provincial equipped them with two gifts: A prayer book signifying that they are called always to be men of prayer and a booklet for promoting vocations so that, like Peter, they may catch people for God. These two souvenirs remain significant in the long run in the life of a brother. For they bring happiness and quality-of-life results, based on the continual growth, search for and efforts to live congruently with these timeless, empowering truths.

Food was shared in accordance with our Marist traditions that “wherever I meet a brother, there I find my house… and we share our togetherness”. The day broke with people nodding their heads high saying, “it is good to be a religious” in which sense? I believe it was because of the whole truth their senses and hearts experienced, for experience is the best teacher.

Brother OMARI Thomas

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