Twenty-fifth Anniversary of the Apostolate
of the Pilgrim MTA in Burundi
In 1986, the Schoenstatt Sisters of Mary and the Schoenstatt Fathers initiated the Apostolate of the Pilgrim MTA in Burundi. Unfortunately, the visits of the Pilgrim MTA to the people had to be discontinued because of the war in our country. Then in 1997, twenty-five years ago, the apostolate could begin again from the Schoenstatt shrine on Mount Sion in Gikungu, Burundi. The Apostolic Nuncio, Bishop Emile Tscherrig, a Swiss, blessed and re-sent the Marian images in Burundi.
A prayer vigil during the night
It was a great joy for the people from Burundi and the Congo who have received Jesus and Mary into their homes in the image of the Pilgrim MTA to make a pilgrimage in December 2022 to the Schoenstatt Marian Shrine on Mount Sion in Gikungu. About 10,000 people wanted to celebrate together the twenty-fifth anniversary of this apostolate! At 6:00 p.m. Father Longin Ntiranybagira celebrated a Mass of Thanksgiving with all of the participants. Afterwards a prayer vigil followed that lasted through the night. It included much singing, praying, and dancing. Father Longin gave a talk and many missionaries of the Pilgrim MTA gave testimonies about their experiences and about the “miracles” that have happened in their homes through the visit of the Mother of God.
That is a “miracle” also
Sister M. Lisette, who was present wrote in an email: “There were over 10,000 people present for this anniversary day. This is also a “miracle.” I spoke with the gentleman in charge of the night worship. He was the host for the whole night. His wife asked him: ‘Do you dare to be responsible for this large number of people all night?!’ He said in his dry way, ‘With the grace of God – yes.’ He said people behaved well. When there was prayer, they prayed. When there was a talk, they listened. When there was dancing, they danced. There were no problems that night. Their donations covered the expenses of the entire jubilee celebration.”
Clothing made of fabric prepared for the jubilee
The next day the participants went in a long, long procession to the Schoenstatt Marian Shrine on Mount Sion and to a huge pilgrimage church. There, in a Holy Mass they celebrated the twenty-fifth anniversary of the Apostolate of the Pilgrim MTA in Burundi. The General Vicar of the Archdiocese of Bujumbura, Monsignore Anatole Ruberinyange presided. In preparation for the great jubilee, fabric with the image of the Pilgrim MTA was sold. Thus, with pride and joy and interiorly united, many of the participants wore clothes made of this jubilee fabric!
Certificate of Faithfulness for twenty-five missionaries
After the Eucharistic celebration the images of the Pilgrim MTA were blessed and sent anew from the Schoenstatt Shrine. In a prayer, everyone expressed their willingness to continue to work for the Pilgrim MTA. During the festive meal in the Queen of Trust Center, twenty-five missionaries received a certificate for their faithfulness. They had dedicated themselves to the cause and had excelled more than others in the twenty-five years that the Apostolate of the Pilgrim MTA has existed in Burundi.