Laying of the Foundation Stone of Saint Albert the Great Chapel, Nyagatare

Pose de la première pierre de la chapelle saint Albert le Grand de Nyagatare

The Master of the Order, fr. Bruno Cadoré layed the foundation stone for the building of Saint Albert the Great Chapel of the Dominican brothers in Nyagatare, in North-Eastern Rwanda. The ceremony took place on Sunday 12th March 2017, at the end of Mass in which about fifty people participated.

In addition to the Vicar provincial of Rwanda and Burundi, fr. Sixbert Hategekimana and the prior of St. Dominic’s priory, Kigali, fr. Benjamin Ngororabanga, the following were also present: the Dominican (Sisters) Missionaries of Africa (DMA) from the communities of Matimba and Nyabwishonwezi, the representative of the Mayor of Nyagatare District, the president of the parish council of Nyagatare, the architect and the contractor, and also the associates of the brothers in the apostolate.

Located at 152 km from Kigali, the capital of Rwanda, near the borders with Uganda and Tanzania, the new community of Nyagatare is a filial house of Saint Dominic’s priory in Kigali. The chapel of Saint Albert the Great, which will be completed in nine months, will have a capacity of 350 seats. It will serve as a conducive place for liturgical celebrations for the brothers but also the local and regional Christians who will come for retreat sessions at the Spiritual Center which the brothers plan to build in the third phase of the Nyagatare project.

In the Provincial Vicariate of Rwanda and Burundi, these conventual churches are important places of preaching for the brothers and presence of the Order in the local Churches of these countries. These conventual churches are often frequented by many faithful who come from many places and from different social categories, attracted by the substantial and well prepared preaching of the brothers. With time these conventual churches become very small and require expansion. The challenge for the brothers is not so much the requirement to properly prepare their preaching as the needs of the faithful demand, but to train these faithful, in a spirit of a domestic church. To make them evangelizers of their different environments of life, with a strong sense of belonging to the local Church. Far from creating small identity churches of the Dominicans of Kigali, Bujumbura or Nyagatare, cut off from the realities of the dioceses, the challenge of preaching for the brothers is in fact to serve the local Churches by highlighting the specific dimension of the family which is characterized by the Order and stress its communnal dimension.

Such will be the mission of St. Albert the Great Chapel of the Dominican community in Nyagatare. This new Dominican community in Nyagatare was opened on the 7th November 2015, on the feast of All Saints of the Order and the first day of the Jubilee Year of the 800th anniversary of the confirmation of the Order. The new community of Nyagatare is currently made up of four brothers of whom three are priests and one is a student brother. The Ordinary, Bishop Servilien Nzakamwita, Bishop of Byumba, has entrusted three main apostolates to the Dominicans: the pastoral care of university chaplaincy and intellectuals, pastoral care in secondary schools, and the pastoral care of families. The brothers also assist the priests of the only parish of the city of Nyagatare by serving six out of the 24 outstations of the parish.

Considering the history, religious and socio-political context of Nyagatare, the brothers have shown a lot of apostolic creativity. After the first phase of Nyagatare project, which was the opening of a new community, and the second phase, which is the construction of the chapel, the third phase will be building a social and cultural center with facilities for sporting activities for the integration of young people into a healthy social environment, and a retreat center to welcome retreatants from the region.

The laying of the foundation stone of the St. Albert the Great Chapel of Nyagatare was held during the canonical visit of the Provincial Vicariate of Rwanda and Burundi which took place from 6 to 14 March 2017.

fr Gabriel Samba,op


(30 March 2017)