Priestly Ordinations in the Provincial Vicariate of Rwanda and Burundi

Rome, December 16, 2020

Two Dominican friars were ordained to the Priesthood in the Provincial Vicariate of Rwanda and Burundi, Province of Canada. They are Father Olivier Kwihangana, OP, a Rwandan, ordained on October 17, 2020 in the Chapel of St. Albert the Great House, Nyagatare, Rwandan; and Father Désiré Bizimana, OP, a Burundian, ordained on November 15, 2020 in Dominican Friars Chapel, Bujumbura, Burundi. Their ordination initially scheduled for August 8, 2020, in Bujumbura (Burundi), was celebrated separately because of the covid-19 pandemic.

Bishop Servilien Nzakamwita, Bishop of Byumba Diocese in Rwanda, who ordained Friar Olivier Kwihangana, emphasized in his homily that Fr. Olivier was not elevated to the sacrament of order because he would be someone extraordinary but that he could, however, become so through his dedication to the service of the salvation of humanity for the glory of God.

Fr. Raphaël Manikiza Uwineza, OP, Vicar Provincial of the Vicariate of Rwanda and Burundi, congratulated the newly ordained priest and thanked those who had taken part in the ordination. He advised Brother Olivier to take firm steps as a priest, to stay in proximity to the faithful and to have synergy with all the brothers as well as all involved in pastoral activity in a spirit of consultation and solidarity.

Ten priests, especially diocesans, and lay faithful were in attendance. The family of Brother Olivier and friends of Dominicans were there to rejoice with the brothers. However, many other people could not make it because of the restrictions on movement due to the pandemic.

During the ordination in Bujumbura, the ordaining prelate, Bishop Gervais Banshimiyubusa, of the diocese of Bujumbura, in his homily, urged Friar Désiré Bizimana, to use the various gifts that God gave him for the salvation of God’s people with a predilection for the poor. The Bishop further exhorted him to use the various gifts received from God to walk in the footsteps of some of the great Dominican figures like Saint Thomas Aquinas and Saint Albert the Great whose feast was celebrated the same day.

In attendance were Bishop Evariste Ngoyagoye, the Emeritus bishop of Bujumbura, religious and diocesan priests, Dominican nuns from Rweza, members of the Dominican family from Burundi, family members of Brother Désiré, friends of the Dominicans. Unfortunately, the Dominican friars from Rwanda including the Vicar Provincial could not make it because of covid 19 restrictions.

In his vote of thanks, Father Désiré thanked God for his ordination. He thanked various people who played a significant role in his religious life including his parents, the Dominican friars, the Dominican Choirs as well as Radio Maria Burundi, for being instrumental to his knowing the Dominicans and for walking with him in the footsteps of Saint Dominic throughout his formation.

Submitted by: Fr. Ezéchiel Rivuzimana,OP and Fr. Callixte Habonimana,OP

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