21st Anniversary of the Murders of Three Missionaries

On Saturday, October 1, 2016 we went on Pilgrimage to Buyengero Burundi where our confreres, Fr. Ottorino Maule SX and Fr. Aldo Marchiol SX, were killed on September 30, 1995. It has been 21 years since their martyrdom along with Katina Gubert, a volunteer lay woman from Italy.
As usual, this year, we have celebrated the memorial of their martyrdom by having a Pilgrimage to Buyengero. The parish was founded by father Ottorino Maule on September 7, 1991 when he arrived in Bururi diocese.
In the Eucharistic celebration presided by the Bishop Venant Bacinoni of the Diocese of Bururi, there were five Xaverian priests and fifteen diocesan priests. Five of our young students in Philosophy were also present. Some Christians and a good choir took part in the liturgy. Some pastoral agents, soldiers, police and administrative officers were also with us.
In his homily and some other speeches, the Bishop insisted on the courage of the three martyrs. He said that twenty one years after their tragic death local people continue to appreciate their fidelity to God’s Mission and their true love for God’s people in Africa.
Burundi is still suffering from the same causes that brought about their death. Yet there is hope that the example they set will bring about peace, respect for the life and dignity of people from various origins.
Fr. Mario Pulcini SX, Provincial Superior of the Burundi Xaverian Region personally thanked the Bishop for always being present at all pilgrimages in twenty years.
Buyengero has become part of our life, our story and our way of evangelizing. For us, Buyengero means to forgive no matter how deep we have been wounded. Buyengero will remain our Parish forever. Geographical distance will never separate our missionary spirit from this place where love and faith continue to be witnessed so strongly through the presence of those three missionaries of charity and forgiveness in African land.
In these difficult moments we are living in Burundi, we know that relatives, friends, parents, and confreres all over the world are accompanying us spiritually with faith and gratitude for the great example Ottorino, Aldo and Katina set within the Catholic Church. When we recall the past, we are always touched emotionally and we get new strength in our missionary endeavor. We are renewed and we improve our capacity to forgive and to love.
The Pilgrimage went well because local people have fixed a dusty road by putting on it some gravel. Even though there was rain we travelled without any problem. The Eucharistic celebration was prayerful but afterward priests, nuns and administrative authorities had something to eat and to drink while other people had to go back home in the rain without joining the sharing of a meal.
I wish that everywhere the Gospel is proclaimed everyone would share not only words and songs but also whatever God’s kindness continues to bestow to all creatures. I believe that the sharing of prayers and material goods can bring about peace and reconciliation in the world and particularly in Burundi.
Indeed, poverty is becoming rampant in this country. The international community strives to solve Burundi’s problem through the sharing of power. We need to share material goods as much as possible because people who seek power and strive to keep it for too long do so in order to enjoy material goods selfishly. Worldwide generosity may bring about peace and reconciliation.
Fr.Mario Pulcini, SX and Fr. Gabriel Basuzwa, SX
Fr Mario is the Superior of Burundi Xaverian Region; Fr Gabriel Basuzwa has been working in Burundi since 2010 at the end of his Cross-Cultural Studies at CTU, Chicago, Illinois, USA.

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