Report by Sister Mariette Macozi, for the Kinshasa community
Following the announcement of Sister Bijundi’s appointment to Bukavu, we were looking for a simple way to say goodbye. The conditions being right, we combined her farewell with the celebration of her 50 years of religious consecration as MSOLA.
The small number in our community was not an obstacle for us to mark this important day for our sister. Given the limited space available to welcome a large number of guests in our home, we approached our brothers the Missionaries of Africa to welcome us to their home for this important celebration. Once we had obtained their agreement, we asked their young people to help us lead the mass. Many people responded positively to our invitation. We had initially asked Father Ange Kufwakuziku, SVD (Director General of the organization for the Reclassification and Protection of Street Children – ORPER) to preside at the Eucharist on August 12. The evening before, our brothers announced the presence of Monsignor Willy Ngumbi, Bishop of Goma. He was delighted to join us for the celebration, as a “worker of the last hour benefiting from the same graces”.
With his presence, presiding over the Eucharist was non-negotiable; however, our original celebrant had the privilege of delivering his homily, which he had carefully prepared. Friends and acquaintances came out in force to surround our jubilarian and her family members with affection. Neighbors, workers and a strong delegation from the parish were also present at the mass. Our brothers, the Missionaries of Africa were there in force!
Thanks to the contribution of each of us, everything went smoothly: the chapel was beautifully decorated by our sister Suzana, with the support of Francine, a friend of the community, and our aspirants. The liturgy was well animated by our young theologian brothers. After the homily, our jubilarian renewed her religious commitment, a way for her to place herself in God’s hands for the rest of her journey. A dance of thanksgiving followed to express our joy.
At the end of the Eucharistic celebration, Bijundi took the floor to introduce herself to those who didn’t know her.
In her words, she emphasized the discipline she inherited from her family, especially from her father who was a soldier, the place of prayer in her life, which has its roots in her family upbringing, the love of the community expressing her sense of belonging to her religious family, and the faithfulness of the Lord who has always accompanied her on her path as a missionary.
When Bishop Willy took the floor, he was quick to point out the motivational role our Sister Bijundi played at the start of her vocation journey as a Missionary of Africa, especially for her joy of living in an international, multicultural community.
Before the final blessing, we joined our brothers, the Missionaries of Africa, in singing the Sancta Maria to implore Mary’s intercession to her Son for Bijundi’s continued missionary commitment. After mass, our guests and our sister of the day moved into the beautifully decorated main hall, where we shared a delicious meal prepared for the occasion. It was a festive atmosphere.
It was truly a great joy to be able to surround our Sister Bijundi in her thanksgiving for her 50 years as MSOLA. Thanks be to the Lord who has enabled her to reach this day and to have a positive impact on the people she has met throughout her missionary life.