by Fr Raphaël Katanga, SDB
The ceremony was honored by the presence of three bishops: the archbishop of Kigali, Msgr. Thaddée Ntihinyurwa, who presided at the Eucharist; Msgr. Anaclet Mwumvaneza, bishop of Nyundo, and Msgr. Marko Semren, auxiliary bishop of Banja Luka, in Bosnia-Herzegovina. Also present were Fr Camiel Swertvagher, the Provincial of the "Great Lakes Africa" Vice Province (AGL) - which includes Rwanda; Fr Pejo Orkic and Fr Ivan Sibalic, respectively Provincial in charge and appointed Provincial of Croatia (CRO) - Province that has greatly contributed to the building of the church; and many other Salesians and priests, faithful and young people who attend Salesian centers.
At 10:30 local time the long procession began from the old building long used as a church to the front of the new church, where Msgr. Ntihinyurwa symbolically cut the ribbon.
The consecration of the church followed different phases: the blessing of the altar, of the tabernacle, of the lectern, of doors and windows and of the external and internal walls. Then, after the litany of saints, the relics of Blessed Aloys Stepinac, archbishop of Zagreb, Croatia, cardinal and martyr, were placed on the altar. These rituals were followed by the anointing with Holy Oil and incense of what had previously been blessed with holy water. Then, after covering the altar, a long procession brought various gifts, up to the last: a large monstrance, also a gift from Croatia.
In the homily of the Mass, Msgr. Ntihinyurwa gave thanks to God for the gift of this church and emphasized the need for the church in the community and the link between the community and that place of "ineffable grace" that each church constitutes.
At the end of the celebration, a number of people spoke to express their joy and gratitude for the consecration of the new church - built moreover in a very short time. Also honored, the Croatian Salesian Fr Danko Litrićto whom the Provincial and his Council entrusted the mission to follow the construction of the church and to seek the necessary funds. "She did it all," he replied with Danko, quoting Don Bosco and dedicating his thanks to Our Lady.