Jubilee 2000 Search


Centenary of Evangelisation

On 22 November 1997, the solemnity of Christ King, the Catholic Church of Burundi began the jubilee celebrations to commemorate the first centenary of the country's evangelisation. In a message addressed to priests, religious and all the country's faithful, the Bishops recall that the preparations for the Great Jubilee of the Year 2000 coincides with the memory of this historic event, but takes place «at a time of great difficulty and unprecedented crisis». «Many of our citizens - the Bishops say - see no way out of this crisis; some are discouraged and desperate due to the misery and the disappearance of dear ones; others do not see where their salvation will come from. Many are scared; others, shaken by disasters, no longer trust anyone».

After having urged the faithful to overcome discouragement, the Bishops invited them to look at the future with serenity, recalling that «Christ defeated death and gives life to all those who believe in Him». Having placed our hope in the living God, the Bishops add, «we remain united with God and among us, in such a way that this Jubilee year will be the occasion for a new breath for our Church and our country».

After recalling the beneficial effects of evangelisation in Burundi, such as a better knowledge of God, more fraternal relations among men, priestly vocations, peace and fraternity, the Bishops address the obstacles still faced by the word of God in the country. «There are - they write - Christians who voluntarily belong to armed groups, who kill and commit all kinds of violent acts; Christians who have destroyed houses and looted other peoples' goods, Christians who have spread slanderous voices, provoking hatred and massacres. And there are many other crimes committed by Burundians who declare themselves Christians». To contrast this sad reality, the Bishops urge the construction of the country's future «in peace and harmony, through the various changes that Burundi has experiences and continues to experience», and linking the Christian doctrine to local cultural traditions. One hundred years are a short time in the life of the Church, and «the word of God is always new and timely», the Bishops write, and commit themselves to lead the faithful during the jubilee year to progress all together in the faith to Christian commitments, especially in three fields: prayer and attention to the word of God, strengthening of the fraternal spirit and of solidarity, development of the Church's initiative for the reconstruction of the country on new bases.