[Province of Central Africa] During our Seminary we have had the joyful opportunity to prepare children for the Sacrament of Baptism and their Solemn Communion. Each Saturday we go to Mpungwe (a center of the Ngoma-Butare Parish) where we have spiritually accompanied more than one hundred thirty children to learn about the sacraments and to live their baptismal commitments; and we have been inspired to live our own.
In this work we have noticed that several children encounter difficulty when handicapped by their intellectual or spiritual education, especially ending their schooling because of poverty. We have discovered a new poverty: the lack of godparents for very poor children. It seems that the celebration of the sacraments is understood to be a heavy material burden (for example, clothing and the family party). So poor children get refused for fear that this burden rests with the godparents and there is no hope of having a family celebration. This leads the children to go to other religions and give up their religious education.
In some cases the families whose members belong to different religions do not understand. The child is preparing for Baptism, but towards the end it remains uncertain, no one encourages them, and they finally give up. There, we found that the basic family education is lacking. In Mpungwe there are many separated families or those experiencing conflict, which prevents integration of the educational elements of catechesis.
Despite everything, many children are thirsting to know God. They are motivated to take part in Catechesis and have a remarkable simplicity which facilitates their openness and sharing of their life. We thank God that we have been able to accompany these children in their journey of Faith.
“If I preach the gospel, this is no reason for me to boast, for an obligation has been imposed on me, and woe to me if I do not preach it!” (1 Cor 9, 16).
Sister Donatille and Sister Angélique