Clerics call for more support of the vulnerable in New Year’s message

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Father Casimir Uwimukiza of St Michel church conducts Holly Communion during a church service yesterday. (All photos by Timothy Kisambira)

The public has been urged to offer opportunities to vulnerable members of society to improve their quality of life.

This was the message delivered by various clerics during New Year’s mass yesterday.

At St. Michel’s Cathedral in Kigali, clerics announced that the year 2015/16 is for ‘divine –mercy’ and urged the public to overcome the indifference that impedes support to various vulnerable groups.

Father Casimir Uwumukize, who presided over the mass reiterated Pope France’s message to pacify the world, support the vulnerable to overcome poverty to live independent lives and deepen belief in God.

“Let’s be worried and alarmed by what is currently happening in the world. We should not remain indifferent in the face of people dying of hunger, people being killed, prisoners, refugees, patients, orphans and more people facing serious sorrow .This means efforts and resources must be mobilised and coordinated to support and save them,” he preached.

He added that there is need for everyone to express ‘pity’ towards their neighbors as one of means to seek our own solutions.

This is possible when we embrace real Christianity, Good Samaritan spirit and enlighten those who do not know, he added.

Welcoming the New Year, Pope Francis said it’s time to end indifference and what he called “false neutrality” regarding the injustice, persecution, wars and misery in the world.

Celebrating mass in Saint Peter’s Basilica, yesterday, the Pope asked the congregation how it’s possible that the “arrogance of the powerful continues to demean the weak, relegating them to the most squalid outskirts of our world.”

The head of the Catholic Church also wondered how long human evil will keep sowing violence and hatred.

Meanwhile, Bishop John Rucyahana (rtd) of Shyira Diocese in Musanze District focused on rebuilding character and dignity among people in his new year sermon. 

“The theme of this year is about building, specifically building people’s dignity, uprightness and relationships. We need to join hands, as a collaborative team, in building church, families and community,” he said.

Bishop Rucyahana also added President Paul Kagame’s acceptance to stand again for presidency after his second term ends in 2017 was yet another source of joy as people celebrate the New Year.

“It’s a joy for President Kagame to be able to respond to the request of the nation,” Rucyahana said.

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 Father Casimir Uwimukiza of St Mictchell leads a mass yesterday. 

 What Christians said

Christians said while many people, nations, and businesses celebrate their successes and achievements in the past year, they should remember members who failed in different aspects and are living miserable life.

“I read and hear from media milestones by neighbours in the past year and setting goals for New Year but my feeling focuses on the poor who are still starving from hunger. We still have children suffering from malnutrition and families facing food shortages. We should together confront this as it could compromise prayer,” said Evode Ntawukuriryayo.

Robert Niyibizi, advised fellow Christians to foster peace to avoid conflicts and wars that are claiming lives and displacing people in various parts of the world.

“It is time that the world’s Christians mobilise support for refugees and pray for peace. Refugees have not enjoyed their festive seasons away from home,” he said.

Eugenie Niyonsaba said, “More patients are remaining in hospitals. They do not even feel New Year celebrations. It is a Christian’s responsibility to pray for them, support them both morally and physically.”

According to Josephine Nyirabahire, celebrating the New Year should go hand in hand with evaluating one’s commitment to God.

While enjoying and spending on luxuries society should remember the vulnerable, she added.

Prayers ahead of New Year had focused on the need for sustainable peace and humility in the country and the region, specifically highlighting the political deadlock that has left Burundi unstable since April 2015.

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The congregation follows prayers at St Mitchell yesterday.