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Empowering Faith: The New Direction for Burundi’s Pontifical Mission Societies

Rev. Juvenal Nzohabonayo’s Appointment Marks a New Chapter for Missionary Work in Burundi

In a significant development within the Vatican’s efforts to evangelize and support communities across the globe, Cardinal Luis Antonio G. Tagle, Pro-Prefect of the Dicastery for Evangelization, has appointed Rev. Juvenal Nzohabonayo as the National Director of the Pontifical Mission Societies (POM) in Burundi for a five-year term starting November 27, 2023. This strategic move, reported by Agenzia Fides on February 7, 2024, underscores the Vatican’s commitment to revitalizing the missionary zeal in one of Africa’s most devout regions.

Born in Bihanga in 1966, Rev. Nzohabonayo’s journey to this pivotal role has been marked by an unwavering commitment to faith, education, and community service. Ordained as a priest on August 15, 1999, he went on to enrich his theological foundation with a Master’s degree in Philosophy from the Catholic University of Abidjan between 2012 and 2015. His academic pursuit not only highlights his dedication to understanding the complexities of faith and morality but also his commitment to applying these principles in real-world scenarios.

Rev. Nzohabonayo’s pastoral and academic careers are noteworthy, having served as a parish priest in Makebuko and as an Episcopal Vicar from 2005 to 2021. Furthermore, his role as a Philosophy professor at the Major Seminary in Bujumbura since 2015 has positioned him as a respected figure in theological education, shaping the minds of future clergy members in Burundi. Since 2020, his leadership as the Diocesan Director of the Pontifical Mission Societies and the National Secretary for the Holy Childhood has demonstrated his capacity to inspire and mobilize the church community towards greater evangelical and charitable activities.

The significance of Rev. Nzohabonayo’s appointment extends beyond administrative changes; it heralds a renewed focus on missionary work in Burundi, a country where the Catholic Church plays a vital role in societal development and spiritual guidance. As National Director, Rev. Nzohabonayo is expected to spearhead initiatives that deepen the faith of the local community, support the needy, and extend the Church’s mission beyond geographical and cultural boundaries.

This new chapter in Burundi’s ecclesiastical history is not just about leadership transition. It’s a call to embrace a broader vision of mission and misericordia – mercy – as core elements of Christian witness. Under Rev. Nzohabonayo’s direction, the Pontifical Mission Societies in Burundi are poised to further their impact by promoting spiritual growth, social justice, and solidarity across communities, reflecting the universal Church’s commitment to spreading the Gospel through words and deeds.

Rev. Nzohabonayo’s past achievements and his current role underscore the importance of intellectual and spiritual preparation in fulfilling the Church’s missionary mandate. His extensive experience in pastoral care, academic teaching, and missionary work equips him with the unique insights and skills needed to guide the Pontifical Mission Societies in responding effectively to the spiritual and material needs of the people in Burundi and beyond.

In conclusion, the appointment of Rev. Juvenal Nzohabonayo as the National Director of the Pontifical Mission Societies in Burundi represents a beacon of hope and a testament to the Church’s unwavering commitment to evangelization and humanitarian outreach. It’s a reminder of the powerful role that faith can play in transforming lives and communities, especially in times of need. As Burundi and the wider global community continue to navigate challenges, the missionary zeal and compassionate leadership of figures like Rev. Nzohabonayo are more crucial than ever.



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