Three African priests from Burundi took the stage first: Father Ildephonse Niyongabo, Father Pasteur Manirambona and Father Marc Bigirindavyi.
The first told how he entered the seminary in 1992, shortly before a civil war broke out in his country. Troops invaded the minor seminary in Buta where he was engaged in his formation.
"I remember that on April 29, 1997, the adversaries entered our seminary," Father Niyongabo recalled. "We wondered, how we should behave?"
He continued: "We thought of staying united. They began to shoot at random. We remained united and that day I lost my brother along with others."
"They wounded me and I got under the bed," the priest said. "All of a sudden there was a great explosion -- a grenade had been thrown next to us."
He said: "They continued to shoot. In the midst of this hell my companions were dying, saying: 'God, forgive them for they know not what they do.'
"The rest began to treat the wounds of the others, risking death."
Father Niyongabo admitted that after this incident he experienced an interior battle, and began to wonder if it was necessary to be a priest to be a good Christian.
Then the rector of the seminary asked him to teach there, where he felt called again. "I entered the major seminary and became a priest in 2004," the presbyter concluded.
Friday, 11 June 2010
Year for Priests: more testimonies
ZENIT have posted a report of a meeting for priests which took place on 10th June: Clergy share testimonies on stage. The report includes accounts of three of the testimonies given and, if you are familiar with the charisms of the new movements, you will recognise in them the spirituality of unity of the Focolare movement.