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Burundi couples married at St. Leo the Great Parish

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March 16, 2011

CATHEDRAL DEANERY — Five couples originally from the refugee camps of Burundi were married during Sunday morning Mass March 6 at St. Leo the Great Church in South Fairmount.

 

Their relatives, parishioners, guests from other area faith communities and members of the larger Burundi community filled the church for the multi-cultural liturgy. Father Jim Schutte, pastor, celebrated the Mass. Father Dan Malingumu, a priest from the Tabora diocese in Tanzania who is currently studying counseling at Xavier University, married the couples in Swahili, one of the languages spoken in Burundi.

 

The Republic of Burundi is a landlocked country in the Great Lakes region of Eastern Africa. Angela Anno, pastoral associate at St. Leo, said that when the families came to Cincinnati from the refugee camps many of them settled in Millvale, about a mile from the parish. “One of the first questions they asked was ‘Where’s the nearest church?’” she said. “We welcomed them into our community.”

 

To help the Burundi families feel more at home at St. Leo, Anno said the parish has printing the Sunday Mass readings in Kirundi, their native language, and is encouraging their participation in liturgies. Donna Groene, a high–school religion teacher and volunteer catechist at the parish, has been providing sacramental instruction for the children. Father Malingumu worked with the couples and families on marriage preparation and the other sacraments. Because of the circumstances in the refugee camps, many of the couples could not be married there, Anno explained.

 

She described the marriage celebration as a “joyful, grace-filled event.” The Mass was followed by a reception featuring African food and music.

 

CT Photos by Colleen Kelley

 

 
Several of the brides and their witness, far right, pose for a photo. Two of the grooms participating in the ceremony wait to be married at St. Leo the Great Church in South Fairmount.
   
Samweli Ntirapeba and Yvone Hatungimana wait to be married at St. Leo the Great Church in South Fairmount.  Ernestine Mauirambona serves as a lector during the Mass.
 
Father Dan Malingumu, center, officiated at the marriage of Maria Juluryabake and Severine Manirakiza. Also pictured are Michael Halm, left, who served during the Mass, and Father Jim Schutte, pastor of St. Leo. Couples participating in the ceremony wait to be married at St. Leo the Great Church in South Fairmount.
   
   

 

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