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Mass for Our Lady of Kibeho

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People dance at the end of Mass for Our Lady of Kibeho at St. Matthias Parish. CT PHOTO/GAIL FINKE

Today is the Feast of Our Lady of Kibeho, but the Winton Wyoming Pastoral Region celebrated the feast before Thanksgiving: 

The two-hour Mass for Our Lady of Kibeho at St. Matthias the Aspotle Parish Nov. 18 took place in “Kairos time,” said Father Lambert Ulinzwenimana.

The Greek term means, among other things, when time seems to be suspended in a holy way. And indeed, though the Mass extended beyond a typical Feast Day in North America with two processions, a blessing with water, songs from three choirs, brief remarks, and time for dancing, the Mass didn’t seem to stretch out in time but to be removed from it.

Father Lambert, who is from the region of Rwanda where young teen girls saw Our Lady of Kibeho (the only approved Marian apparition in Africa), celebrated the Mass for her feast day with two priests from Ghana, Fathers John Amankwa and Dominic, and Deacons Dominic Hoang Vu and Matt Skinner. It was the third year he has held this Marian Mass for the Winton Wyoming Pastoral Region, where he is Parochial Vicar. A Ghanian choir, the Pastoral Region choir, and a large Rwandan choir sang throughout the Mass, which was attended by people from all three parishes in the region and beyond.

As he or she entered the church, each person was given a colored rose. Before Mass Father Lambert explained that the seers saw people as flowers, and Our Lady calls us all “to be beautiful flowers of all different colors, beautiful flowers of God.” He invited all to process into the church with their roses, following a statue of Our Lady of Kibeho brought back from Rwanda. A copy of the statue at the Kibeho Shrine, it is the only one like it (he said) in the county.

In a second procession, all presented their flowers to Our Lady to be placed together into one vase. Before the final prayer, Father Lambert explained that in Africa that is the customary time to sing and dance in thanksgiving, and he invited all to join him in dancing. About half the congregants came to the front of the church to sway back and for to an African song of thanksgiving before the final blessing.

The day ended with a feast, but before it began Father Lambert explained that three seminarians from Rwanda (two of them serving at the Mass) were studying to be priests for the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, and that he hoped more seminarians and priests will come in the future. He told region parishioners that a small copy of the statue is available for them to take home to pray a novena. And he welcomed visitors who traveled from Columbus, Dayton, and Tennessee for the celebration.

Our Lady of Kibeho’s feast day is Nov. 28; she is known as “Our Lady of Sorrows” and asked the young girls she appeared to to pray and promote the Chaplet of the Seven Sorrows of Our Lady in reparation for the sins of the world. For more about the devotion, click here. For more about the apparitions and messages, click here.



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