Burundi’s young Catholic digital apostles learning to be online influencers of the faith.

More than 100 young people in Bujumbura, Burundi’s capital, have been learning all about online evangelisation through the diocesan communication office.

Innocent Adovi – Vatican City with Dieudonné Niyibizi – Bujumbura.

In Burundi, an official ceremony dedicated to online evangelisation and digital influencers of the faith in the Archdiocese of Bujumbura took place this week at the Cercle Saint Michel. Nearly 100 young Catholics met under the theme “Digital Influencers of the Faith.” The meeting was both online and in presence.

Baptised and sent for mission on the Internet

The Bujumbura sessions included learning about the foundation of the Christian mission and the Sacrament of Baptism. Father Léonidas Nayuburundi, a Xaverian missionary, encouraged young people to revitalise the gifts received through the Sacraments of Christian Initiation. Father Dieudonné Niyibizi, the Director of the Diocesan Communications Centre, extolled the benefits of online evangelisation for the glory of God and humankind’s salvation. Participants also watched some motivational video messages. The teaching events culminated in the celebration of the Holy Eucharist.

Encouragement from the Dicastery for Communications

Monsignor Lucio Adrian Ruiz, Secretary of the Dicastery for Communication, contributed via video message. He began by saying that it was with great joy that he had learned of the initiative in the Archdiocese of Bujumbura.

He then invited the young people of Burundi to be courageous and creative for the sake of the Kingdom and the Church. Notwithstanding economic, technical and organisational limitations, many of their “companions await the joyful message of Jesus; they want to hear it as they seek an existential hope in their lives,” said Monsignor Ruiz. He also made allusions to the importance of digital communications as the Church works towards being more Synodal.

Young people are the Church of today

Associate professor of Catholic Studies at DePaul University, researcher and Coordinator of the African Catholicism Project, Father Stan Chu Ilo, also took part in the Bujumbura gathering. Speaking to the young people, he recalled Pope Francis’ words that “young people are the Church of today, not the Church of tomorrow.” He then asked the young people to consider that the Church belongs to them, too, and that God is always at their side. Congratulating them on their efforts “to make Burundi and Africa a better place,” Fr Chu prayed, as did Saint Paul, “that the Lord, who began the good work within you, would see it continue till completed.”

Other speakers included Sister Leonida Katunge and Father Pascal Mwambi.

The young people of Burundi already have a WhatsApp Group, “Digital Influencers for the Faith.” It has over One thousand registered members. The Group was set-up with the collaboration of many other young people on the African continent who are involved in online evangelisation.

Burundi’s digital apostles seem resolute, committed and ambitious.