MY MEMORIES ON GITARAMA PARISH
- By Joseph Sehorana
- On 22/07/2020 at 19:20
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Gitarama Parish is located in South Central Rwanda, Muhanga District, Cyeza Sector. The Parish originated from the Bishop’s idea and plan to extend the Diocesan missionary activities in Muhanga Town. Before starting Gitarama church, we had no church in Muhanga town (the parishes that were close to the town were Shyogwe and Gasharu only). Gitarama parish started its activities under a small tent in 1996 with few families-one being the Pastor’s family (Rev. Joseph IYAKAREMYE).
When I arrived in Gitarama, the parish had 4 chapels (Gitarama, Gatenzi, Musumba and Kivumu) located in two (2) Sectors: Cyeza and Shyogwe of Muhanga District. Munazi chapel was born later in 2009. Gitarama parish had almost 500 Christians.
I came to Gitarama towards the end of 2006 (September). I was assigned to the Musumba, the chapel which was founded around 1946 and which was other time an extension of Shyogwe parish. In fact I was never directly responsible for the chapel. I was there to help the catechist and sometimes I assisted the parish pastors. In Musumba I worked (in different times) with TUYISENGE Aphrodisse, Jean Paul SEBERA and Mrs. NYIRAMBONIMANA as catechists. Gitarama parish was headed by Rev HATEGEKIMANA Joseph.
Musumba Chapel had some opportunities but also several difficulties. One of the opportunities is that the chapel already had enough land for its expansion. Some of the challenges I encountered there include:
- Reduced numbers of Christians-the chapel had approximately 40 active believers-many were elderly who did not easily understand the new strategies of evangelization adapted to the current situation.
- The chapel had no church building-we met in a very small and old house. After a while, with the support of the parish, we managed to build four classrooms to help the children of the region. Unfortunately, the government permission could not be obtained and the premises remained vacant. So we decided to turn one of these classrooms into a place of prayer.
I arrived in Musumba in 2006 and left in 2012 when the parish pastor assigned me to Gatenzi chapel where I worked from 2012 to 2013. Gatenzi is also an old chapel that started around 1946 but which has not seen real growth. When I was posted there, Gatenzi had barely fifty Christians who met in the open air because there was no church building. There, also I was not the direct leader of the chapel-I worked with Claude NTAKIRUTIMANA who was the permanent catechist. One of my successes in Gatenzi is the temple we started to build. It was completed in 2019 by Rev. Jean Pierre Methode Rukundo (Currently Bishop of Karongi Missionary Diocese). When I left Gatenzi in 2013, I was assigned to Rugobagoba. After few years, I returned to Gitarama and for this time I was sent to Munazi, the newest chapel founded in 2009.
Munazi Church is located in Kamonyi District, Cyeza Sector, Kivumu Cell. The Church originated with the idea and plan to extend Gitarama Parish missionary activities. In 2009, Kivumu Chapel of Gitarama Parish organized an evangelization camps in Munazi and surrounding areas. Preachers visited many families one by one. Home prayers have been organized. The church started in the family home of one of the new believers. When the number increased, people meet outside in the parcel that was slow to the church by one of the believers. People who evangelized Munazi in the first place are: Rev. MUTIMURA Jean Berchimas; Mr. NTARINDWA Viateur (Catechist); and other senior believers of Gitarama Parish.
Some Munazi newly converted were persecuted by their families. However, it is also important to note that many people have been cured of different diseases. On 22/02/2010, Christians of Munazi bought a plot to build the church building. Since 2013, the Christians of Munazi have given themselves body and soul to build the house of God and proclaim the Good News of Jesus Christ! When I was sent to Munazi, a lot of work was already done on the construction of the house; but it lacked all the finishing work (paving, plastering, windows, hinges, rainwater management, hygiene facilities, etc. With the 100 Christians of the chapel and the support of the Diocese I am delighted that we were able to almost complete the construction.
I arrived there on May 02, 2018 and left in June 20019. When my departure was approaching, the Bishop came to celebrate with us the completion of the temple and named it “St Paul Church of Munazi”-it was June 02, 2019. In Munazi, I worked with two catechists: NIZEIMANA Damascene and Grace UWAMAHORO.
My journey in Gitarama parish has been good and successful. It was there that I got married and was ordained deacon and pastor. I worked with five Pastors: Hategekimana Joseph, Mutimura Jean Berchimas, Alfred Habumugisha, Rukundo Jean Pierre Methode and Charlotte Mukamwiza. All of these pastors have been very important for my pastoral career. May they receive my thanks!