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“O taste and see that the Lord is good”

Rev Arsène Mafurebe reflects on his visit to Ireland.

 

Straddling 5 weeks across April, May and June, CMSI and the wider Church of Ireland have benefitted from the presence of Rev Arsène Mafurebe. Joining us from Gitega Diocese in Burundi, Rev Arsène has brought insight, energy and a different perspective on how we do things here. He is helping us see with fresh eyes our part of the global church.


His visit has been sponsored by the Council for Mission with the objective to offer learning opportunities for us and for our Burundian partner. So far, Arsène has given us plenty of food for thought! During his stay, he has been sharing his observations and reflections with us on the staff team. It seemed fitting, therefore, to broaden his reach. Why not pop a few of Rev Arsène’s thoughts into a series of blogs for folk to read?


The first weekend he arrived, Arsène hit the ground running. Hosted by Rev Colin McConaghie, secretary for the Council for Mission at Castleknock parishes, Rev Arsène took part in a confirmation service with Archbishop Michael Jackson.


With Rev Arsène's consent, we invite you to enjoy these brief observations on the Church in Ireland.


Reflections on Kildare Cathedral visit

Greetings Jenny, I pray you are doing great. I have had a very beautiful and busy day! I was able to visit and encounter children’s ministry (Kildare school has children from 33 different countries) and an elderly ministry (Trudy is a 94 years old Lady, lay reader, who incredibly loves the Lord and who still runs a Bible Study in her home... the youngest member of the band is 79 🤣😁).

When invited to join Discovery Gospel Choir’s rehearsal, Rev Arsène saw this youth and urban ministry as “an incredible outreach initiative in the midst of Dublin that creates a feeling of belonging in the hearts of these many young people, some Christians and others not, presenting to them the Gospel in a musical envelope”.

 

Isn’t that a terrific metaphor? Christ’s message gifted to those listening in a “musical envelope”. Just beautiful!

 

Seeing our heritage sites as tourism evangelism, Rev Arsène shared about St Brigid’s Cathedral: “St Brigid’s is an amazing and old Cathedral, full of history and heritage – the church is using this site as a centre of mission! With an estimated attendance of above 20 thousand visitors every year, the centre of mission use tourist visits as an opportunity for Gospel proclamation”.

 

What a wonderful way to perceive the opportunities that tourism offer us here on our history-laden island.

Rev Arsène also told us that he visited St Brigid's Light Peace Centre, “a Catholic nuns’ peace centre that provides a safe space for pilgrimages and reconciliation in a post-conflict country and context”. In the light of his own context in Burundi, this was particularly interesting for him to experience.

 

Each time we hear from Arsène, we are encouraged. His ability to see opportunities for mission here and appreciate what people are doing in various places renews our energy. Those who are faithful in that long walk in the same direction are to be treasured – Rev Arsène sees this. Reaching out through music and tourism, inviting people into our Holy places are opportunities to bear witness to God’s faithfulness over the centuries – Rev Arsène appreciates this. The ways in which communities are pilgrimaging after God in quiet but profound way – Rev Arsène celebrates this. We have much to thank him for as his eyes help us to see ourselves anew, as God sees us – as precious, faithful and loved.






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