Kabgayi: The End of Patronage – Youth Camp 2023 and Blessing of the Newly Rehabilitated Basketball Court

By Emmanuel Twizeyimana

On Friday, September1,2023, the Patronage (youth camp) at the Oratory Scolasticat Don Bosco Kabgayi, which began on August1,2023, came to an end. The youth camp was organized with the theme “Children grow wise, gentle, and intelligent like Jesus.”

More than1,200 children, ranging from ages3 to17, participated and were instructed in a diverse range of activities. These included sports, catechism, languages, musical instruments, popular games, and politeness, among others.

The ceremony began with the Holy Mass, which was presided over by Rev. Fr. Raymond Bavumiragiye, the provincial vicar of AGL Province (Burundi, Rwanda, Uganda). Fr. Bavumiragiye also blessed the newly rehabilitated basketball court. The court was refurbished to provide young people with a safe and conducive environment for playing.

The closing of the Patronage was attended by Mr. Eric Bizimana, the Vice Mayor of Muhanga District in charge of Economic Development, religious leaders, friends of Don Bosco, ADMA members, and parents of the children. Mr. Eric Bizimana was also the chief guest.

He expressed his deep appreciation to the Salesians and the Catholic Church in general for their unwavering contribution in helping the government in preserving the welfare of the young people and calling on other partners to follow in the footsteps of the Church.

He said: “This Is a great opportunity because it helps to improve the education of young people in Rwanda. “On behalf of the Local Government, I would like to thank the Salesians for their contribution in providing education to children and young people especially the little ones and the poor.”

He urged parents to be more aware of their role in children’s education and to take advantage of the opportunities they have received from the church.

Mr Emile Rukundo, who spoke on behalf of parents, expressed his deep appreciation to the Salesian family for helping their children during the holidays.

He said: “This Is a great opportunity for children to learn.”

He added that the program protects children from bad habits and abuse and teaches them how to live with others.

He requested the Salesians to build a school in Kabgayi so that children could grow up in their hands at all levels.

The Director of the Don Bosco community in Kabgayi, Fr. Anaclet MUNYANKINDI, said the patronage, which began on August 1, is an annual event in all Salesian institutions, where during the annual holiday, brings together children between the ages of 3 and 17 and are taught various things to discover their talents.

“We planned for this event to last two weeks. However, as the days passed, the number of children kept increasing, so we made the decision to extend it to a full month. This time, we welcomed over 1,200 children daily. It was the first time we had received such a large number here in Kabgayi,” he said.

Father Munyankindi stated that the purpose of this event is to evangelize the young people and foster a closer relationship with God. He emphasized that it is not limited to Catholic children but also welcomes children who practice other religions and engage in prayer.

Rev Fr BAVUMIRAGIYE RAYMOND – provincial Vicar said that the first mission of the Salesians is to take care of the young people, especially the poor, abandoned and orphans, as Don Bosco did.

He expressed his gratitude to the parents who sent their children to the patronage and thanked the children for their hard work and the government’s tireless efforts in promoting the well-being of young people.

“A Salesian cannot be in a place without young people because it is their primary mission. We feel immense joy when we construct sports facilities and witness young people utilizing them,” Father Bavumiragiye stated. He further added, “This basketball court has been renovated specifically for the youth, ensuring that they can continue playing even during rainy weather.”

He encouraged parents to prioritize the well-being of their children, as it has become evident that many parents have failed to fulfill their parental obligations. He stated, “When we lose young individuals, the entire nation suffers.” The children were provided with the chance to showcase some of the knowledge and skills they acquired during the patronage program.

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