The Shrine project of our Lady of the Scapular

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Burundi - Rwanda
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The Shrine project of our Lady of the Scapular
Published by Fryderyk Jaworski, ocd in The Reg. Vicariate · 9 February 2021
Tags: ShrineJubileegift
The Project of the Shrine of our Lady of the Scapular in Musongati – Burundi
Vital need of the Shrine and its reasons
In 2018 year the OCD Regional Vicariate in Burundi and Rwanda took an important decision to build the Marian Shrine of  our Lady of the Scapular in Musongati (some 170 km away from Bujumbura). Before coming back to the country I knew about this  decision and it made my heart really happy. Actually, I had been thinking about it for a long time. The reason is very simple: the Carmelite Church of our Lady of the Apostles in Musongati has been attracting so many pilgrims for decades and it deserves to have an appropriate welcome structure much more suited to the needs of the faithful who flock here from all the country.
On the other hand, the fact of delegating me for the realization of that project dampened slightly this enthusiasm. It is true that basically the main motive of this project was clear and crystal to me. Obviously it was a real and burning need to create more appropriate welcome structure for the pilgrims in Musongati. This was, sincerely speaking, so important and  necessary work to be done. My fear was much more founded on the lack of experience of pastoral work with pilgrims in the shrine. It was a real mental and spiritual challenge for me and I saw many obstacles on the way. However, thanks to the cooperation with the local community of the Carmelite Fathers of Musongati and two or three “obligatory pilgrimages” to the Marian shrines in Burundi in order to collect some ideas, with God's help, my doubts have been “overcome”.

Modest launch of the project works
It is been over a month since the first preparations started. With an engineer Mr. Philbert NIBITANGA, who was a responsible for the Bujumbura Formation House project, we managed to create a plan of an exterior Chapel with an altar. Let us call this chapel just Sanctuary, which is the first and the most important element of the planned expansion of the Shrine. And when we use the word Shrine we mean the whole welcoming structure in Musongati. The sanctuary will be dedicated to the main patroness of our Carmelite Order: Our Lady of the Scapular. It will be the heart of our Marian Shrine in Musongati.
The main reason for the construction of the Sanctuary is that so many people come to Musongati for the annual pilgrimage on the occasion of the celebration of our Lady of Scapular (from 4,000 to 5,000 people). The capacity of the existing local church is from 600 to 700 people. That is why the outdoor celebration of the Mass and other important events as the first Saturdays of the month must be done outside of the Parish church. .
The Sanctuary to commence
The Sanctuary (a planned exterior chapel) provides for a simple structure consisting of a sheet-roofed area on a metal truss (sitting capacity up to 800 people inside) and an area outside the roof (tribune), stone-cement brick benches) up to 1600 seats. Outside this area, a developed and relatively free space is planned, allowing a large number of participants to participate in the Eucharist and all kind devotional events. We are convinced that there is no real need to build a stand for 4,000 or 5,000 pilgrims, because in a such high number they gather only once a year.
The roofed area provides for a minimal structure: a sacristy, two small storage rooms, two bathrooms, an oratory (with a tabernacle installed inside) and a meeting room (each of them accommodating approximately 80 people). Local stone, brick and cement will be used mainly for the construction of the exterior chapel, in laying the floor and for the construction of benches.

Long-term prospects for the expansion of the Shrine
The task of each place of worship, and especially Shrine, is to enable the faithful and pilgrims to meet God and strengthen their faith, hope and love, and sometimes even completely rebuild their own soul sanctuary, so that after going back home, they might worship God in the spirit and truth, as requested by very Jesus. Let me list some of them giving only some relevant details about them:
·                    A modest dormitory, designed especially for mothers with children, the elderly or the sick who come to the Shrine.
·                    Conference room serving both the parish and shrine needs. It will be a relatively simple technical construction with small facilities such as a warehouse, storage for cleaning agents and equipment, toilets.
·                    Reorganization of the existing parish offices and apartments with the addition of an annex to the existing monastery.
·                    Gate and concierge leading to the Shrine.
·                    Fence: initially from a hedge, cypress with elements of masonry or hard fencing. Maybe someday, ultimately, a solid brick wall.
·                    Parking at the sanctuary
In addition, a whole range of smaller investments aimed at making the shrine area more conducive to the prayer of not only mass groups of pilgrims once a year, but also the prayer of smaller groups and individual pilgrims. These investments can be carried out simultaneously, as far as possible and with the available financial resources.
·                    Marking out paths in the shrine according to the map of planned investments below.
·                    Grotto of Our Lady of Lourdes.
·                    The Space of Mercy with a large figure of Merciful Jesus and smaller figures of St. Faustina and St. John P. II, an advocate of mercy, confessionals.
·                    Our Lady of Scapular corner with Blessed Isidore Bakanja, martyr of the scapular of St.
·                    Reconstruction of the Way of the Cross
·                    St. Teresa of the Child Jesus corner in company of her canonized parents as a Exemple for the married couples.
·                    Rosary stations.
·                    Planting bushes and trees around the sanctuary and establishing lawns.

Photo 1. The existing Way of the Cross in the sanctuary area Photo. 2. Place for the field altar of Our Lady of the Scapular.
Hopefully I didn't go too far with my desires and planned elements of the Shrine in Musongati. Obviously, it is a long-term project but I am sure that, if only this project pleases God and his holy Mother, it will carry out this project.
It is worth to be noted that the increasing number of pilgrims in Musongati is not the merit of the Carmelite Brothers working here since 1973, but it is a proof of the effective grace of God and the special blessing of our Lady of Scapular. So, consequently, the implementation of this project also depends on the great grace of God and the openness of many human hearts.
To conclude I would like to share with you one story. Recently I asked Fr. Alois, chaplain of the Shrine of the Sacred Heart of Jesus in Muyaga, the cradle of Catholicism in Burundi, about the company that built the shrine that he is responsible for, he replied: Father, the shrine is not built by a company, but by the Holy Spirit. I admit that for several seconds I did not know what to answer to such a text message. Then the Word of God has come to my mind and enlightened me: Unless the Lord builds a house, those who build it labor in vain. Unless the Lord protects the city, the keeper keeps watch in vain (Ps 127). One more time I had to admit that everything is grace!
With this uplifting word of the psalmist I would like to end this short letter of description of the project in Musongati. I would also express my sincere gratitude your time consecrated to read this message. I promise to keep you in touch and to inform you on the ongoing works and progress of the project.
I would like also to ask you for prayers for this project. Any eventual donations may be sent to the account of the Mission Office with the annotation: MUSONGATI SANCTUARY. If you would like to specify the donation for one of the above-mentioned elements of the shrine Grotto of our Lady of Lourdes, please give its name abbreviated. For example, MUSONGATI SANCTUARY - GROTTO. I would like to thank you from the bottom of my heart for your prayers and financial support and I ask that the Lord bless you abundantly and His holy Mother protect! Be blessed by God and become a blessing to others!

Carmelite Mission Office

ul. Rakowicka 18, 31-510 Kraków - Poland
Name of the bank: BNP PARIBAS
USD Bank Account: 82 1600 1013 1844 4951 0000 0006
EURO Bank Account: 55 1600 1013 1844 4951 0000 0007
Or directly to the Burundian Bank :
Name of the bank: BCB
Account owner: Jaworski Wieslaw S.
USD BANK ACCOUNT: BI42200011310102054931000319
EUR BANK ACCOUNT: BI42200011310102054931001677

I would like to thank you from the bottom of my heart for your prayers and financial support and I ask the Lord and his holy Mother bless you abundantly! Be blessed by the Lord and become a true blessing for others!

Fraternally with prayer
Father Fryderyk Jaworski, ocd
Responsible for the Shrine project in Musongati
Bujumbura, 14.02.2021
N.B: Responsible for the implementation of the Musongati Shrine project: Fr. Fryderyk Jaworski, ocd
Email address:; WhatsApp: +257 611 951 29
Information on the implementation progress can be found on the website of the Burundi Rwanda Vicariate:

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