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The Southern Cross : March 2012
Page 10 March 2012 www.thesoutherncross.org.au The Southern Cross | news Burundian refugee and recently professed novice Brother Erick Niyiragira CP almost turned down a new life in Australia, fearing the move could deny him the chance of priesthood. "I had in mind that I would refuse to come to Australia because I thought I couldn't continue my vocation because of my language," says Br Erick. The 23-year-old migrant made his first vows with the Passionist Order on January 29 at St Paul of the Cross Church, Glen Osmond, and will spend the next three to four years working towards ordination. The African Catholic community, including the African St Francis Xavier's Cathedral choir, sang and danced at the Mass. Br Erick's parents and eight sisters and brothers were present at the ceremony -- a gathering Erick could not have fathomed seven years ago when he first arrived in Adelaide still searching for his lost father. The family was separated in 1993 when they literally ran for their lives from war-torn Burundi, in eastern Africa, to seek refuge north in Tanzania. Br Erick, his three brothers and his mother spent 12 years in a refugee camp clinging to the hope their father was alive. "I prayed a lot and I knew that Dad, wherever he was, might be alive...but not having any news for so long was difficult." It was only after arriving in Australia in 2005 that the family was able to initiate proper inquiries through the Red Cross into the location of their father who had been teaching in Tanzania all that time. "I couldn't believe it when we found him." The family was reunited five years ago and lives in Para Hills. Br Erick says his life helping the disadvantaged in the Tanzanian refugee camp alongside priests had inspired him towards a priestly life. He immediately began learning English from scratch upon arriving in Adelaide as a 17-year-old migrant. With the help of Croydon Park Parish Priest Father Maurice Shinnick OAM and parishioners, Br Erick graduated from Christian Brothers College, in the city, and in 2009 began studying a Bachelor in Theology after joining the Passionists, an order of religious men whose charism of the Passion of Jesus he can relate to well. "It's not about wanting to suffer, but to accept the crosses of everyday life and to understand our everyday suffering in the light of Christ and the light that comes after every suffering." FAMILY PRIDE: (L-R) Stella (13), Fred (21), Rose (mother, 42), Erick (recently professed with Passionist Order), Andre (father, 52), Omer (25), Mediatrice (12) holding Mugisha (18 months), Andre (19), Aimable (10), Chancelline (10). Burundian Brother's passion for Christ Are you being called to be a Passionist? "The Passion of Jesus is the Greatest Sign of God's Love." Saint Paul of the Cross (1694-1775) Who are Passionists? Passionist men and women are evermindful of God's love. They: - contemplate and preach the Passion of Jesus - live in a supportive community life-style - reach out to all in times good and bad - are at the forefront of the world's suffering - today's crucified- minister passionately the power of love Pope John Paul II said in 2000: "The death of Christ is the source from which you Passionists must draw your own spirituality in a very particular way: to love where it is most difficult to love." Since Saint Paul of the Cross founded the Passionists in the 18th century, they have grown into a family of priests, brothers, sisters and companions, serving in 59 countries throughout the world. Link to Australia at www.passionist.com or internationally at www.passionistworld.org Passionist Vocations, PO Box 179 Fullarton 5063 SA firstname.lastname@example.org www.cpvocations.com.au