A few weeks ago, a friend of mine extended an opportunity to me to assist him with recording the documentary of a religious celebration in Rwanda. November 28, 2011 will mark the 30th anniversary of Marian apparitions in Kibeho in the early eighties. We will be accompanying Immaculee Ilibagiza, a survivor of the 1994 genocide, and author on books sharing her ordeal during the genocide as well as on the history of Our Lady of Kibeho.
If I found myself pondering for that which I might be especially thankful this Thanksgiving Holiday, I need ponder no more. I am so very thankful for this opportunity. More than just an opportunity to travel to, and experience a very remote part of the world; more than the opportunity to be working on the inside of something on a grand scale, I cherish most the opportunity for my own faith to re-emerge and possibly be fortified.
I was raised in a very Roman Catholic environment. I attended a Roman Catholic elementary school and secondary school. I was also an alter boy for a couple years. And, while not immediately following secondary school, I did eventually attend a university (undergrad and grad) with its roots in the faith and heritage of St. Augustine. Suffice it to say I had no place to hide from Roman Catholic influences.
In the years that have ensued, the path travelled by my faith and religious inclinations has encountered many twists and turns, ups and downs. It has been over a quarter century since anyone would rightly peg me as a devoutly practicing Catholic. Since my upbringing was so immersed in it, some parts of that faith will always be apart of me (the guilt component for one).
So, here I found myself handed an amazing opportunity to reconnect with a part of me that has been environmentally recessed. We leave the day after Thanksgiving and we are only in Rwanda for one week. I go with no expectations of becoming the lost sheep that returns to the herd, but rather with the anticipation of enjoying a life altering experience; and in so doing, visiting a place inside me of which I have not been to in a very long time and. I am certain to come home a different person than when I left. If anyone ever has such an opportunity to make such an inward journey, I might recommend it.
I look forward to providing some updates through this blog throughout the duration of the trip (to the extent internet connectivity permits).
For more about Ms. Ilibagiza’s amazing story, I invite you watch this 6o Minutes episode. Her website is www.immaculee.com.
Finally, I thank Patrick Dolan of Plymouth Filmworks for including me in this amazing journey and pilgrimage.
Thank you for reading. Have a Great Day and a Happy Thanksgiving!