Fr Valens is a Priest of Kigali Catholic Archdiocese in Rwanda. His home parish is Regina Pacis Parish in Kigali. During the Genocide against Tutsi in 1994, he lost his parents, siblings and many of his family members. Consequently, after surviving the Genocide, he was raised in the Orphanage then started studying in Nursery School. After that, other survivors from his family took him from the Orphanage, and he went on studying in the Primary School.
Graciously, after primary school, he was admitted to Saint Aloys Minor Seminary, where he graduated in 2009. From 2010 to 2019, he studied Philosophy and Theology in the major seminaries, respectively the Major Seminary of Philosophy Saint Thomas Aquinas and the Saint Charles Borromeo Seminary. He was ordained a priest on the 21st of July 2019 at the Regina Pacis Parish and was appointed as the Chaplain of Youth Ministries in the Saint Paul Parish of Gishaka. He is now serving and encouraging many people, especially the youth to come closer to Jesus.
Fr. Valens has joined the YouCAN WhatsApp group as a participant and regularly guides the prayers and contributes to the discussion.
When Jesus was risen, He appeared to his disciples, and entrusted to them the mission of going into the world, proclaiming the Good News (Mathew 28:19). That Good News should be carried by people who have been sealed by the power of the Holy Spirit; those who should be able to witness Jesus Christ. That is why the Risen Lord told them: “You will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea, and Samaria, and even to the uttermost part of the earth” (Acts 1:8).
So, as young adults, how could we witness Jesus Christ in our daily life, in our joys and hardships, in our time, in our successes and failures, and in our talents? Do you see how valuable you are! Are you ready to witness your Saviour in your ups and downs? Do you really see the necessity of witnessing the Redeemer in this critical moment of lockdown because of Covid-19 Pandemic? Absolutely, “YES”!
I say YES, because I have no excuse but to follow my Master! He who told us to take up his yoke upon us and lean on him … (Mathew 11:29-30). He is the one who told us that he will make us fishers of men if we follow Him (Mathew 4:19).
When I was still a child, precisely during the Genocide against Tutsi in 1994, I drunk from the cup of bitterness! I lost both my parents, dad and mom! I lost my siblings! Miraculously, I survived alone! Now I can summarize my storytelling as “From Orphanage to Ordination”. Was God there when my family was exterminated? Yes, he is the same God who didn’t hide his saving hand from me! Yes, he is the Powerful God who raised me from the ashes! Yes, he is the Loving God who anointed me to work in his vineyard. He appointed me for his service, he is encouraging me to be his witness!
Even in our darkest hour, God is still at work. After my ordination to priesthood, I was appointed as the Chaplain of Youth Ministries to Saint Paul Parish. But now, Covid-19 has been another challenge! Therefore, I asked God what I will do to witness Him, for I am stranded. But now I can witness Him through YouCAN! God is never late! Only, he wants you to believe in Him. You should dedicate all your life to Him because He is your stronghold. Don’t be afraid of witnessing Jesus, because every moment you get, is a gift from God to give thanks to Him for his wonders in your life.
Truly our Lord in concerned of every detail of our life. As a priest, I experience the unconditional love of our Saviour in the daily sacrifice of Mass which I offer. In doing so, I pray for all people, knowing that I stand in the place of many, the living and departed ones. The worth weapon of the evil, is the good. “Be not overcome by evil, but overcome evil by good” (Romans 12:21). Being a witness of Christ, is being truly healed. Actually, Jesus is the Wounded Healer! Since I united my wounds to his, I was able to forgive all of those who killed my family! That is why I serve my Lord, as a messenger of forgiveness, especially in the Sacrament of Reconciliation.
Furthermore, it is not the end! God will always watch over you. Once united with Christ, He will work and walk with you. He will lead and guide you. Jesus who knows you very well, wants you to welcome Him in your life, that’s the tremendous fact of being his witness.
Let us pray the Psalm 121: 1-8
“I lift up my eyes to the hills, where does my help come from?
My help comes from the LORD, the Maker of heaven and earth.
He will not let your foot slip, he who watches over you will not slumber;
indeed, he who watches over Israel will neither slumber nor sleep.
The LORD watches over you, the LORD is your shade at your right hand;
the sun will not harm you by day, nor the moon by night.
The LORD will keep you from all harm, he will watch over your life;
the LORD will watch over your coming and going both now and forevermore”. Amen.