, 25 October, 2019 / 2:12 AM
As Rwanda continues to recover from memories of the 1994 genocide that was characterized with, among other issues, bitter memories of complacency from various quarters, the Catholic Church in this Central African nation is preparing to look back at her activities over the past 25 years in regard to witnessing to peaceful coexistence, a Rwandan Church leader has announced.
"The Catholic Church in Rwanda wishes to look back on its progress towards unity and reconciliation," the President of the Episcopal Commission for Justice and Peace (CEJP) Archbishop Antoine Kambanda told journalists at a press conference in the nation’s capital, Kigali October 22.
“We want to celebrate these achievements and share with the rest of the world where we have come from and where we are today and consolidate what we have built further,” Archbishop Kambanda who is the Local Ordinary of Kigali Archdiocese added.
The celebration will be a three-day event, beginning from November 29 and will be guided by the theme, “Rwandans – friends of Rwanda – let us examine together the works of the Catholic Church in Rwanda," the Archbishop announced.
Some of the activities envisaged include a consultative dialogue to review the contribution of the Church in peace building, unity and reconciliation, an exhibition showcasing what has been achieved, visits to genocide memorial sites, and a national forum on consolidating peace, unity and reconciliation gains, the Archbishop outlined.
Explaining the relevance of the Episcopal Commission he heads to the celebration being organized, Archbishop Kambanda said, “The reconstruction of unity and reconciliation between Rwandans, with the aim of bringing peace and good coexistence between people, was the main task of the Episcopal Commission for Justice and Peace. And this mission is in line with the social doctrine of the Catholic Church.”
The announcement to mark the 25-year legacy of the Church in Rwanda has received commendation from the Executive Secretary of the National Unity and Reconciliation Commission (NURC), Fidèle Ndayisaba who has acknowledged the efforts of the Church in the process toward unity and reconciliation.
"NURC and the Rwandan government are proud to count the Catholic Church as a partner in the reconstruction of Rwandan society that was shattered by the genocide perpetrated against the Tutsis in 1994 to such an extent that, in the eyes of some, cohabitation seemed quite impossible," Ndayisaba said.
Specifically recognizing the Church’s efforts “in comforting victims and healing moral wounds through the teachings prepared for this purpose,” Ndayisaba noted, “In this area, the Catholic Church has done a lot to make coexistence possible."
ACI Africa was officially inaugurated on August 17, 2019 as a continental Catholic news agency at the service of the Church in Africa. Headquartered in Kenya’s capital, Nairobi, this media apostolate will strive to facilitate the telling of Africa’s story by providing media coverage of Catholic events on the African continent, giving visibility to the activities of the Church across Africa where statistics show significant growth in numbers and the continent gradually becoming the axis of Catholicism. This is expected to contribute to an awareness of and appreciation for the significant role of the Church in Africa and over time, the realization of a realistic image of Africa that often receives negative media framing.
Father Don Bosco Onyalla
Editor-in-Chief, ACI Africa