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Rwanda’s Cardinal Says Eucharist Key to Unity, Reconciliation amid History of Genocide

Antoine Cardinal Kambanda during an interview with EWTN News on 28 November 2020. Credit: EWTN News

As the Church in Rwanda celebrates the 52nd International Eucharistic Congress, Antoine Cardinal Kambanda has underscored the value of the Eucharist in the landlocked Great Rift Valley East African nation, saying it is key to unity and reconciliation as Rwandans recover from “our history of Genocide.”

The Eucharist, Cardinal Kambanda has been quoted as saying, “is a source of love, unity and reconciliation because in our country, in our history of Genocide, love was destroyed. Love that Christ gave us as heritage to be brothers and sisters who love one another.”

In the Thursday, May 27 report by The New Times of Rwanda, the Cardinal further says, “We should recover this love for unity and reconciliation in the Eucharist as a source of love.” 

He highlights the value of the Eucharist in his country saying it is “a source of unity and reconciliation that we need as Rwandans.”

Cardinal Kambanda explains, “When we share the body of Christ, we become one body as members of one body. Because the body has different members who do not look the same but united to make it one body. They complete one another.”

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The Cardinal further recognized the Eucharist as “the core of the heritage of love that Christ gave us. This love is proved by the way Jesus sacrificed himself on the cross.”

The May 27-30 Eucharistic Congress is being held under the theme: “The Eucharistic is the source of Unity, Reconciliation and love.”

It comes at a time when Rwanda is commemorating the 27th anniversary of the 1994 Genocide.

In the May 27 news report, the Archbishop of Rwanda’s Kigali Archdiocese is quoted as saying, “The congress manifests the importance of the Eucharist in the life of the Church because the Church lives by the Eucharist; it is the Eucharist that gives the Church life.”

Cardinal Kambanda who has been at the helm of Kigali Archdiocese since November 2018 further says, “Christ died for us so that we can overcome hatred, divisionism so we become one family, one body and brotherly love.”

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The Congress, he says, “is already being celebrated in Parishes with adorations; where Christians pray in front of the Eucharist, do processions where possible with respect to social distancing and other COVID-19 prevention guidelines.”

Celebrated every four years, the Eucharistic Congress is an international gathering of Clergy, Religious, and Laity to bear witness to the Real Presence of Jesus in the Eucharist. 

The 52nd Eucharistic Congress that had been scheduled to take place in September 2020 in Budapest, Hungary was postponed to September 2021 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.