Forgiveness: The Secret of Peace is a documentary film on the life and work of Fr. Ubald Rugirangoga, a Catholic priest in Rwanda. In this film, Fr. Ubald shares his message of forgiveness as a pathway to reconciliation and peace, a message he has steadfastly shared with thousands of his fellow Rwandans in the aftermath of the unspeakable horror of their country’s 1994 genocide.
Hutu and Tutsi were living without conflict before the arrival of colonization. Hutu and Tutsi were recognized as a socio-economic class system. Conflict between both groups was the fruit of colonization.
Hostilities erupted in early April, 1994, when extremist Hutus began systematically slaughtering Tutsi men, women and children across the country. When the killing finally stopped 90 days later, over 1 million innocent Tutsis and thousands of moderate Hutus opposed to the genocide had been murdered in one of the bloodiest massacres of the 20th Century.
Before the genocide, Fr. Ubald, a Tutsi, was a young priest who oversaw a thriving, rural Catholic parish with thousands of faithful of all ages, Hutu and Tutsi alike. After the killing began, Fr. Ubald provided sanctuary for 45,000 Tutsi men, women and children on his church’s grounds. He was targeted for death because he was also Tutsi. Fr. Ubald was chased from his parish by Hutu parishioners who no longer wanted him to be their pastor. He sought shelter at the home of his Bishop.
Tragically, all 45,000 Tutsis at Fr. Ubald’s church were slaughtered once he was gone, and their Hutu executioners, most of whom were fellow parishioners of the Tutsi victims, redoubled their efforts to hunt down and kill Fr. Ubald. Devastated by the senseless loss of his Tutsi friends and parishioners, Fr. Ubald wanted to return to his church, knowing that doing so meant certain death. However, while deep in anguished prayer, God spoke to Fr. Ubald, telling him He had a special plan for his life. Heeding God’s words, Fr. Ubald escaped miraculously to the Congo and eventually to Europe where he was healed at Lourdes from his inner wounds of the Genocide.
That plan, Fr. Ubald now knows, is to bring FORGIVENESS, peace and reconciliation to the people of Rwanda through God’s WORD AND HEALING. For the last twenty years, Fr. Ubald has preached forgiveness as The Secret to Peace, helping to bring healing to literally hundreds of thousands of his fellow countrymen, both Tutsi and Hutu alike. As Fr. Ubald knows, everyone has been traumatized because of the Genocide, perpetrators and victims alike.
After the genocide was over and his country was at peace once more, Fr. Ubald realized he must return to his home country so he can help the people heal. Thus beginning his true reason in life: If the truth is not discovered, can there be forgiveness?
Throughout the documentary Forgiveness: The Secret of Peace, parallel stories about Ubald’s teachings of forgiveness and reconciliation are followed. Through his own examples of forgiveness and spreading The Word, Fr. Ubald guides a country from conflict to resolution. The film will depict the struggles and conflicts of victims getting over the trauma of what happened and opening their hearts to forgiveness, offering an end result of enemies coming together and experiencing true reconciliation.