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Rwanda is a small country in central Africa devastated by ethnic ideology . The last genocide occured in the world has been in that country in 1994 . More than 1 million people from tutsi ethny have been killed in 3 months by people from hutu ethny. It has been scandal for a country where more than 85% are Christians and 65% catholic christians.
I was pastor in Nyamasheke parish , Cyangugu Diocese ,when occured such genocide. About 45.000 people from tutsi ethny have been killed in that parish.Most of them were parishioners, others were fleeing from everywhere and when arriving in Nyamasheke parish where I was pastor, they were killed. This has been inner wound for a pastor. I had been 10 years in that parish, working hard, praying with parishioners and because of ethnic ideology they didn’t recognize me as their pastor during genocide time against people from Tutsi ethny. They wanted to kill me. I escaped miraculously.
I have been spiritually healed , free from inner wound at Lourdes, in Franz. I made decision to forgive and began to speak at about it and preach it as a way of healing.
With genocide perpatrated against people from Tutsi ethny occured in Rwanda, the perpatrators as well as the victims are closed. The key’s owner to open for the perpatrator of genocide is from the victim when he says to him ” I forgive you”. The key’s owner to open to the victim of genocide against people from Tutsi ethny is from the perpatrator of genocide to him when saying to him ” I beg pardon”. It was my conviction and it had to heal society from inner wounds after genocide.
I had to initiate that when pastor of Mushaka parish.
MUSHAKA PARISH PROGRAM
After jurisdiction Gacaca organised by ruandese government, those who made genocide against people from Tutsi ethny were known, they were with shame and inner wounds. The victims of genocide were suffering from inner wounds as well. Both were closed. They had to open to each other. They realized that each one using his own key to open. I preached retreats to them.
I began in 2009 by preaching to the victims of genocide against people from Tutsi ethny to forgive .They were with grieves saying that those who made genocide to them don’t want to beg pardon. I revealed to them that the key of begging pardon belongs to the perpetrators of genocide , that their own key to use as victims of genocide was to forgive . I promised them that I will help the perpatrators of genocide to use theirs also.
After the retreat of victims of genocide against people from Tutsi ethny , the second retreat has been to the perpatrators of genocide against people from Tutsi ethny. I showed them that they had to open to the victims of genocide against people from Tutsi ethny by begging pardon, that it was a way of getting healed.
The third one has been retreat to victims of genocide , perpatrators of genocide and rescuers of people from Tutsi ethny during genocide time. The rescuers were sign of that good one must triumph over the bad one. This retreat has been so fruitfull. In that retreat it had been made decision that the secret of peace after genocide perpatrated against people from Tutsi ethny is to forgive and to beg pardon. That is a way of healing.
Those who made genocide against people from Tutsi ethny had to get catechesis of 6 months and on the way they get pause , go and beg pardon in victims families. They go to them humbly and beg pardon, show mercy to them. They come again to go on with catechesis accompanied by the survivors of genocide to witness that they are no more affraid of them. The last month of catechesis, perpatrators of genocide together with victims, survivors of genocide against people from Tutsi ethny get instructions preparing them to the feast of forgiveness and reconciliation.
This pastoral initiative began in Mushaka parish and is spread in many other parishes ; it is a social healing.
Lastly I changed , instead of saying Mushaka Program which can’t be understood, I say “The Secret of Peace program “. I plan to build a center “The Secret of Peace Center”, Mushaka program will be included in that “Secret of Peace Program ” at Secret of Peace Center.
Fr. Ubald Rugirangoga
Director of the Secret of Peace Center.