Rwandan family moves closer to holiness through Catholic Church

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The Catholic Church concluded the report on the beatification and canonization of the Cyprien Rugamba family as blessed before finally becoming saints.

The report was presented to the church on Thursday week during a mass held at the Regina Pacis Catholic Church in the Gasabo district, led by Cardinal Antoine Kambanda.

The cause for the canonization of this family killed during the genocide against the Tutsi was opened by the Catholic Church on October 2, 2015.

Canonization is an official and definitive declaration of the Catholic Church and the Orthodox Churches, recognizing a person who has died as a saint. Canonization leads to worship of the saint on a universal scale, while beatification leads to worship in the specific diocese in which they lived.

Cyprien and Daphrose Rugamba were killed in the 1994 genocide, along with their six children and their niece.

The couple were known for their charities where in 1990 they created the Emmanuel Community and in 1992 they established a center in Kigali to feed and educate street children called CECYDAR.

During the mass, Cardinal Kambanda, who is also Archbishop of Kigali, said: “The Rugamba family was a light in total darkness, it was a light of love in times of hatred and the family promoted unity and love ”.

“The couple have been an example to many other people, where they have stayed together through difficult times and have chosen unity,” he said.

“We have witnesses and testimonies from people who knew them and it is through these testimonies and their undeniable good works in the community that we were able to compile the report. We would like the couple to be put in the category of ‘ blessed ‘who precedes holiness,’ he added.

The report will be delivered to the Vatican, the church’s world headquarters where further investigations will be conducted before the couple can be canonized.

Cyprien and Daphrose Rugamba are the first Rwandans to be chosen for canonization.

Who is Rugamba?

Cyprien Rugamba, one of Rwanda’s most famous legends, was the leader of a musical group called ‘Amasimbi n’Amakombe’.

He was known for songs such as “Ubuhanga Buhanitse”, “Urungano” and “Imenagitero” as well as other songs that are used today in the Rwandan Catholic Church.

Alongside his wife Daphrose, he was also one of the 2018 Unity Award winners, for having played an important role in promoting unity and combating discriminatory behavior by the genocidal regime.

The couple created a movement called “Emmanuel Community” aimed at promoting unity and peace among Rwandans.

Their initiative angered the former government, which led to their extermination along with their six children.

Rugamba’s family and some members of Amasimbi n’Amakombe were killed by the former presidential guards on April 7, 1994.


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