Healing the broken-hearted in Rwanda
‘He heals the broken-hearted, and binds up their wounds.’ (Psalm 147:3)
|Rwandan Fr Emmanuel Nsengiyumva is in Australia this month to support Catholic Mission’s ‘Heal the broken-hearted’ campaign.|
During a morning tea in St Patrick’s Cathedral Hall on 19 May 2014, Rwandan priest Fr Emmanuel Nsengiyumya shared his personal journey of loss and reconciliation in the 20 years since the Rwandan genocide.
Father Emmanuel is the Parish Priest of Nyamata, a small town located about 30km south of the capital of Kigali, which experienced some of the worst horrors of the genocide that claimed as many as 1 million lives.
Catholic Mission is working in partnership with Fr Emmanuel to support the community of Nyamata as they build a new church to help restore life to their community.
Young Emmanuel was born in Kigali; the fifth of six children in a family he describes as “not rich, but not too poor”.
He was mid-way through his studies in the St Vincent Minor Seminary in Ndera when the genocide took place, devastating the nation and closing the school for a year.
Emmanuel lost his two brothers in the genocide. He recalled his pain and confusion at that time: “Trying to choose my path, but trailing behind such a horrific background.”
He delayed entering the Major Seminary and went to university where he studied electromechanical engineering. Following completion of his studies Emmanuel felt that, thanks to the love of God, he had reconciled with the wounds and confusion he experienced after the genocide and had moved forward in the difficult journey of healing and forgiveness.
Emmanuel finally entered the St Thomas Aquinas Major Seminary in Kabgayi in 2004 and was ordained to the priesthood in 2011.
He knew his purpose immediately: “When I became a priest, the effects of the genocide (on me) elevated me to a level of being one of the channels that God has to use to heal His people.”
Father Emmanuel now devotes himself to helping the community of Nyamata to move forward in its healing process, firmly believing that, with the help of the Catholic Church, the Rwandan people can continue to forgive, heal, reconcile and unite.
He said there was hope of greater reconciliation between perpetrators and survivors, who are all “children of God”.Father Emmanuel said he was merely carrying out God’s mission in Nyamata: “Fortunately, the one who chose me is the one who knows my weakness: He will do His own mission through me, provided I let Him. This is my inner will and my everlasting task.”
For further information on the appeal visit www.catholicmission.org.au/rwanda
To watch the campaign DVD, visit www.catholicmission.org.au/rwandadvd
To download a copy of the parish appeal kit, visit www.catholicmission.org.au/churchappeal2014
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