Rev. Ubald Rugirangoga is Christus Theological Institute speaker Oct. 13

Tue, 09/20/2011 - 2:15pm

Mobile, Ala. – Rev. Ubald Rugirangoga, from the Center for the Secret of Peace in Rwanda, central Africa, is the speaker for the Christus Theological Institute Thursday, Oct. 13, 2011. His talk is titled “Genocide and Forgiveness” and begins at 7 p. m. in Byrne Memorial Hall on the Spring Hill College campus.

Rugirangoga is a member of the Tutsi population of Rwanda and a survivor of the 1994 genocide. He celebrated his 25th anniversary as a priest in 2010. In three horrendous months of 1994, when so many Hutus sought out and killed hundreds of thousands of Tutsis, 80 of Rugirangoga’s own family members and more than 10,000 of his church’s parishioners were killed.

“The genocide in Rwanda made, for me, many problems as a priest,” Rugirangoga said. “It was a challenge. I was asking myself, ‘Why have I been a priest to preach about love, and as the fruit, we have genocide?’” He knows well what it is to walk through the steps of forgiving those who have caused him pain. It started with his own Hutu parishioners who, whether for a moment or for months abandoned the message of love that he helped instill in them. He calls his experience his “cross to bear,” and he carries it with great conviction and obligation.

“To love one’s enemy is to make the decision not to get revenge for ourselves. That is the first step. Sometimes we think the other person must be the first to beg pardon. No, you must forgive first. Forgiveness comes first,” said Rugirangoga.

Rugirangoga is dedicated to carrying out what he believes is the mission God has given him – to help people suffering under the burden they carry from not forgiving, to forgive. He has traveled to the U.S. and to countries in Europe and Africa to preach.

The Christus Theological Institute is a grassroots consortium of Mobile Bay area churches joined in the quest to promote a deeper understanding of our Christian faith, which is housed at the College.

The event is open to the public. Admission is free for Christus members and $2 for guests.

For more information on this and upcoming Christus events, visit www.shc.edu/christus, or contact the SHC Theology Department at (251) 380-4458 or christus@shc.edu.