Rwandan priest Fr Emmanuel Nsengiyumva will visit 14 Catholic dioceses around Australia throughout May and June to share, as a survivor, his personal insight into the horrific 1994 Rwandan genocide and promote Catholic Mission’s ‘Heal the broken-hearted’ appeal.
Coinciding with the 20th anniversary of the genocide, Catholic Mission’s appeal focuses on the incredible work of the Catholic Church in Rwanda in helping people heal, forgive and unite following the genocide.
Arriving on May 14, Fr Emmanuel will speak at schools, parishes and donor events about his role as a key facilitator of this remarkable healing process, and of the inspiration he has drawn from both God and those who have already found the strength and courage to forgive.
Fr Emmanuel was an 18-year-old seminarian when up to one million people were brutally massacred in the genocide.
Losing two of his brothers and seeing so much pain and confusion around him caused him to second-guess his calling.
However, thanks to the love of God, he was able to move forward in the difficult journey of healing and forgiveness, and re-enter the seminary again 10 years later.
“When I became a priest, the effects of the genocide elevated me to a level of being one of the channels that God has to use to heal his people,” Fr Emmanuel said.
Catholic Mission deputy national director Peter Gates said Fr Emmanuel’s visit is being met with great anticipation.
“It is a rare privilege to welcome Fr Emmanuel to Australia to share his story with us,” Mr Gates remarked.
“Most of us recall the horrific events of the genocide but many are unaware of the incredible process of reconciliation which is currently taking place, largely facilitated by the Catholic Church.
“It is very exciting to have Fr Emmanuel join us as we launch the ‘Heal the broken-hearted’ appeal, which highlights this transformation.
“Fr Emmanuel knows well the deep emotional wounds of his community, and the enormous challenge of forgiveness his people are faced with.
“He has been a strong proponent of unity in Rwanda, and his story of the past 20 years is truly remarkable. It is one we are very much looking forward to him sharing with us.”