FR. UBALD'S STORY
Fr. Ubald Rugirangoga was a Roman Catholic Priest for 36 1/2 years in the Cyangugu Diocese of Southeastern Rwanda. He passed away on January 7, 2021 due to lung damage from Covid-19.
Cyangugu is situated very closely to the Congo and Burundi borders on picturesque Lake Kivu. During the 1994 genocide Fr. Ubald lost over 80 members of his family and over 45,000 of his parishioners were exterminated. He escaped through the Congo on foot in the middle of the night. When he left Rwanda at that time he made a promise to his Bishop that he would return to bring healing to his people. He spent 3 months in Belgium during the genocide at which time he said that he cried every day. After a trip to Lourdes where he heard Jesus tell him “Ubald, carry your cross,” he felt a release from the burden of his sorrows and knew he was called to preach healing, forgiveness and reconciliation.
Fr. Ubald had a beautiful healing gift and his focus was on healing and evangelization wherever he went. He heroically modeled forgiveness by not only forgiving in person the man who ordered the murder of his mother, but also by making arrangements to take care of his destitute children. There are many documented cases of physical healings, spiritual healings, healings in relationships and emotional healings through his prayers. It was not uncommon for him to do a healing service in his country where anywhere up to 60,000 were in attendance.
The Government of Rwanda sought him out for advice on forgiveness and reconciliation as the country continued to rebuild after the devastation of the genocide. Up until his passing, he continued to preach healing, forgiveness and reconciliation. He traveled all over Europe, the Holy Land and other parts of Africa. He made his first trip to the United States in 2009, at the request of Immaculee’ Ilibagiza, author of “Left To Tell, “ another genocide survivor, who currently resides in the US.
Fr. Ubald, with permission of his Bishop, had a vision to build a center of healing and reconciliation that would minister to the people of his diocese, Rwanda, and the surrounding areas of Burundi and Congo where there has been so much war, poverty and trauma. He also saw the center becoming a source of spiritual inspiration and education for international visitors. The center sits on a beautiful piece of property overlooking Like Kivu. The Secret of Peace Board and Staff are ensuring the maintenance of the current infrastructure at the Center while making plans to expand its physical plant and activities in line with Ubald’s vision.