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Rwandan genocide survivor spreads forgiveness message in Shreveport

Fr Ubald 03 with Fr Peter.jpg
St. John Berchmans

The Cathedral of St. John Berchmans Church in Shreveport is hosting a Roman Catholic priest from Rwanda who will speak about forgiveness during weekend events. Rev. Ubald Rugirangoga lost 80 family members to Rwanda’s ethnic strife, beginning in 1963 with his father’s murder. He says more than 45,000 of his parishioners were killed in the genocide. Today, Rugirangoga is invited to speak around the world about how he has been able to forgive the killers and find inner peace.

“People think it’s too much, too many people," Rugirangoga said, in reference to the 1994 ethnic bloodshed between Hutus and Tutsis. “When I am in America, I speak about how to help people to love one another, even if there’s no genocide here.”

St. John Berchmans Rev. Peter Mangum visited Rwanda last summer, home to Rugirangoga's Center for the Secret of Peace. Mangum said tens of thousands of people have made pilgrimages there.

“There are thousands of accounts of physical healing, and who knows how many of spiritual healing. I even witnessed murderers of people's families who stood next to survivors and heard words of forgiveness,” Mangum said.

Shreveport resident Lauren Cryblskey heard Rugirangoga preach two years ago in Zachary, La. At the time, she said, she was undergoing treatment for cervical cancer. Today, she’s cancer free.

“He came up and put his hand on my shoulder and said 'You are healed. You are healed.' It was a sense of peace and just happiness,” Cryblskey said.

Rugirangoga will hold a prayer service Feb. 23 at 1:45 p.m. at the Cathedral of St. John Berchmans. He will also speak Feb. 24 at 9:45 a.m. on his 11 points of forgiveness.