Priest tells of sorrow and forgiveness in Rwanda

ST PATRICK’S College students have been given an insight into life in an African country by a visiting Rwandan priest.

Rwandan priest Father Emmanuel Nsengiyumva during his visit to St Patrick’s College on Thursday. 
PICTURE: LACHLAN BENCE

Rwandan priest Father Emmanuel Nsengiyumva during his visit to St Patrick’s College on Thursday. PICTURE: LACHLAN BENCE

Fr Emmanuel Nsengiyumva told year 9 students on Thursday of his extraordinary life, which has seen him survive the genocide that began in 1994 and go from an engineering career to the seminary. 

“I’m sharing two things: my sorrow, and my country’s sorrow; and the healing process that has helped my country,” Fr Emmanuel said. 

He is travelling Australia in a trip organised by the Catholic Church to fundraise for a new church in his parish. The old church has been converted into a shrine for those killed in the genocide. 

Fr Emmanuel, who would have previously been identified as part of the Tutsi group, said Rwanda was now a society united. “Those terms were introduced in 1932 by Belgium. They were for social classes, nothing more.” 

Melbourne diocese director Kevin Meese organised Fr Emmanuel’s trip and he said his story, 20 years on from the genocide, showed people could forgive one another for anything. 

“He’s here to engage Australians and show them people who have come from situations of extreme violence can find reconciliation.” 

Two of Fr Emmanuel’s brothers were murdered by Hutu forces.

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