Next Friday, September 18th, at 3.00pm in the Cathedral of St. Michael in Kigali, Archbishop Thaddeus Ntihinyurwa of Kigali will chair the opening of the cause for the canonization of Cyprien and Daphrose Rugamba and the Mass of thanksgiving.
Cyprien and Daphrose were assassinated on 7th April 1994, the first day of the genocide in Ruanda. They had a few years previously founded the Emmanuel Community in that country. The couple’s reputation for holiness throughout the country impelled the Emmanuel Community to request the opening of their cause for canonization.
Led by Laurent Landete, the Moderator of the Community, a small international delegation, including brothers and sisters who had participated from the start in the adventure of the Community in Ruanda and in other places in neighboring countries, will celebrate with our many brothers and sisters in Rwanda this important event in the history of our Community.
We suggest that you join in this important event in a Community fashion in your Provinces and wherever you live. You could do this on Friday or during the following weekend. Pray especially for this cause, for Cyprien and Daphrose and their children, and for the Community in Ruanda and Africa.
The following day, Saturday 19th, and on Sunday 20th, our brothers and sisters in Ruanda will celebrate a jubilee weekend in joy the 25 years of the Community in Ruanda, founded in Kigali on 22nd and 23rdSeptember, 1990. Let us join in with their prayer and their joy.
Cyprien (1935-1994) and Daphrose (1944-1994) came from the same parish in the south of the country. After two and a half years in seminary, Cyprian continued studying history in Burundi and in Belgium. He worked in senior management. An acknowledged specialist in Social Sciences, he devoted much of his time to poetry, music and choreography. Daphrose became a teacher. She later gave her time to her children. The couple married in January 1965 but experienced major difficulties in their marriage until the conversion of Cyprian in 1982 – for which his wife prayed ardently. From that moment they became a couple where love, tenderness, sensitivity and complicity were visible to all. The testing of their marriage and the healing action of conversion gave them particular strength in evangelizing African couples. They lived a life of intense faith in the charismatic renewal and in prayer groups. They showed compassion especially for sick people and street children. They encountered the Emmanuel Community in 1989 through Fidesco during a visit to Paray-le-Monial. Back in their own country, they started a household (a weekly sharing group). The first Community Weekend took place on 22-23rd September 1990. The Emmanuel Community in Ruanda was born. At the time of their death three years later, the Community had a hundred members in Ruanda. Today there are 1,000.
Their pacifist attitude and the public statements of Cyprian denouncing the calls to violence and the mention of ethnic groups on identity cards in a climate of growing civil war, placed the Rugamba couple on the list of important persons to assassinate. They were killed on the first day of the genocide in their house with 6 of their 10 children.
We pray for the beatification of the Servants of God, Cyprien and Daphrose.
Let us always have, like them, a ceaseless zeal for Adoration, a heart burning with love for you and an active compassion for all who suffer.
Help us to give of ourselves, without counting the cost, in the service of evangelization of families and of the poor.
In communion with Cyprien and Daphrose, we especially entrust to you couples who experience marital difficulties and those who struggle to forgive their enemies and we ask you to make of us instruments of peace.
Through the intercession of the Servants of God,
we dare to ask you, if it is Your will,
the grace of … (a prayer is expressed)
Lord, grant us the peace and the grace that we ask for in faith.