Rwandan Genocide Survivor Spreads Forgiveness

(left to right): Father Dan Wilder , Elizabeth, Dr. John Freeh Father Ubald, Pastor Rick Warren,  Kay Warren, and Rwandan Bob
(left to right): Father Dan Wilder, Elizabeth, Dr. John Freeh, Father Ubald, Pastor Rick Warren (Saddleback Church), Kay Warren, and Rwandan Bob

By Sarah Gray Isenberg,

“Extreme horror requires extreme forgiveness,” boomed Father Ubald Rugirangoga in the JSerra High School gymnasium Friday.

The Rwandan genocide encompassed Rugirangoga’s childhood.

“I have never experienced a miracle before,” said Rugirangoga when asked how he survived the ethnic genocide after being forced to flee the killings. “I heard God’s voice in my ears, and he told me to run, to escape. So I did what he said.”

In 1963, Rugirangoga’s father was killed with his brothers and other relatives in one early wave of the genocide.

Rugirangoga and his family are Tutsis, an ethnic group that was historically victimized by the majority Hutus, an opposing Rwandan group.

“I have been subject to ethnic hatred,” he said. “My father was killed because of this hatred that exists.”

After his father’s murder, Rugirangoga’s mother labored in the fields to pay for his and his younger brother’s tuition for their religious schooling, and in 1984 Rugirangoga was ordained into priesthood in Rwanda.

However, the persecution was not over for the Tutsis.

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