By Paschal Norbert
VATICAN, MARCH 14, 2023 (CISA)– The Catholic bishops of Rwanda have concluded their “ad Limina Apostolorum” visit to the Vatican that was scheduled between March 6 to 11, 2023.
The ad limina visit, which is an obligatory visit made by all active bishops to Rome during which they pray at the tombs of St. Peter and St. Paul, saw the Rwandan bishops meet Pope Francis on March 10, to discuss the state of the Catholic Church and evangelization in Rwanda over the past five years, Vatican’s Secretariat of State on March 9 and the Pontifical Council for Promoting New Evangelization on March 7, 2023.
According to Cardinal Antoine Kambanda, the president of the Episcopal Conference of Rwanda (CERP) and archbishop of Kigali, the visit is happening after nine years since they last visited Rome in 2014. He contends that there have been numerous developments in the Church such as the increase of Christians, members of the clergy both male and female, Christian families and parishes.
“Normally, we have a message to share with him during such a visit. As the church is expanding with new parishes and an increase of Christians, we need new dioceses. It is about learning how larger dioceses can be split to get closer to Christians even further. It is within our powers as bishops to establish new parishes but only the Pope can decide on the creation of a new diocese,” the cardinal said in an earlier report.
“We are grateful to God that we have a large number of young people willing to serve God not only through usual congregations but also newly created ones that still need the Catholic Church’s approval. This is among other issues to be discussed with His Holiness,” he said.
Cardinal Kambanda also disclosed that they held meetings with various Vatican dicasteries and departments including senior members of the Church’s hierarchy to discuss among other issues the process of canonization of the Rwandan couple, Cyprien and Daphrose Rugamba.
“We have God’s servants Cyprien Rugamba and Daphrose Mukansanga and children. We requested to have them named venerable. The Pope’s office in charge is reviewing it. We will discuss with them the progress and when to expect an answer,” had said.
Cyprien and Daphrose Rugamba were a devout Catholic couple who introduced the Catholic Charismatic Renewal and the Emmanuel Community to Rwanda in 1990. They were alongside their children assassinated in the Rwandan genocide of 1994.
In 2015, Cyprien and Daphrose Rugamba were declared “heroic in virtue”, giving them the title Servants of God and marking the start of the formal process toward their canonization.
The definitive purpose of the ad limina visit, which is a quinquennial visit is the strengthening of the bishops’ responsibility as successors of the Apostles and of their hierarchical communion with the Successor of Peter, the pope.