Prime Minister Dr. Pierre Damien Habumuremyi has urged members of the Roman Catholic Church to join the rest of the country in efforts to fight against poverty.
He made the call yesterday while addressing thousands of church members who had gathered in Kigali to celebrate the 100-year jubilee of Sainte Famille Parish.
“Christians should be empowered to be self-reliant for the church to avoid being a place for illiterate and needy followers. You all know that preaching to hungry people wouldn’t bear fruits,” he said.
The Premier said that even though the government supports development projects, the church could be involved in teaching its followers how to boost production for their subsistence and for the market.
He advised the church to use its various prayer groups to start cooperatives and work to eradicate social inequality within the community.
Mixed record for Sainte Famille
With now 26,143 members, Sainte Famille Parish was founded by White Fathers in December 1913 and it became the 10th parish of the Catholic Church in Rwanda.
The Archbishop of Kigali, Thadée Ntihinyurwa, said in a sermon yesterday that the church followers need to take note of both the bad and good things that Sainte Famille had gone through since its inception.
“For a century, the parish has done a lot of things in education and social affairs. Do you remember for example, that the university teaching hospital CHUK was first owned by this parish since 1913? It became a government property later,” he said.
“We should congratulate ourselves on whatever good we have achieved, but we should also apologise for any instances where things went wrong”.
What especially went wrong at Sainte Famille is the fact that some people missed the hope they were expecting from the church during the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi.
The church is one of the places where thousands of Tutsis were killed during the Genocide and some of its priests conspired in the killings.