Bishop of Cyangugu forbids Christians from kneeling before statue of late Father Ubald Rugirangoga

By Esther Muhozi
On 15 January 2024 at 08:20

The Bishop of Cyangugu Catholic Diocese, Edouard Sinayobye, has issued a directive prohibiting Christians from kneeling before the statue of late Father Ubald Rugirangoga, who passed away in January 2021. Father Ubald was widely recognized for his healing prayers, unity efforts, and reconciliation initiatives.

The statue, crafted in clay, is situated on the hill known as the ’Secret of Peace’ in Gihundwe Sector, Rusizi District. It was unveiled on January 7, 2024, commemorating three years since Father Ubald’s passing.

Bishop Sinayobye emphasized that the purpose of gazing upon the statue is to evoke memories of the spiritual connection Father Ubald shared with Jesus Christ. This reflection is intended to inspire gratitude towards God, the creator of Father Ubald.

He stated, "Contemplating his image will serve as a reminder to everyone of the unity they share in Christ, encouraging them to express gratitude to God who created, gave him to us, completed his earthly journey, and called him. It also serves as a reminder to pray for him so that God may embrace him with His right hand."

The Bishop reminded the faithful that the statue should be treated with reverence, considering it a representation of a person created in the image of God. He declared, “Every human image reflects God, the creator of all things. It is, therefore, forbidden to show disrespect, destroy, or engage in any activities that would diminish its sacredness."

“It is entirely inappropriate to bow down to this image or engage in any behavior that attributes glory, reserved for God alone, the creator of all things. The statue of Father Ubald is a symbolic reminder for us to remember and pray for him. It does not signify his canonization as a saint."

Father Ubald gained renown for his healing prayers, with many attributing their recovery to his preachings. Bishop Sinayobye clarified that, despite his miraculous reputation, “He was not the one who saved them. Hence, it is not permissible to approach his image seeking miracles.”

Bishop Edouard Sinayobye of Cyangugu Catholic Diocese delivering a sermon during the unveiling ceremony of the statue of Father Ubald, crafted in Poland