Father Ndekwe, Rwanda’s eldest priest laid to rest

On 23 March 2021 at 10:32

Father Charles Ndekwe, the eldest priest in Rwanda who has been serving in Kabgayi Diocese was yesterday laid to rest.

His burial was preceded by a requiem mass held at Kabgayi Cathedral.

Father Ndekwe breathed the last on Thursday 18th March 2021 at the age of 96 succumbing to natural cause.

Ndekwe was among longest serving priests. He was ordained priest in 1956. Father Ndekwe has been a priest for 65 years and was the 120th Rwandan to be ordained priest since evangelization came to Rwanda in 1917.

The requiem mass was led by the Archbishop of Kigali Diocese, Cardinal Antoine Kambanda along with other Catholic Church Bishops including Vincent Harorimana of Ruhengeri Diocese, Smaragde Mbonyintege of Kabgayi, Philippe Rukamba of Butare Diocese and Anaclet Mwumvaneza of Nyundo Diocese.

It was also attended by other clerics including nuns and priests as well as relatives, friends and former students of late Father Ndekwe including former Prime Minister and Senate Chairperson, Bernard Makuza.

Mourners described late Father Ndekwe as a courageous and honest person who always lived by moral virtues that characterized him during his service as a priest for 65 years.

The Bishop of Kabgayi Diocese, Mbonyintege said that the church loses a devoted Christian who easily mixed in the society and helped everyone seeking his support or advice.

“We are gathered here for the loss of our colleague. The church loses a righteous priest who served God, lived in harmony with the society and outstandingly remained devoted to his calling. He dedicated time to hear everyone seeking support, and gave them essential life tips that no one returned bare hands,” he said.

Kagaba Appolinaire, the brother to later Father Ndekwe who also represented his family described Ndekwe as a person who remained faithful to God and expressed hope that he has gone to God’s safe hands.

“We have no doubt that his soul has gone to Heaven. He smoothly carried out his duties as a priest that his calling has been a gateway for many to know God,” he noted.

Bishop Philip Rukamba, the Bishop of Butare Diocese and the President of the Catholic Episcopal Conference said that the church loses a pivotal and honest priest.