Rwanda’s first cardinal lost seven members of his immediate family in the 1994 genocide. Now he is using his role as archbishop of Kigali to plant “seeds of peace” by promoting the family as the foundation for building a peaceful future.
Cardinal Antoine Kambanda made history when he received his red biretta from Pope Francis in the consistory on Nov. 28 as the first cardinal from the east-central African country.
“It was a great joy and I was thanking the Lord for this great grace for the Church in Rwanda and the country and Africa,” Cardinal Kambanda told EWTN News Nov. 30.
Immediately following the consistory, the 11 new cardinals present in Rome greeted Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI at the Mater Ecclesiae Monastery in Vatican City.
“He still has a very good memory,” Kambanda said. “When I was presented as the archbishop of Rwanda, he remembered Rwanda and he told me: ‘Your people suffered so much.’ It showed that he had a good memory of Rwanda and what took place in Rwanda, and he prays for us.”
Rwanda experienced a 100-day genocide in 1994 in which more than 800,000 people were killed as members of the Hutu ethnic majority took up machetes and turned on their minority Tutsi neighbors, friends, and colleagues.
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