Catholic Church in Rwanda


Until 1900, Rwanda was part of the huge missionary territory of Equatorial Africa, erected on 24th February,1878 by Pope Leo XIII who entrusted it to the Society of Missionaries of Africa (White Fathers) founded by the Cardinal Lavigerie in October1868. The latter arrived in Uganda in February 1879 to found a mission which will give birth, in 1883, to the Apostolic Vicariate of Victoria-Nyanza, successively governed by Bishop Léon Livinhac (1846-1922), then by Bishop Jean Joseph HIRTH (1854-1931). ). The latter was appointed vicar apostolic on 4th December, 1889, and crowned on 25th May, 1890. His motto was "Sitio".

July 13, 1894 : The Vicariate of Victoria-Nyanza was divided into three vicariates, including that of Southern Nyanza under the leadership of Bishop Hirth. Rwanda was one of them. Its headquarters were in Kamoga, Bukumbi, Tanzania. It is from there that that Bishop Hirth planned to send missionaries to Rwanda. On November 12, 1897 he founded Katoke’s mission, which served as an outpost to Rwanda.

September 15, 1899 : Bishop Hirth left his Kamoga residence at the head of a missionary caravan towards Rwanda. This caravan included Father Alphonse Brard, Father Paul Barthelemy and Brother Anselme ; it passed through Burundi where was the residence of the German military authority on which Rwanda depended. It arrived in Shangi on January 20, 1900 where a first mass was to be celebrated on the Rwandan territory.

February 2, 1900 : the caravan introduced itself to the Royal Court of Nyanza ; it was received in audience by a representative of King YUHI V Musinga before continuing its march towards the South. On February 4, 1900, Bishop Hirth left Fathers Brard and Paul Barthélémy and Brother Anselme to Mara for the foundation of the Church in Rwanda ; he returns to his residence in Tanzania through Gisaka.

February 8, 1900 : the three missionaries who remained in Rwanda settled in SAVE where they found the first mission dedicated to the Sacred Heart of Jesus. Other missions would be successively founded in Zaza (1st Novembere,1900), Nyundo (25th April,1901), Rwaza (20th November,1903), Mibirizi (20th December,1903), Kabgayi (20th January,1906), Rulindo (26th April,1909), Murunda (17th May,1909) and Kansi (13th Decembere,1910).

In April 1903, a celebration of 26 first baptisms at Save will be followed, in 1904, by a first Christian marriage in Rwanda and the recruitment of the first Rwandan seminarians. The latter will be trained in Ihangiro, Tanzania, near Bishop Hirth’s episcopal headquarters.

1907 : First Catechism printed in Rwanda. In 1911 also appeared the "Katholische Schulbibel" (or Bible School) in Kinyarwanda which will become the "Biblia Gatolika" from 1927.

March 13, 1909 : Arrival of the first nuns in Rwanda : The Missionary Sisters of Our Lady of Africa, or White Sisters. They will be followed later by the Brothers of Charity of Ghent (1929-Astrida), the Bernardine Sisters (1932-Kansi) and the Penitent Sisters of St. Francis of Assisi (1936-Mibirizi). In the aftermath of the Jubilee of 1950, a dozen other religious congregations will come to settle in Rwanda.

April 1, 1910 : Father Paulin Loupias paid with his life the mission of mediator he had agreed to assume, for the benefit of the Royal Court of Musinga, between two rival indigenous groups.

December 12, 1912 : Erection of the Apostolic Vicariate of Kivu regrouping Rwanda (detached from the Vicariate of Southern Nyanza), Burundi and Buha / Tanzania (seconded from the Vicariate of the Unyanyembe in Tanzania). The new Vicariate is entrusted to Bishop Hirth who will establish his final seat in Kabgayi from 1914.

October 1913
 : Repatriation of Rwandan seminarians from Rubia (Hangiro / Tanzania) to Kabgayi / Rwanda. Thus was born the small St. Leo Seminary of Kabgayi and the Great Seminary St Charles Borromeo of Kabgayi. The latter will host candidates from Rwanda and Burundi.

Christmas 1916 : religious profession of the first Rwandan brother : Bro. Oswald Rwandinzi from Save (+ 2nd October, 1926). The work of the indigenous Brothers called "Josephites" was initiated in 1912 by Bishop Hirth. Bishop Classe will bring this project to a successful conclusion in 1929.

July 1917 : King YUHI V Musinga proclaims religious freedom for all his subjects.

October7, 1917 : Bishop Hirth ordains the first two Rwandan priests : Balthazar Gafuku from Zaza (+ 1958) and Donat Reberaho from Save (+1st May, 1926).
March 25, 1919 : Religious profession of the first Rwandan sister in Rwaza (Sr Yohanna). It is the birth of the Congregation of Benebikira Sisters whose first recruitments took place in Nyundo from December 1912 on the initiative of Bishop Hirth. Their novitiate was transferred from Rwaza to Save in December 1919.
In 1919 : The mission of Murunda is entrusted to the first two indigenous priests, with Brother Oswald Rwandinzi of the Josephites.

April 25, 1922 : Pope Pius XI splits the Apostolic Vicariate of Kivu into two Apostolic Vicariates : the Vicariate of Urundi entrusted to Mgr. Julien Gorju and the Vicariate of Ruanda to Léon Paul CLASS (motto : Cui credidi). Bishop Hirth retires to the Kabgayi Grand Seminary ; where he died on 6th January, 1931.

1929 : Foundation of the Groupe Scolaire d’Astrida (today Groupe scolaire officiel de Butare "Indatwa n`Inkesha") by the Brothers of Charity of Ghent (Belgium) for the training of the auxiliary cadres in Public Administration. For a long time, it will also host candidates from Burundi.

November 18, 1931 : By decree of the Sacred Congregation of Propaganda Fide, the Grand Seminary St Charles Borromee of Kabgayi is raised to the rank of Regional Major Seminary for the apostolic vicariates of Rwanda, Burundi, of Kivu, Lake Albert, to which will be added that of Beni (Butembo). The leadership is canonically entrusted to the Society of Missionaries of Africa. In 1936, this Seminary will be transferred to Nyakibanda. It will cease to be regional from 1951 to accommodate more than condidates of Rwanda.

September 1, 1933 : Publication of the first issue of KINYAMATEKA, the eldest of periodicals of Rwanda such as Trait-d’Union (1942), Servir (Serving) (1944), The Friend (1945), Theology and Pastoral Care in Rwanda (1946), Kurerer’Imana (1951) and Hobe (1954) .

January 12 , 1943 : the appointment of Bishop Laurent DEPRIMOZ as coadjutor of Bishop Class. He is the first ordained bishop in Rwanda, 19th March,1943 (motto : Iter para tutum). Following the death of Bishop Class, on 31st january,1945, Bishop Déprimoz became Apostolic Vicar of Rwanda. He will have, among other merits, the organization and the presidency of the Synod of Kabgayi in 1950, prepared by a pre-synodal session held in 1945 ; the reorganization of the catechumenate ; the introduction of Catholic Action movements ; and the opening of the doors to the indigenous clergy for the local church government.

October 17, 1943 : Baptism of the King of Rwanda, Pierre Léon Charles MUTARA III Rudahigwa after a long catechumenate of 14 years. On 27th October,1946, at Nyanza, King Rudahigwa consecrated his Kingdom and his subjects to Christ the King. The following year, he was honored by Pope Pius XII who named him, 21st January,1947, Knight Commander of the Order of St. Gregory the Great.

August 1950 : Jubilee of 50 Years of Evangelization of Rwanda, Celebrated in Astrida (now Butare). The Church continues its growth with more than 357,722 faithful baptized, 40 Missions, and 90 native priests.

February 14, 1952 : Dismemberment of the Apostolic Vicariate of Rwanda by the creation of the Apostolic Vicariate of Nyundo entrusted to Mgr Aloys BIGIRUMWAMI (+ 1986), from Native clergy, sacred June 1, 1952 in Kabgayi (motto : Induamur arma lucis). He was the first indigenous priest to be elevated to this rank in Belgian Africa. Hence, Bishop L. Deprimoz becomes apostolic vicar of Kabgayi. He resigned on 21st,April,1955 due to illness and died on 5thApril,1962 in Butare where he had retired.

January 1953 : The beginning of the autonomy of the two indigenous Congregations of the Benebikira Sisters and the Joséphist Brothers. Each of them elects its first General Council composed only of the effective members of the Congregation. The tutelage of the Missionaries officially ends.

December 19, 1955 : Appointment of Father André PERRAUDIN, then Rector of the Major Seminary of Nyakibanda, as Apostolic Vicar of Kabgayi to replace Bishop Déprimoz who resigned for health reasons. His motto : Super Omnia Caritas. He was consecrated bishop on 25th March,1956, by Bishop Aloys Bigirumwami at Kabgayi Cathedral. On 11th February,1959, he will publish the Pastoral Letter "Super Omnia Caritas" on the Charity for Lent that will make a lot of talk about him, positively and negatively.

April 26, 1956 : Father Raphaël SEKAMONYO, native priest, initiates the foundation of the Congregation of the Bizeramariya Sisters in Gisagara. This association will be canonically erected, on 8th September,1979, in Congregation of Diocesan right by Bishop Jean Baptiste Gahamanyi, Bishop of Butare, all remaining under the tutelage of the White Sisters until 1998, date of the first General Chapter according to the norms of Canon Law.

26-29 August 1959 : Synodal Session in Nyakibanda for the Apostolic Vicariates of Kabgayi and Nyundo. The Synodal Statutes issued by this assembly and published in July 1960 in Kabgayi and Nyundo will serve for a long time as special law for the Catholic Church in Rwanda.

November 10, 1959 : Promulgation of the Apostolic Constitution "Cum parvulum sinapis" by which Pope John XXIII instituted the episcopal hierarchy in the Belgian Congo, Rwanda and Burundi which then formed the "Belgian Africa". The apostolic vicariates become "Dioceses" and the Missions receive the name of "parishes". Rwanda is erected as an ecclesiastical province with Kabgayi as a metropolitan archbishopric and Nyundo as bishopric suffragan.

May 1, 1960 : Bishop Vedaste MOJAISKY-PERELLI, Apostolic Delegate to the Belgian Congo and Ruanda-Urundi, imposes the pallium on Bishop André Perraudin as archbishop of Kabgayi . The latter will, in turn, proceed to the canonical installation of Bishop Aloys Bigirumwami, on 7thAugust,1960, as the first residential bishop of Nyundo.

April 12,1960 : Foundation of the "Secours Catholique rwandais", born as a humanitarian response to the socio-political unrest triggered in early November 1959. Later, this organization will be called, later, "CARITAS-RWANDA", recognized as a non-profit organization by ministerial order No. 499/08 of 01/02 / 1963.

December 20, 1960 : Erection of the DIOCESE OF RUHENGERI with dismembered territories of the Diocese of Nyundo and the Archdiocese of Kabgayi. The new diocese is entrusted to Mgr. Bernard MANYURANE, whose motto is In Vinculo Pacis. He falls ill and dies in Rome on 8th May,1961 before his consecration. The administration of the diocese is provided by Bishop André Perraudin pending the appointment, on 21st August,1961, of Bishop Joseph SIBOMANA as the new bishop of Ruhengeri (his motto : Cui credidi). The latter will be sacred on 3rd December,1961 by Mgr. Védaste Mojaisky-Perrelli. The erection of the Diocese of Ruhengeri resulted in the extension of the diocese of Nyundo to Kinyaga.

March 1961 : The management of the Major Seminary Saint-Charles of Nyakibanda passes from the White Fathers to the Indigenous Clergy. The Abbot Matthieu Ntahoruburiye becomes the first rector of Rwanda. In 1963, this seminary gave birth to the Major Seminary Saint-Joseph of Nyundo which will be reunited to that of Nyakibanda in 1973. On 4th November, 1989, its cycle of Philosophy will be transferred to Kabgayi (Philosophicum Saint-Thomas Aquinas)

September 11, 1961 : Erection of the DIOCESE OF ASTRIDA (today BUTARE) and appointment of Bishop Jean Baptiste GAHAMANYI, as its first bishop. He is crowned on 6th january,1962. His motto : In Caritate and Pace.

October 1962 : Opening of the Second Vatican Ecumenical Council, which will be closed on 8th December,1965. The four diocesan bishops of Rwanda take part in the Council for the first time and pledge to implement its main pastoral guidelines.
November 3, 1963 : At the request of the Rwandan Government, the Dominican Fathers of Canada (Province of Quebec) founded the National University of Rwanda in Butare. They are in charge of it until 1972.

June 6, 1964 : Canonical erection of the Apostolic Nunciature in Rwanda. Bishop Vito ROBERTI is appointed First Nuncio to Rwanda. He presents his credentials to the President of the Republic of Rwanda on 6th August, 1964.
December 8, 1967 : Jubilee of 50 years of priesthood in Rwanda, celebrated in Kabgayi. The jubilee of 75 years of priesthood in Rwanda will also be celebrated in Kabgayi on 8th December, 1992.

September 5, 1968 : Erection of the KIBUNGO DIOCESE entrusted to Mgr Joseph SIBOMANA transferred from Ruhengeri Diocese. Mgr Phocas NIKWIGIZE succeeds him to this last seat ; he was ordained bishop on 30th November,1968 with the motto : Procedamus in pace.

January 12, 1974 : The Holy See accepts the resignation of Bishop Aloys Bigirumwami, Bishop of Nyundo, and appoints Bishop Vincent NSENGIYUMVA as successor. He was ordained bishop on 2ndJune,1974 with the motto "Ecce Adsum". On his appointment as Metropolitan Archbishop of Kigali in May 1976, he will be replaced by Bishop Wenceslas KALIBUSHI (+ 1997), ordained on 27th March,1977 as the third bishop of Nyundo with the motto "Ecce Venio".

May 3, 1976 : Erection of the ARCHIDIOCESE OF KIGALI. At its head, Pope Paul VI appoints Bishop Vincent NSENGIYUMVA (+ 1994) as Metropolitan Archbishop. He received the pallium from the hands of Cardinal Angelo ROSSI on 20th June,1976 who came to Rwanda for that purpose. Consequently, the archiepiscopal seat of Kabgayi becomes a suffragan diocese. Mgr André PERRAUDIN remains on the spot with the title of archbishop-bishop of Kabgayi, which he will keep as a personal privilege until his death.

June 6, 1980 : Erection of the EPISCOPAL CONFERENCE OF RWANDA (or C.EP.R. in French acronym) with headquarters in Kigali. Before that time, it was known as the"Episcopal Assembly of Rwanda" (or A.E.R. in acronym), member of the "Conference of Ordinaries of Rwanda and Burundi" (or COREB acronym), with headquarters in Bujumbura (Burundi). The noble objectives of COREB will be preserved by the creation of the Association of Episcopal Conferences of Rwanda and Burundi, or ACOREB in acronym.

November 5, 1981 : Erection of two new dioceses : BYUMBA and CYANGUGU. Byumba is entrusted to Mgr Joseph RUZINDANA (+ 1994), with the motto : Sitio. His episcopal ordination took place on 17th January,1982. As for the Diocese of Cyangugu, it is entrusted to Mgr Thaddée NTIHINYURWA with the motto : Ut Unum Sint. His episcopal ordination took place on 24th January, 1982.

November 28, 1981 : First apparition of the Virgin at Kibeho, then in the Diocese of Butare. Bishop Jean Baptiste Gahamanyi will set up two commissions (theological and medical) to monitor the phenomenon. On 15th August,1988, he authorizes public worship at the place of apparitions. These apparitions are considered to have officially ended on November 28, 1989.

December 3, 1984 : Creation of the Association of Episcopal Conferences of Central Africa, or ACEAC in acronym with headquarters in Kinshasa. It brings together the Episcopal Conferences of Rwanda (C.EP.R.), Burundi (CECAB), and of R.D.Congo (CENCO).

June 3, 1986 : Death of Bishop Aloys Bigirumwami, emeritus bishop of Nyundo, promoter of the Rwandan clergy and champion of the Rwandan inculturation of Christianity. He was buried in Nyundo with the honors of a national mourning.

November 28, 1987 : Nomination of bishop Thaddeus NSENGIYUMVA (+ 1994) as coadjutor bishop of Kabgayi. He was ordained bishop on 31st January,1988 with the motto : Adveniat regnum tuum. On 7th October,1989, he succeeds Bishop Perraudin, who retires in Kigali at the headquarters of the CEPR, and will die on 25th April,2003 in Switzerland.

May 15, 1990 : Publication of the first complete Bible in Kinyarwanda under the title of "Bibiliya Ntagatifu". On April,1992, there will take place the promulgation of the typical edition of the Roman Missal in Kinyarwanda, under the title of "Igitabo cya Misa ya Kiliziya ya Roma".

September 9, 1990 : The Catholic Church in Rwanda receives the pastoral visit of the Sovereign Pontiff, Pope John Paul II. But alas, in the aftermath of this church event, Rwanda entered a period of fratricidal war on 1 October 1990, which in 1994 was to degenerate into genocide against the Tutsi and weaken the social fabric, despite the Arusha Peace Agreements signed in August 1993.

March 30, 1992 : Erection of the GIKONGORO DIOCESE by division of the Diocese of Butare and appointment of Fr Augustin MISAGO, rector of the Major Seminary of Nyakibanda, as its first bishop, ordained on 28th June,1992. His motto : "Omnia Propter Evangelium". On the same date, Mgr Frédéric RUBWEJANGA was appointed second Bishop of Kibungo to succeed Mgr. Joseph SIBOMANA, resigned for age limit. He is ordained bishop on the 5thJuly,1992. His motto was : Faciam Voluntatem Tuam. Bishop Sibomana died on 9th December, 1999.

October 22, 1992 : Kabgayi Cathedral, dedicated to the Immaculate Conception and the first episcopal seat in Rwanda, is elevated to the rank of Minor Basilica by the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments.

May 1993 : Visit of Cardinal Roger ETCHEGARAY, President of the Pontifical Council "Justice and Peace", Special Envoy of the Holy Father as "messenger of peace and hope" in a country torn by a merciless struggle for power. The same Prelate will return in June 1994, in full genocide, still as Special Envoy of the Holy Father and witness of its proximity to a people in extreme distress.

April 7, 1994 : Beginning of the genocide perpetrated against the Tutsi which took away thousands of human lives. The Catholic Church in Rwanda will come out very weakened as a result of the massive massacre of its faithful, including a hundred priests and other consecrated persons, beside the destruction of pastoral and social works. Its hierarchy was partly beheaded following the massacre of three bishops with a dozen priests on June 5, 1994 in Gakurazo, not far from Kabgayi. These are :
- Archbishop Vincent Nsengiyumva, Metropolitan Archbishop of Kigali ;
- Thaddée Nsengiyumva, Bishop of Kabgayi and President of the Episcopal Conference ;
- Bishop Joseph Ruzindana, Bishop of Byumba. The fourth Bishop, Mgr Phocas Nikwigize, Bishop of Ruhengeri Diocese, disappears on the border between the city of Goma (DR Congo) and the city of Gisenyi (Rwanda) while trying to return to his bishopric on November 30, 1996.

13 July 1994 : Appointment by the Holy See of Father Henri HOSER, Pallottin, as Apostolic Visitor to Rwanda. His mission will last until the arrival, in March 1995, of a new Apostolic Nuncio to Rwanda, Mgr. Juliusz JANUSZ, who will be relayed by others.
September 2-5, 1994 : The C.EP.R holds in Butare its first meeting of the post-genocide and decides the reopening of the Major and Minor Seminaries. In January 1995, it will publish Pastoral Priorities for the Post-Genocide Period.
November 11, 1994 : Appointment by the Holy See of apostolic administrators for the dioceses of Kabgayi, Kigali, Byumba, Ruhengeri and Gikongoro whose seats were vacant.
November 20-26,1994 : A delegation from AMECEA - Association of Members of Episcopal Conferences in East Africa - visits the Church of Rwanda to support its effort to revive the apostolate. Subsequently, representatives of other Churches-Sisters will imitate this good example of ecclesial solidarity.
March 25, 1996 : The Holy See gradually reconstitutes the hierarchy of the Church in Rwanda by the appointment of three new residential bishops :
- Mgr Thaddée NTIHINYURWA, transferred from the headquarters of Cyangugu to the Metropolitan Archdiocese of Kigali, replacing Bishop Vincent Nsengiyumva murdered on 5th June,1994. On June 29, 1996 he received the pallium from Pope John Paul II in Rome.
- Abbot Anastase MUTABAZI, 6th Bishop of Kabgayi to replace Bishop Thaddée Nsengiyumva murdered on 5thJune,1994. His motto : Pax in Christo. His episcopal ordination on 25th May,1996.
- Abbot Servilien NZAKAMWITA, 2nd Bishop of Byumba to replace Bishop Joseph Ruzindana murdered on 5th June, 1994. His episcopal ordination on 2nd June, 1996. His motto : Fiat voluntas tua.

June 6, 1996 : A delegation of the Catholic Church in Rwanda met for the first time representatives of the Government to address the issue of churches approached as future genocide memorials. This issue will be resolved, after long talks, with the transfer of the church of Nyamata according to the letter Nº 5757/98 of January 12, 1999 addressed to the Episcopal Conference of Rwanda by the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples. The problem will persist around the parish church of Kibeho which will be reopened only on August 15, 2003 for Catholic worship.

November 24, 1996 : Celebration in Nyanza of the jubilee of 50 years of consecration of Rwanda to Christ the King by King Pierre Léon Charles Mutara III Rudahigwa in 1946 ; and at the same time launch of preparations for the Great Jubilee of the Year 2000 of Christianity and the 1st Centenary of the Evangelization of Rwanda.

January 18, 1997 : New episcopal appointments to vacant seats :
- Rev. Jean Damascène BIMENYIMANA, 2nd Bishop of Cyangugu replacing Bishop Thaddée Ntihinyurwa transferred to the archiepiscopal headquarters of Kigali. His episcopal ordination by Archbishop Wenceslas Kalibushi happened on 16th March,1997. His motto : In humilitate and caritate.
- Father Alexis HABIYAMBERE, S.J., 4th Bishop of Nyundo replacing Bishop Wenceslas Kalibushi, resigned for age limit. His episcopal ordination by Archbishop Wenceslas Kalibushi took place on 22ndMarch,1997. His motto : Suscipe dominates.
- Father Philippe RUKAMBA, 2nd Bishop of Butare to replace Bishop Jean Baptiste Gahamanyi, who resigned for the age limit. His episcopal ordination by Bishop Joseph Sibomana took place on 12th April,1997. His motto : Considerate Jesum.

May 8, 1998 : Appointment of Fr. Kizito BAHUJIMIHIGO, 4th Bishop of Ruhengeri to replace Bishop Phocas Nikwigize, who has been missing since 30 November 1996. His episcopal ordination happened on 27th June, 1998. His motto : Ut cognoscant te.

November 1998 : Inauguration of the NAZARETH CITY MBARE (Kabgayi) built by the Holy See for Vulnerable Children and entrusted to the Episcopal Conference of Rwanda for management. The opening ceremonies were presided by Cardinal Alfonso Lopez Trujillo, President of the Pontifical Council for the Family. This Center is one of the expressions of the solicitude and solidarity of the universal Church in favor of Rwanda, a country which was severely damaged by the tragedy of the war, the massacres of innocents and the genocide perpetrated against the Tutsi in 1994.

April 14, 1999 : Arrest of Mgr Augustin MISAGO, Bishop of Gikongoro, and his detention in Kigali Central Prison. After a lengthy and lengthy trial at the Kigali Court of First Instance, he was acquitted and released immediately, unconditionally, on June 15, 2000. He resumed his episcopal ministry in Gikongoro on September 16, 2000.

February 8, 2000 : Start of solemn celebrations in Save of the Great Jubilee of 2000 years of Christianity and the Jubilee of 100 years of evangelization of Rwanda. These celebrations had been prepared by the holding of the extraordinary diocesan synods, initiated in November 1998, on the problem of ethnicity in Rwandan society, and even within the Church. The official closing of the celebration of the double Jubilee took place in Kigali on February 8, 2001, in the presence of Cardinal Roger ETCHEGARAY, Special Envoy of the Holy Father.

June 29, 2001 : Official recognition of the authenticity of the Marian apparitions of Kibeho by the Church through the final Declaration given in the Cathedral of Gikongoro by Bishop Augustin MISAGO, the local Ordinary, in the presence of the Apostolic Nuncio to Rwanda, all members of the Episcopal Conference of Rwanda and major superiors of religious institutes. On September 15, 2001, the first official pilgrimage of the Rwandan Episcopate to Kibeho took place. In May 2002 it will be the turn of the Bishops of the "ACEAC" zone at their extraordinary assembly held in Kigali. On May 31, 2003, His Eminence Cardinal Crescenzio SEPE, Prefect of the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples, presided over the blessing and dedication ceremonies of the Shrine of Our Lady of Kibeho.

August 15, 2004 : Inauguration of RADIO MARIA RWANDA , with temporary headquarters in Kabgayi, while waiting to settle in Kigali.

January 23, 2005 : Official presentation of the very first ecumenical Bible in current Kinyarwanda, published under the title of "Bibiliya Ijambo ry’Imana", containing Deuterocanonical books. It is the culmination of an immense interconfessional translation work started in 1979 by the Biblical Society in Rwanda, which brings together both the main Protestant confessions and the Catholic Church in Rwanda.

January 21, 2006 : Appointment of Monsignor Smaragde MBONYINTEGE as the 7th Bishop of Kabgayi, replacing Bishop Anastase Mutabazi, who has resigned since 10 December 2004 for personal reasons. His episcopal ordination took place on March 26, 2006 with the motto : "Lumen Christi, Spes mea ".

August 28, 2007 : Transfer of Mgr Kizito BAHUJIMIHIGO from Ruhengeri Diocese to Kibungo diocese to replace Mgr Frédéric RUBWEJANGA, who has resigned because of his age limit. Canonical ordination took place on October 28, 2007.

November 28, 2007 : Official closing of the Jubilee of 25 years of the apparitions of Kibeho. The ceremonies were presided over by His Eminence Cardinal Ivan DIAS, Prefect of the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples, surrounded by all the bishops of Rwanda, at the Shrine of Our Lady of Kibeho.

November 22, 2009 (Solemnity of Christ the King) : Solemn Celebration, in Kabgayi, of the Jubilee of 50 years of the establishment of the episcopal hierarchy in Rwanda, but also in Burundi and Congo-Kinshasa, by Pope John XXIII dated November 10,1959. This commemoration was prepared by various messages and initiatives advocated at the level of the Association of Episcopal Conferences of Central Africa. The state of the Rwandan Christianity could be measured by the following indicators, based on the statistics of the year 2007. Here are examples : 9 dioceses against 2 in 1959 ; 155 parishes against 58 ; 49.30% of Catholics against 29% ; 582 diocesan priests against 122 ; 80 religious institutes against 21 within 50 years ago.

January 28, 2010 : Resignation of Bishop Kizito BAHUJIMIHIGO of his office as Bishop of the Diocese of Kibungo and Apostolic Administrator of Ruhengeri.
January 31, 2012 : Appointment of Bishop Vincent HAROLIMANA as 5th Bishop of Ruhengeri. His episcopal ordination took place on March 24, 2012. Motto : Vidimus stellam eius.

February 16, 2012 : The Holy See appointed the new Apostolic Nuncio to Rwanda, Mgr Luciano RUSSO. He will arrive in Rwanda on May 23, 2012.
March 12, 2012 : Unexpected death of Bishop Augustin Misago. His funeral took place on March 15, 2012.

May 7, 2013 : Nomination of Bishop Antoine KAMBANDA as 4th Bishop of Kibungo. His episcopal ordination took place on July 27, 2013. His Motto : ut vitam habeant.

June 6-7, 2014 : Joint march between the Catholic and Anglican churches of Burundi, DR Congo and Rwanda in commemoration of 20 years after the genocide perpetrated against the Tutsi in 1994. Objective : to show compassion and solidarity to the Rwandan people.

June 30, 2014 : Celebration of the 50 years of existence of diplomatic relations between Rwanda and the Holy See.

November 26,2014 : Nomination of Bishop Célestin HAKIZIMANA, 2nd Bishop of Gikongoro. His episcopal ordination took place on January 24, 2015. His Motto : Duc in Altum.

March 11, 2016 : Nomination of Bishop Anaclet MWUMVANEZA, 5th Bishop of Nyundo to replace Mgr. Alexis HABIYAMBERE, S.J., resigned for age limit. His episcopal ordination took place on May 21, 2016. His Motto : Misericordes Sicut Pater

October 7, 2017 : Celebration of the 1st centenary of the priesthood in Rwanda, in Kabgayi.

March 11, 2018 : Death of Monsignor Jean Damascene Bimenyimana, Bishop of Cyangugu Diocese.

Statistics of the Catholic faithful in Rwanda

According to the latest estimates of the National Institute of Statistics dated 2015 , the total population of Rwanda was 10 515 973 inhabitants.And figures from all dioceses in the country show that the total number of Catholics was 4,823,766. This is equivalent to 45.8% of the total population.