Antoine Cardinal Kambanda has announced that an application to beatify the family of Cyprien Rugamba as a Catholic Church saint in Rwanda has been submitted to Rome and is only pending the Pope’s final approval.
Beatification (Blessed) is the first step of sainthood. It is followed by canonization as a final step in declaring a deceased person a saint.
In general, the process of documenting the sanctity of a holy man or woman cannot begin until five years after death, though this waiting period can be waived by the Pope.
To be beatified and recognized as “Blessed”, one miracle acquired through the candidate’s intercession is required in addition to recognition of heroic virtue or offering of life.
To reach canonization, a second miracle normally needs to be attributed to prayers made to the candidate after they have been beatified. Martyrs, however, only need one verified miracle to become a saint.
The pope may waive these requirements if need be.
Cardinal Kambanda told a press briefing this March 23, 2023, that the Church in Rwanda is praying for that the process of beatifying Rugamba, his wife, and his children is underway and this was tabled during his recent visit to the Holy See in Rome, and it is only the decision of Pope Francis that remains.
“Rome has received the report we gave them and found that there is nothing wrong with it. They are now studying it to see if our request will be approved. they will be placed in the category of the blessed and they will see when it happens, and they will bring it to the Pope who will make the final decision”
The report is put together by the local Catholic Church and submitted to the canonization committee in Rome.
The report entails a thorough investigation of the candidate, material pertaining to the candidate’s reputation for sanctity or heroic virtue, the writings of the candidate, and information about miracles performed by the candidate either during his or her lifetime or after death.
In the case of Rugamba and the family, Kambanda went on to say that even though the Rugamba dossier was submitted by Christians, the Catholic Church in Rwanda has backed the proposal and helped in examining it.
About the Rugamba Family
Cyprien Rugamba was a great Rwandan intellectual, poet, author, and church song composer. Rugamba and his wife- Daphrose Rugamba were a married couple (with six children), who introduced the Catholic Charismatic Renewal and the Emmanuel Community to their country in 1990.
In 1992, the couple started an organization of taking care and feeding street children which still exists now as Centre Cyprien et Daphrose Rugamba (CECYDAR), located in Kicukiro District.
Rugamba, his wife and six children were killed during the 1994 Genocide against Tutsi.
In the past years, many Catholics in Rwanda and beyond have revered the life of the charismatic family as local ‘saints’, their life example and held intercession prayers using Rugamba’s of which some reports of ‘miracles’ have been recorded within some communities.
Cardinal Kambanda said that these testimonies have already been collected and more are still being collected and are to be evaluated before the final decision is taken to beatify the Rugamba family.