BY Ryan McDougall | February 21 | comments icon 0 COMMENTS     print icon print

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‘Scotland can learn from Rwanda,’ says priest

A Rwandan priest has said Catholics and Protestants in Scotland could learn from the harmony that exists between the different denominations in his community.

Fr Julien Mwiseneza, right, of Ruhuha Parish, Kigali Archdiocese, was speaking to the SCO when we visited last month with as the Scottish Catholic International Aid Fund (SCIAF) to see how their projects were benefiting people’s lives.

The priest, whose brother studies in Scotland, explained that since the charity and its partners began working in the community, barriers between different faith groups have been broken down.


Fr Julien credited SCIAF’s work as the reason all faiths in the small community now get along, stating the charity ‘has become a bridge between the other denominations who do not discriminate based on other religion.’

Fr Mwiseneza said: “Before [SCIAF arrived], denominations didn’t mix or mingle together but, now they have something in common and they are coming together.”

When Fr Julien learned of Scotland’s problems with bigotry and divisions between Catholics and Protestants he added: “I think the Scottish Churches could learn about unity from us, everybody should respect each others faiths.

“All of them have faith in one God—there is no God for Protestants and no God for Catholics. They are children of the same God who loves and cherishes everyone, they have to work hand in hand, in unity and in peace without division and any conflict.

“They have to live and work in mutual obedience and respect, they have to be in collaboration and respectful.”

Helping the vulnerable

SCIAF, with the support of UK Aid Match Funding, has been helping women in small villages in Rwanda to build their own businesses, giving them a more prosperous future; an initiative the priest said ‘came as an answer to our problems here.’

“The people have hope for tomorrow, for themselves and their children,” Fr Mwiseneza said. “The local Church is now able to help those poorer than them.”

SCIAF has given women small business loans and supplied them with the means to start saving their earnings, which in turn has allowed them to send their children to school and have enough to eat well each day. The charity has helped women of all denominations.

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