Archbishop Mbanda Speaks on Reconciliation on St Patrick’s Day
Laid a Wreath on St Patrick’s Grave
The guest speaker for this year’s St Patrick’s Day service at Down Cathedral, site of the Patrick’s grave was the Archbishop of Rwanda, The Rt Revd Dr Laurent Mbanda.
The Archbishop has great experience in the area of reconciliation. Mbanda has written and spoken widely about his experience during decades of violence in Rwanda. He was a refugee during the unrest during 1959. He has engaged in “peace-building and trauma support in the aftermath of the genocide.”
“Rwanda is a country that has risen out of the ashes of the genocide,” he said. “We still have a good way to go, but we are in a good place today.”
He spoke about the years necessary to arrive to today’s place where people are mostly getting along. Archbishop Laurent reminded his hearers that “our fundamental identity is as new creations in Christ who have put off the old and are now transformed (2 Corinthians 5:17).”
He continued: “New means new creatures, new people, new hearts, new mindset, new thinking. I have been reconciled with God and that puts me in a new environment. Reconciliation means to exchange hostility, not only with God but with your fellow men.”
Archbishop Laurent urged the packed cathedral to see themselves as Christ’s ambassadors. “God’s people, his Church, need to seek him, and in seeking him, you and I will bring a blessing to the people around us – to our family, to our village, to our society and to our nation.”
Mrs Myrtle Kerr took a prominent place in the service as she led intercessory prayers written by her late husband, Revd Cecil Kerr. Against the backdrop of the ‘Troubles’. The Kerrs founded the Christian Renewal Centre at Rostrevor which still casts a long shadow toward renewal and reconciliation. Mrs Kerr also led the congregation in singing, Lead Me Lord in both English and Irish.
The Diocese expressed its thanks to Down Cathedral’s organist, Mr Michael McCracken, for leading the worship and to soloist Ruth Thompson who sang What Grace is Mine and Make Me a Channel of Your Peace.