Vendredi de gratitude: Abbé Mungwarareba Modeste, apôtre de la réconciliation

Texte de Mme Ariane Mukundente

Toujours au rendez-vous hebdomadaire de notre Vendredi de gratitude, je vous présente l’Abbé Modeste Mungwarareba. Il est né le 8 mai 1951 dans l’ancienne préfecture de Butare et a été ordonné prêtre en 1976. Il a été Recteur du Petit Séminaire de Butare et en 1996, il devient secrétaire de la Conférence épiscopale du Rwanda.

Il a été le très apprécié responsable du Service d’animation théologique (SAT) de Butare, organisme fondé en 1990 par son compagnon de route, le Dr. Laurien Ntezimana. Le SAT était un lieu de formation pour les laïcs, axé sur la réconciliation, qui, lors du génocide de 1994, perdit 38 de ses 72 animateurs.

L’Abbé Modeste put échapper au massacre. Il avait rejoint le Dr. Laurien en 1992 après que ce dernier eut perdu l’un de ses collaborateurs. Après le génocide contre les Tutsis de 1994, le tissu social était complètement détruit. L’existence du SAT prenait plus que jamais son sens et sa mission répondait bien au climat du Rwanda de l’après le génocide de 1994. Dès la fin de cette même année, le SAT reprenait son travail pastoral, autant psychologique et social que spirituel, pour promouvoir la réconciliation et former des « noyaux générateurs de paix » au Rwanda.

L’Abbé Modeste se donna cœur et âme à cette mission. Grâce à leur engagement en faveur de la réconciliation, il reçut avec le Dr. Laurien le 25 novembre 1998 à Louvain-la-Neuve, le Prix international de la Paix des mains du président de Pax Christi international, le cardinal Godfried Danneels, archevêque de Malines-Bruxelles.Homme de paix reconnu de tous pour son engagement envers la réconciliation, il est l’inspirateur de la « Confession de Detmold », du nom de la localité allemande où ce texte fut signé en décembre 1997 par des chrétiens rwandais d’ethnies et d’Églises différentes, soucieux de s’engager dans la construction d’un Rwanda où il ferait bon vivre pour tous. Un prêtre au vrai sens du terme de service de Dieu, l’Abbé Modeste a prêché l’amour non seulement de son prochain, mais aussi de « son ennemi ».

Cependant, il ne se faisait pas d’illusion car il savait comment cela était difficilement réalisable dans le Rwanda post-génocide. Dans la campagne du Carême 1996, invité en Suisse avec le Dr. Laurien Ntezimana, il avait alors reconnu à quel point « l’amour des ennemis, c’est très difficile à vivre! ». Cependant, il avait témoigné que la non-violence était chose possible, même dans un pays déchiré, « où la convivialité a vraiment été brisée à cause du génocide ». Dans un contexte encore très marqué par la peur, le désespoir et le doute sur les possibilités de vaincre la violence, le travail consiste, précisait l’Abbé Modeste, à « remettre debout les individus, à mettre ensemble les individus qu’on a remis debout, à mettre au travail les individus qu’on a mis ensemble. »L’Abbé Modeste mourut très jeune à l’âge de 48 ans, un lundi le 6 mai 1999, de mort naturelle à l’Hôpital de Butare.

La malédiction de perdre un autre monument en bas âge frappa le Rwanda avec la mort de l’Abbé Modeste Mungwarareba. Une tristesse sans nom pour tous ceux qui l’ont connu. Le Secrétaire romand de l’Action de Carême – un organisme qui finance le travail du SAT – , Charles Ridoré, a salué la mémoire de l’Abbé Modeste qui avait fortement impressionné le public suisse par son message de réconciliation et son travail de promotion d’un dialogue entre les deux communautés rwandaises. Quant au Dr. Laurien, la mort de l’Abbé Modeste représentait pour lui la perte énorme d’un collaborateur de longue date et d’un ami fidèle. C’est ainsi que le 2 janvier 2000, il fonda l’Association Modeste et Innocent – AMI en forme abbrégée – une association à but non lucratif en l’honneur de ses deux compagnons, l’Abbé Modeste décédé en 1999 et Innocent Samusoni, un père de famille tué le 30 avril 1994 lors du génocide contre les Tutsis.

Les deux avaient été témoins de l’ubuntu dans le contexte difficile de l’avant-génocide.

À toutes les personnes qui ont vécu à Butare, la mort de l’Abbé Modeste a été ressentie comme un choc. Butare était en deuil. Un éducateur accompli, nous nous rappelons d’un homme grandeur nature à la bonté qui pouvait soulever les montagnes. Nous rendons hommage à cet Apôtre de la Paix et de la Réconciliation qui a consacré toute sa vie d’adulte jusqu’à sa mort à son pays, pour un Rwanda apaisé, uni et réconcilié. En rédigeant ce texte sur l’Abbé Mungwarareba, j’ai ressenti une tristesse profonde pour toutes ces personnes qui ont cru à un Rwanda uni malgré les apparences.

Ils ont commencé ce travail noble et difficile de réconciliation des rwandais et ont cru que c’était chose possible. Elles sont mortes sans avoir vu le fruit de leur travail : c’est à nous maintenant qu’il incombe de reprendre le flambeau.

Abbé Modeste Mungwarareba, niyubahwe. 🙌🏾

source:https://www.facebook.com/mukundente.ariane

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