Photo: Albin Hillert/WCC

Photo: Albin Hillert/WCC

The World Council of Churches (WCC) Ecumenical Institute at Château de Bossey is mourning the passing of Anglican Bishop Desire Mukanirwa, from the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Upon news of his sudden passing, his former Bossey classmates from England, Slovakia, Burkina-Faso, Bulgaria, Hungary, and Germany, expressed their love for him and their gratitude for his life and ministry. In 2006-2007 he studied at the WCC Ecumenical Institute at Château de Bossey, earning a post-graduate degree in ecumenical studies.

Mukanirwa was born on 22 August 1968 in Kalehe territory, in the city of Murambi. He was married to Muhido Mugaruka Claudaline, and they have two sons and two daughters.

Mukanirwa attended the Leweza Primary School in Kalehe. He completed his secondary studies at the Furaha Institute in Kalehe and graduated from the Institute Maendeleo de Goma in 1988. From that year on, he was commissioned by the Bukavu Diocese of the Anglican Church. In 1997, he obtained a theology degree at the Anglican University of Congo.

“We value Bishop Mukanirwa’s commitment and involvement in social transformation and in enhancing people’s lives holistically,” said Rev. Prof. Dr Ioan Sauca, WCC interim general secretary. “We have suddenly lost one of the bravest servants of Christ.”

Mukanirwa dedicated a great deal of his time to helping his Congolese contemporaries through many charitable activities and dedicated service. Contributing greatly in areas such as the fight against poverty and sexual violence, he sought peace, justice and reconciliation. He worked to improve protection of vulnerable and marginalized groups, and the living conditions of widows, minorities and orphans. He also sought to achieve Christian unity in order to live a just world as children of God.

Dr Odair Pedroso Mateus, director of the WCC Faith and Order Commission and WCC interim deputy general secretary for Unity and Mission, said he had remained in touch with Mukanirwa over the years. “Last February he shared with me several pictures from the celebration of the 2020 week of prayer for Christian unity in Goma,” recalled Pedroso Mateus. “He described the event as an ‘ecumenical booming’ in the city with praising and worshipping between Anglicans, Roman Catholics, and Lutherans, and concluded: 'All the offertories, food and clothing were given to prisons the last day at prison accompanied by prayer and words of comfort.’ ”