I recently went to the healing Mass celebrated by Fr. Ubald Rugirangoga at Our Lady of Good Help Shrine in Champion in the Green Bay Diocese. Fr. Ubald is from Rwanda and survived the genocide that took place there in 1994.

The civil war lasted 100 days during which 800,000 members of the Tutsi tribe were slaughtered by Hutu tribe members. Entire families would be cut down by machete and their women were systematically raped and murdered.

Thousands of Hutus also died for opposing the killing campaign and the forces directing it. In the slaughter, Fr. Ubald Fr. Ubald Rugirangoga (Submitted photo courtesy Fr. Rugirangoga)lost more than 80 family members and 45,000 of his parishioners.

Fr. Ubald escaped through the Congo in the middle of the night. Before he left, he promised his bishop he would return to bring healing to his people.

He stayed in Belgium for three months, in gut-wrenching sorrow over the plight of his people and his war-torn homeland. During a visit to Lourdes, he heard Jesus tell him, “Ubald, carry your cross.” At that moment, he was released from his sorrow and understood that he was called to preach healing, forgiveness and reconciliation.

He practiced what he preached. Upon returning to Rwanda, Fr. Ubald forgave the man who had killed his mother. Not only that, but Fr. Ubald saw to the care and education of the man’s children after the man’s imprisonment for his crime.

That is true healing and forgiveness!

Since then, Fr. Ubald has established the Center for the Secret of Peace as well as schools and orphanages. He travels the world, sharing his gift of healing with others. It’s not uncommon for 10,000-60,000 people to attend one of his healing Masses in Rwanda.

Countless documented cases of physical healing have occurred as a result of his healing Masses. But there have been as many – or perhaps more – spiritual, emotional and relationship healings as well.

I heard about Fr. Ubald and the Mass at Our Lady of Good Help Shrine and knew immediately that I had to go.
I was not disappointed.

The “custom” is for Fr. Ubald to celebrate Mass, after which there’s a time of eucharistic adoration. Then, he processes through the congregation with the monstrance, praying before each row and then moving on. Once he’s done this, he returns to the sanctuary and reveals from the ambo the healings Jesus has made known to him.

The list went on and on and on. The descriptions are general, mostly because translating medical terms from Rwandan to English is difficult. But, they’re descriptive enough for folks to get the idea of what has transpired. Miracles upon miracles.

The physical healings were awesome in and of themselves. What touched my heart even more were the spiritual, emotional and relational healings. In these cases, healings involving the resolution of fears and anxieties, family difficulties, depression, children fallen away from the church, and so many more were among the miracles shared by Fr. Ubald.

I had never thought about miraculous healings in that way. Of course, I knew they were possible because anything is possible with God. I’d heard of novenas answered with the granting of non-physical miracles. Yet, I never put two-and-two-together, so to speak, in terms of non-physical healings occurring in the context of a healing Mass.

Fr. Ubald pointed this out in his homily and in his introduction prior to the eucharistic procession. He emphasized, before and after, that healing takes place in many ways and the most important kind of healings are the spiritual ones.

“If you aren’t healed spiritually, then the rest doesn’t matter,” I remember him saying.

I had gone to Fr. Ubald’s Mass to seek healing of various kinds for myself. Some I received. Some I did not. But the most precious thing I received was the spiritual healing of something that hadn’t even been on my radar screen when I headed to Champion that day.

Fr. Ubald was right.

(Fenelon, a mother of four, and her husband, Mark, belong to St. Anthony Parish, Milwaukee. Visit her website: www.margefenelon.com.)