In a recent visit to Utah, Cardinal Antoine Kambanda, the Catholic Archbishop of Kigali, Rwanda, met with leaders of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, learned about the Church’s humanitarian work and youth programs, and toured the St. George Utah Temple.
Cardinal Kambanda is the first cardinal from the country of Rwanda. He was accompanied in the Sept. 10-13 visit by Father Eamon Gerard Murray, a Catholic bishop from Brooklyn, New York, reported the Church’s Africa Newsroom.
While in Salt Lake City, the cardinal and Father Eamon toured the Church’s Welfare Square and the Humanitarian Center. They admired the focus and effectiveness in alleviating human suffering all over the world.
In the meeting, the cardinal told the Elder Rasband and Elder Palmer, “I love how you value the family. The family is under threat, and there is an attack on the family. When the pandemic happened, the only church remaining was the family. The values of chastity, education for girls, and honesty are readily apparent in all you do.”
Elder Rasband shared that he has been to Africa many times. He said the Church has a significant interest in helping people in Africa by strengthening the family and alleviating human suffering.
They spoke about how the two faiths could work together in Rwanda. Cardinal Kambanda — who is the presiding officer of the Catholic Church in Rwanda — replied, “You are welcome in Africa.”
Five million Roman Catholics reside in Rwanda — roughly half of the country’s population. One of the objectives of the cardinal’s visit was to learn how he could help develop strong youth programs for the Catholic youth in Rwanda. Cardinal Kambanda and Father Eamon received an overview of youth programs of the Church of Jesus Christ from Young Men General President Steven J. Lund and Young Women General President Emily Belle Freeman.
Cardinal Kambanda was also able to take a tour of the recently renovated St. George Utah Temple. Elder Kevin W. Pearson, a General Authority Seventy and President of the Church’s Utah Area, and his wife, Sister June Pearson, hosted the cardinal during the open house and shared the importance of the house of the Lord.
“June and I were blessed to have the opportunity to share the St. George Utah Temple with Cardinal Kambanda and Father Eamon,” Elder Pearson said. “They asked many insightful questions about the eternal nature of the family and the importance of regularly coming to the house of the Lord to focus on the Lord Jesus Christ. Our visit was warm, open and engaging. We left as friends who love the Savior.”