Grief over passing of Congo Bishop Désiré Mukanirwa from COVID-19

SYDNEY: Anglican Aid’s project partner in Democratic Republic of the Congo and father of four Bishop Désiré Mukanirwa has passed away from COVID-19, after falling ill two weeks ago. 

Anglican Aid received word of Bishop Mukanirwa’s passing this morning.

“We are deeply grieved to learn of Bishop Désiré Mukanirwa’s sickness and death from Coronavirus,” said Anglican Aid CEO Canon Tim Swan. “His passing brings into focus the troubling reality of the pandemic in developing nations. This virus has brought to a sudden end the life of a beloved and vital church leader in the Congo, alongside many other precious lives.”

Malcolm Richards, the Bishop for International Relations in Sydney and Anglican Aid board member remembers Mukanirwa as “a godly, Jesus loving man”.

“He was in late highschool and already passionate about serving Jesus when I encountered him in the Goma Anglican youth group. The Lord gave him an equally capable and committed wife, Claudaline, and together they sought to train for ministry. 

“With degrees in theology and development studies, Désiré combined his love for evangelism with a concern for the marginalised in Congolese society - the poorest of the poor - widows, orphans and victims of rape in war.

“Désiré combined his love for evangelism with a concern for the marginalised in Congolese society - the poorest of the poor - widows, orphans and victims of rape in war.” - Bishop Malcolm Richards

“I have visited his home many times over the years, and his house is always full of people. He has four children of his own but he and Claudaline also gave space to many other children and adults who needed a home,” says Richards.

Désiré Mukanirwa served the Lord as the Bishop of the Anglican Diocese of Goma, which has 224 congregations, 45 clergy, and 43 schools. Anglican Aid supports the Bible College in Goma by sponsoring 30 students to receive Bible training. Mukanirwa was also a member of GAFCON, the Global Anglican Future Conference.

He had been receiving treatment at the HEAL Africa Christian Hospital in Goma.

Anglican Aid will provide extraordinary funds to Bishop Mukanirwa’s family to cover expenses related to this sad event.

Anglican Aid is also working with the church in Congo and many other Christian partners in developing nations to respond to the COVID-19 crisis. The COVID-19 Relief Appeal is raising funds to support handwashing and relieve hunger caused by lockdowns in the most vulnerable communities around the world.

“Anglican Aid is gravely concerned about the impacts of Coronavirus and associated lockdowns on our brothers and sisters in poverty. We are working to strengthen and equip churches in these communities, as they respond to needs with the love of Jesus. Please partner with us in this work,” says Tim Swan.

“We are working to strengthen and equip churches in these communities, as they respond to needs with the love of Jesus. Please partner with us in this work,” Anglican Aid CEO, Canon Tim Swan

Bishop Bahati Bali-Busane Sylvestre from the neighbouring Congolese Diocese of Bukavu asked for prayer. “Bishop Désiré leaves a wife, Mme Claudaline, and four children. Goma Diocese and Bishop Désiré's family need prayers for comfort.”

Related project: Community Leadership in the DRC (Congo)