Rwandan woman claims she had children with a priest, seeks support from Catholic Church

Mariya Mukakaregeya claims she had two children by a priest.

Mariya Mukakaregeya claims she had two children by a priest.

A Rwandan woman who claims to have had two children with a Rwandan priest has continued to push the Catholic Church to support her family.

Mariya Mukakaregeya says that the diocese has not been supporting her and the family especially after Father Theophile Mukiga died in Belgium in 2002, yet during life time the priest used to support them financially.

Narrating her ordeal in local press, Mukakaregeya says that since the priest’s death, she has struggled to cater for her family and despite the fact that she has brought her troubles to the attention of Byumba diocese her children’s father served, the leadership has not been helpful.

“They (church) are aware of this case and I have asked that I get a share of the deceased priest’s property, since we had children with him and the children are entitled to an inheritance from their father,” Mukakaregeya told local journalists recently.

The bishop of Byumba diocese Monsignor Seriviliyani Nzakamwita says that he is aware of the case and existence of the children, and has previously (before Fr. Mukiga ‘s death) summoned the Ms. Mukakaregeya and the late priest to resolve the matter amicably even though the priest’s conjugal actions were illegal according to church canon laws- especially the vow of celibacy.

“We are aware of the case and we know all cases of priests who have children outside the church order. These cases are individual and the church cannot be held responsible for the priests’ fault,” Msgr Nzakamwita said.

Nzakamwita also added that the claimed inheritance of the deceased priest was handed over to his immediate family, who are legally recognized as next of kin.

“The church doesn’t know this lady as a next of kin. The two were not married and have no blood relationship,” the Bishop insisted.

Reliable sources indicate that the accused priest was allegedly transferred to Belgium after the sex scandal that partially tainted the church’s reputation in the then Byumba province (now Gicumbi district).

Sources also indicate that Msgr Nzakamwita had handled this case as a mediator and somehow there was an agreement between the two parties over the matter and the priest continued supporting the mother of her kids privately.