COVID-19 has killed Anglican Bishop Désiré Mukanirwa of Goma in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, less than two weeks after he fell ill.
The man who brought hope to many in Goma during the Ebola pandemic, died at the weekend, plunging the Anglican community worldwide into deep mourning.
His fellow Congolese Bishop, Muhindo Isesomo of North Kivu broke the news of Mukanirwa’s death:
“Bishop Desire of Goma diocese, died last Saturday after a short sickness. His burial will be on Friday or Saturday this week in Goma. It seems that he died by the COVID-19.”
Messages of condolence have poured from all over the Anglican world.
“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.”
“He was in late high school and already passionate about serving Jesus when I encountered him in the Goma Anglican youth group,” said Sydney’s Bishop for International Relations, Malcolm Richards, a long-time friend of Bishop Mukanirwa.
“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,” Bishop Richards added.
“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… Bishop Désiré was a godly, Jesus-loving man.”
Mukanirwa was a member of GAFCON, the Global Anglican Future Conference which represents the conservative majority in the Anglican Communion.
He is survived by his wife Claudaline and four children.