Every August 15, the Catholic Church celebrates Assumption Day, a day on which the Catholic faithful mark the ascension to heaven of the Virgin Mary, the mother of Jesus Christ.
Ahead of the day, the head of the Episcopal Conference of Catholic Bishops of Rwanda, Bishop Philip Rukamba said that the church urges Christians to show respect and love to the Virgin Mary, mother of God, and imitate her attitudes and character full of love and gentleness.
He also asked them to show love to their neighbors as well as attend holy mass at their respective parishes.
“Mary showed us unconditional love. She is our role model and links us to God and the Son.”
To celebrate the day, many people from all over the world visit Kibeho in Nyaruguru District.
Kibeho is a holy place, particularly for the Catholic faithful which became popular because of reported apparitions of the Blessed Virgin Mary and Jesus Christ between 1981 and 1989.
Rukamba called the day special because it holds the history of Virgin Mary whom the religion honor for delivering the redeemer of the world.
“The day is not biblically referenced. But for us, Catholics, we believe beyond the scripture as we also believe in old writings of elders of the church,” he said.
The day, which will be celebrated on Tuesday, will feature holy mass at all parishes in the honor of the different Saints mainly Mary, the mother of Jesus.
Rukamba said that some people from neighboring countries like Uganda, Democratic Republic of Congo, Tanzania and Burundi will come and visit Kibeho.
Some catholics believe that on this day, God gives blessings including rain, However, Rukamba said that this may happen or not.
Schadrack Mukeshimana, who prays at Saint Pierre Parish in Kimisagara, says the day is an opportunity for any Christian to confess their sins, be transformed, support the needy or the elderly as well as respect them.
“On Assumption day, I attend church service and interact with my colleagues and neighbours. The day is holy and Christians should celebrate with cleansed hearts full of love and respect to others. Christians should be characterized by discipline, and be supportive,” Mukeshimana said.
Nyaruguru District in partnership with Kibeho sanctuary administration has started preparations for the day to ensure that whoever visits the place will enjoy and stay secured.
The Ministry of Public Service and Labour (Mifotra) has announced that Assumption day is a public holiday as referred under the presidential order no 54/01 0f 24/02/2017 determining official public holidays in the public and private sectors.