Christians yesterday flocked various churches across the country to celebrate Good Friday. The day marks the crucifixion and death of Jesus Christ more than 2000 years ago.
Good Friday reminds believers of how Jesus bore their burdens, by carrying the Cross from Jerusalem to Calvary where he was crucified.
It is in this regard that Christians all over the world celebrate this day, a day when Jesus Christ became the first and last sacrifice for human redemption.
At St Michel Cathedral, Kicukiro Catholic Church, Regina Pacis, in Remera among other Churches visited by The New Times, several Christians were compelled to follow mass from outside after the churches were filled to capacity.
At St Michel Cathedral, in Kigali city centre, the Good Friday evening service was to commence at 3pm, but Christians started arriving 3 hours earlier to get space inside the Cathedral, according to Felicien Habiyaremye, one of the Christians from Gasabo District.
Habiyaremye, 62, walked over 10 kilometers from Gasabo District to Nyarugenge, “as a symbol of sharing the pain and endurance Jesus Christ went through to redeem mankind.”
At St Michel Cathedral, the Archbishop of Kigali Thadeo Ntihinyurwa asked believers to pray for non-believers, the troubled and for the nation.
“As we mark this day of the Cross, we should also meditate on souls of non-believers, those who are troubled, for the peace of our country and the world at large,” he said.
The Archbishop also urged the faithful to seek penance and spiritual renewal during this holy season.
Majority of the Christians said they had spent 40 days of lent; foregoing food in preference of prayers.
Dianne Uwamahoro, said she set aside 40 days of fasting and prayer, as a symbol of faith and spiritual renewal. Uwamahoro added that she was emulating Jesus who did the same before finally accomplishing his mission on earth.
Patrick Bizimana, 17, a Senior Five student at ESB Bulinga and a resident of Nyarugenge District called on fellow youth to strive for purity.
“Jesus’ death is a sign that we were made holy. As young people, we should shun immorality, drugs, alcohol, fornication, and strive for righteousness. This will make us ambassadors of peace,” Bizimana said.
Clerics echoed the need for love and forgiveness among Christians for the unity of the country.
“Like Jesus carried our burdens on his shoulders, I challenge every Rwandan to carry with them, love, mercy and unity for the peace of our country,” said Smaragde Mbonyintege, the Bishop of Kabgayi Diocese and spokesperson of the Catholic Church.
Bishop Nathan Gasatura of Butare Diocese said: “Good Friday is a true reflection of God’s love and mercy which should be emulated by all Rwandans.”
“God bridged the way of redemption through the death of His Son. He could not create any short-cuts for our sins, but to let Jesus Christ suffer, be crucified and die, for the sake of the world. That was, and still is the most priceless gift for mankind,” Bishop Gasatura added.