Thousands of Christians in Rwanda, yesterday, marked Good Friday by taking part in a Way of the Cross procession to signify the journey in the lead up to the crucifixion of Jesus Christ.
At around 3pm at Kicukiro Parish, hundreds of Catholic Christians, some carrying the cross, took to the road in the procession from Byimana cell in Niboyi sector, a distance of about five kilometres to the parish.
Led by Eric Nzabamwita, the vicar of the parish, Christians of various ages took part in the procession, marked by prayers and songs of praise to God as well as asking for forgiveness of sins committed.
Blaise Umuhire, who was part of the procession, said the walk sought to remember the journey that Jesus Christ endured for the love he had for them.
“This walk reminds us of the unbelievable love Jesus Christ has for us. It is the moment to remember the tough journey Jesus undertook before his crucifixion. We remember he did this out of love,” said Umuhire.
Joy Kankazi, another Christian, said that Good Friday is a special time for believers to asses their Christian life, but also draw lessons from Jesus Christ’s unique story.
“The story of Jesus is exceptional. He died for our sins and all he passed through teaches us how to be humble, how to help the needy and to continuously avoid anything that can attempt us to sin,” she noted.
Good Friday is a religious holiday observed primarily by Christians commemorating the crucifixion of Jesus Christ and his death at Calvary. The holiday is observed during Holy Week as part of the Paschal Triduum on the Friday preceding Easter Sunday, and may coincide with the Jewish observance of Passover.
During the march, Fr Nzabamwita encouraged Christians to keep in mind Jesus’ passion and follow his example while avoiding any temptation leading them to sins.
“Our Christ willingly suffered the greatest pain and the deepest humiliation in order for mankind to overcome death and find a path to salvation. Today, we pray that everyone follows in his footsteps,” he said during the march.
Good Friday is the second of four intensive days on the Christian calendar culminating in Easter Sunday, which commemorates Christ’s resurrection. It is also the last day Lent, a 40-day fasting period preceding Easter.
In Rwanda, every year, the majority of Christian churches align this day with the traditional ways of commemoration. An evening Easter Vigil is held and candles lit, which symbolises the way of remembrance of Jesus Christ’s struggle to save people from their sins.
Other Catholic churches including St Paul, Regina Pacis, Sainte-Famille and St Kizito marked the day.
Meanwhile, Christians from around the world were in Jerusalem also to commemorate the crucifixion of Jesus Christ.
They followed the path in the Old City where, according to tradition, he walked on the way to the cross, media reports showed.
Pilgrims, some with large wooden crosses on their backs, filed along the narrow cobblestone alleyways of the Old City chanting prayers.
The Good Friday procession passes along the Way of the Cross, or Via Dolorosa, with 14 stations-each marking an event that befell Jesus on his final journey.
Rituals are based on the ancient Church of the Holy Sepulcher, which according to Christian tradition Jesus was crucified and buried before his resurrection on Easter Sunday.
Pope Francis will on Sunday, which is the last day of the Holy Week, lead a procession for the blessing of the olive and palm branches in Saint Peter’s Square, Rome, and then celebrate the Mass of Lord’s Passion.