NYARUGURU- Over 20,000 Catholics yesterday flocked to the grounds of Kibeho Mary Mother of Sorrow to celebrate the feast of Assumption.
Assumption Day is celebrated to mark the ascension of the Virgin Mary into heaven.
Catholics from various countries, including the USA, Uganda, DR Congo, and Burundi, joined their Rwandan counterparts to celebrate the day at a mass service led by Bishop Augustin Misago of Butare Diocese.
One of the pilgrims, Godeléive Nshimirimana, walked for two days from Kayanza Province in Burundi to Kibeho to receive her blessings at the Kibeho hill.
"I made the journey as a way of penitence and correcting my path of life through the eyes of the Virgin Mary," she said.
Other pilgrims said that the life of Mary is their example of Christianity and the event is a way of renewing their vows to her.
Most participants were clad in clothes depicting icons of Mary and carried religious symbols dedicated to the mother of Jesus Christ.
Sales of such icons and attire inscribed with Mary's image also boomed.
It is believed that Mary appeared before the Catholic community in Kibeho, a remote town in the Southern Province, on November 28, 1981.
Bishop Misago preached love and faith among all Christians and called on Rwandans to spread the gift of Mary's love to their respective communities.
The Kibeho event also marked the 7th anniversary of Radio Maria Rwanda (RMR) stationed in Muhanga.
"The radio was dedicated to Mary for her appearance to the Rwandan people. This is a sign that she is a guardian to the church in Rwanda and the radio spreads her life example to all people," Radio Maria’s director, Dr. Bernardin Rutwaza, said.
He noted that Christians have contributed to the expansion of the broadcast and a new radio headquarters will soon be set up in Kigali.
Meanwhile, pilgrims were involved in a fatal accident as they left Kibeho. 15 pilgrims were hospitalised in Butare Hospital with serious injuries.
The commuter taxi they were travelling in overturned due to over-speeding.