The Genocide Survivors’ Students Association (GAERG), in collaboration with Catholic members, organized a solemn Eucharistic Mass to pray for the 15,593 families who were completely wiped out during the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi.
Held at St. Michael Cathedral on May 20, the event brought together GAERG members, Catholic clergy, and faithful individuals with the aim of honoring the victims, offering prayers for their souls, and fostering healing and unity within the nation.
The Eucharistic Mass commenced with an opening prayer, invoking the memories of the victims and seeking divine intervention in the healing process.
A diverse congregation, representing different backgrounds and faiths, gathered with a shared determination to commemorate the lives lost and honor the resilience of those who survived.
A family is considered wiped out when both parents and all children are killed, leaving no one behind.
Cardinal Antoine Kambanda, the Archbishop of Kigali, commended GAERG members for their initiative and delivered an inspiring homily that emphasized the importance of forgiveness and unity in the face of unspeakable atrocities.
“This event is a significant action organized to reflect upon the families that were entirely exterminated, with no one left to commemorate and pray for them,” he said.
Kambanda emphasized the need to reflect and seek God’s help in overcoming evil, fostering healing and reconciliation, and allowing love and light to triumph over hatred and darkness within Rwandan communities.
The Cardinal reminded his fellow clerics of their special responsibility to promote unity and reconciliation within their congregations and the wider community.
In his remarks, Jean Pierre Nkuranga, the President of GAERG, expressed how the event deeply impacted his emotions and brought him closer to a sense of remembrance.
“We hold the key responsibility to remember and pray for individuals and families who were completely wiped out. Many of them were our neighbors, peers, and prominent figures serving the country,” he stated.
Nkuranga assured that this event has forged connections and ensured that those who perished will never be forgotten.
One of the attendees recognized at the event was Liece Uwamahoro, a member of GAERG. She expressed her heartfelt condolences for the families who were completely wiped out, as well as for the Genocide survivors. Uwamahoro urged the youth to offer support to those parents who lost all their children.
“While they may have lost their biological children, it doesn’t mean we cannot be present in their lives, which were tragically lost during the atrocities,” she said.
Uwamahoro encouraged fellow youth to attend to these special individuals, providing them with solace and hope.
The Eucharistic Mass concluded with a collective prayer for peace, resilience, and the souls of the departed.
It served as a powerful reminder that even in the darkest moments of history, the human spirit can rise above adversity, embracing forgiveness and collective healing as catalysts for a brighter future.