Kigali (Fides Service) – “Kibeho Marian shrine must become a beacon of faith, hope and peace for the region of the Great Lakes and all of central Africa”. This is the wish voiced by Bishop Augustin Misago of Gikongoro in Rwanda, on the eve of the consecration of Kibeho Marian Shrine on May 31. “In an Africa disrupted by so many wars and persecutions we turn to Mary to guide us along the road to peace” says Bishop Misago whose diocese includes the shrine of Our Lady of Kibeho.
The Bishop says preparation has been intense and nation wide: “The consecration of the Shrine will be the culminating event of this Marian month of May, which we have lived even more intensely this year since it is also the Year of the Rosary. All the parishes and religious communities in the diocese are making a novena in preparation for the Consecration on 31 May, the feast of the Visitation. What is more every diocese in Rwanda has been making special spiritual preparation for the May 31 event”.
Bishops of neighbouring countries will come for the celebration as a sign of unity of Sister Churches.
At Kibeho between 1981 and 1989, the Blessed Virgin Mary is said to have appeared to a group of children. After lengthy and careful examination of the evidence presented, on 29 June 2001 the local Ordinary gave approval to the apparitions. The first apparition was seen by 16 year old Alphonsine Mumureke. Later she was joined by two other girls with whom she had apparitions of the Blessed Virgin Mary until 1989.
On Friday 30 May Fides Service will offer its readers in-depth information on the situation of the country and the history and activity of the Catholic Church in Rwanda. LM (Fides Service 23/5/2003 EM lines 26 Words: 300)