40,000 pilgrims expected in Kibeho on Assumption
Kibeho, a holy place to some Roman Catholic Church faithfuls due to reported apparitions of the Virgin Mary, will welcome around 40,000 pilgrims today, on Assumption — the day Mary according to the Catholic faith ascended to heaven.
This small and remote town in south Rwanda has recently benefited from a boost in infrastructure to help it accomodate the thousands of pilgrims who come from around the world, mostly in neighboring countries and Europe.
Some local pilgrims have chosen to hit the road one week before, reciting rosary all along the way.
“It is not always necessary to have food with us. We walk the whole day and when it gets dark, we go to a nearby parish, share food with Christians there, spend the night to a parish, then continue in the morning,” explained one member of a group who started their pilgrimage at Sainte Famille parish in Kigali last week.
Having realized that the day calls for big preparations in terms of food and accommodation, George Ntarindwa, the Executive Secretary of Kibeho Sector, has yesterday convened a meeting where he called for all restaurants in the region to join their efforts and bring takeaway food for the pilgrims. “We have taken hygienic measures for restaurants so that pilgrims leave the place in good health”, he said.
For accommodation, Ntarindwa said most of the pilgrims who cannot go back home the same day normally stay in the chapel praying, while others, especially foreigners, have been booking places at Regina Pacis Hotel in Kibeho. All the places, and even two newly constructed guest houses, were booked by April.
Ntarindwa added that this pilgrimage is very important since it economically boots the lives of people doing business in Kibeho.