Lent calendar prayer and reflection for 7 April - day of remembrance of the Rwanda genocide
I cried to my God for help, from his temple he heard my voice; my cry came to his ears.
Psalm 17:2-7. R. Cf. v.7
Today, twenty-three years on, we remember the 800,000 people who were massacred, the 50,000 women who were widowed and the tens of thousands of children who were orphaned in the Rwanda Genocide.
“Life made no sense, I lost all hope,” says Odette Kayiere, as she recounts how her husband was murdered, and how she herself escaped death many times. “I was angry and I wanted to hide from people. I fed my children but that was all I could manage.”
Odette heard of a group of women that had come together to support each other through their experiences. Inspired by the group, she set up a widow's association based in Eastern Rwanda, called Avega East.
“I realised that I wasn’t the only one in pain. There were others suffering even more than me. I thought: ‘Maybe there is something for me to do, to make a change, to help people.’”
From 20 founding members, Avega East has grown to become over 4,000 strong and has previously been supported by CAFOD. The organisation offers psychosocial support to women, and has helped women to get justice in court for crimes committed during the genocide.
In today's Gospel reading (John 10:31-42), people are angry with Jesus who is pushed to defend himself. They reach for stones to stone him. Jesus manages to slip away and avoids being seized, though we know far worse is ahead of him. Let us remember that Jesus is present in our suffering, he hears the calls we make in anguish.
Lord, help us to take refuge in you, our Father of eternal love and mercy; you know our suffering. Amen.
Watch an animation by artist and CAFOD supporter Sasha Langford which tells of one woman's story of how peace is slowly being rebuilt in Rwanda. Share this video with your friends and family using the buttons below.
This reflection was written by Thomas Delamere who works with young adults in CAFOD’s Education team.