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Pope offers prayers for Rwanda

'Still today there are people who kill, who persecute in the name of God' (Photo: PA)

Pope Francis has assured the people of Rwanda of his prayers on the 20th anniversary of the Rwandan Genocide.

In an audience with the Rwandan bishops today, he said: “I join with all my heart in mourning,” said Pope Francis, “and I assure you of my prayers for yourselves, for your often torn communities, for all victims and their families, for all Rwandans.”

Pope Francis encouraged the bishops to strive for reconciliation “even if the road is long and requires patience, dialogue and mutual respect.” Pope Francis said: “The Church has its place, therefore, in the reconstruction of a reconciled Rwandan society: with all the strength of your faith and Christian hope. Go ahead vigorously, constantly bearing witness to the truth.”

Pope Francis prayed that the Marian shrine at Kibeho, Rwanda, “might radiate even more the love of Mary for her children, especially the poorest and most [gravely] injured, and be for the Church of Rwanda – and beyond – a call to turn with confidence to Our Lady of Sorrows,” by whose intercession Rwanda and the world might receive the gifts of reconciliation and peace.