Women’s Groups from 14 local parishes in Dar es Salaam Archdiocese, Tanzania
were invited to write their own prayers and commentaries out of their own lives
and experiences for an African Women’s Way of the Cross. The women in
Kibaha Parish gave a particularly moving commentary on the Fourteenth Station:
"Jesus is Laid in the Tomb." The woman reader first explained the important
African traditions of burial with the expressive and emotional wake, the
extended mourning period and the rituals connected with the ancestors.
Then she gave impassioned plea to remember the thousands of dead men and women
(“our brothers and sisters”) in Rwanda who were not buried properly during the
1994 genocidal war but were haphazardly thrown into mass graves. To this day
many Rwandan people do not even know where the bodies of their beloved deceased
relatives and friends are — a very painful "incompleteness" according to
African custom and even a violation of the important African traditions of
proper burial rites. As we prayed for these "living dead" at the Fourteenth
Station, we could feel a powerful wave of sorrow and compassion sweep through
the whole church.