During the genocide which killed almost a million people in Rwanda in 1994, many took refuge in houses of worship, though it proved no sanctuary to the ethnic violence.
Twenty years on, a special mass was held at Sainte-Famille Catholic church in Kigali on Sunday.
“Many many people died here,” said Oliver Kamana, who attended the memorial service, “and that is why I am here today, to remember those who died here at this church.”
The main commemoration ceremony is scheduled for Monday. In Kigali cinemas and discos will be closed for one week in a mark of respect for those who lost their lives in the massacre.