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Our Lady, Mother of God at Subukia

 

Patroness of Kenya

SUBUKIA FRIARY AND MARIAN SHRINEThe village Subukia is situated 210 km West from Nairobi, within the Grate Rift Valley, right at the Equator, in the Nakuru Catholic Diocese.The Marian Shrine in Kenya was proposed by Michael Cardinal Otunga (+2003). It was him and Rt. Rev. Raphael Ndingi Mwana ‘a Nzeki then the bishop of Nakuru, who had been asked “to look for a suitable site”. It was at this time that Cardinal Otunga proposed that the Shrine be called ”Village of Mary, Mother of God”. HistoryFollowing the visits of the late Pope John Paul II to Kenya in May 1980, and August 1985 for the Eucharistic Congress, the Kenya Episcopal Conference decided that there shold be a National Shrine to Mary, Mother of God, in the country. In 1984, and again in 1985, the K.E.C requested Nakuru Diocese, being in the centre of the country and acessible from all parts, to work on the project.In the ealy 80s there had been various reports of visions of Our Lady in some parts of Kenya. There was a lot of confusion, and even strange devotions began to develop in some places.The parish of St John the Evangelist at Subukia in Nakuru Diocese had their reported visions from August 29th to September 28th 1984, at a school compound called Magomano. Whether these visions were true or not, there was certainly, as a result, a great growth in devotion to Our Lady in the parish, and especially the prayer of the Rosary became so popular.Fr John Jones of St Patricks Missionary Society, who was by then the parish priest, visited all the Small Christian Communities and presented the Catholic Churchs teaching on Our Lady, giving the relevant quotations from the Scripture. In early 1985 it was decided to have a small Shrine of Our Lady in the parish. Fr Jones brought from Ireland a statue of Our Lady and it was placed in an outstation of the Parish called Munanda.Marian Year 1987/1988The parish was now ready for the opening of the Marian year on 15th August 1987. Bishop Peter Kairo, then Bishop of Muranga, and the first priest ordained for Nakuru Diocese in November 1970, was the main celebrant at that occasion. He blessed the site at Munanda. Between five and six thousand people attended this opening ceremony. Most of these people received sacraments of Penance, of the Sick, and the Eucharist on this occasion.The Marian Year closed on 15th August 1988, with a celebration at Munanda for the whole Diocese of Nakuru, led by Bishop Ndingi Mwana Nzeki. Again, many Christians from outside Nakuru attended.Bishop Ndingi saw all this as the fulfilment of the mandate he had earlier been given by the Catholic Bishops Conference, when in May 1984 they had discussed the possibility of having a National Shrine to Mary, the Mother of God. He and Cardinal Otunga had been asked to look for a suitable site. It was at this time that Cardinal Otunga proposed that the Shrine be called Village of Mary, Mother of God.National Marian Shrine:The title of National Marian Shrine, Village of Mary, Mother of God, at Subukia, now became official. The fact that Subukia is geographically at the centre of Kenya is significant, in that it helps to bring together the people of the various tribes of Kenya. Many of these tribes in fact already make up the population of Subukia valley. The Equator also runs through Subukia, and so it is the meeting place also of the two hemishperes.Main Annual CelebrationIt was also decided to have the main celebration each year on January 1st, the Feast of Mary, the Mother of God. These celebrations took place at Munanda on 1st January 1989 and 1990, and were preceeded by 3 days of prayer, with a night vigil on the eve of the feast day.Official Recognition of the ShrineOur late Holy Father, Pope John Paul II, sent the following letter:It is a particular joy to learn of the establishment in Subukia of a National Shrine dedicated to Mary, the Mother of God, and to learn of the programme of Marian pilgrimages which will take place throught the Jubilee Year. (Vatican, 20 May 1999) Official Recognition of the ShrineOur late Holy Father, Pope John Paul II, sent the following letter:It is a particular joy to learn of the establishment in Subukia of a National Shrine dedicated to Mary, the Mother of God, and to learn of the programme of Marian pilgrimages which will take place throught the Jubilee Year. (Vatican, 20 May 1999)

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