According to the Church official, the only thing remaining for the Cathedral to be complete are benches, which he said would cost Ksh.14 million (US$140,000).
He said that the cohesion in SCCs and in the church leadership went a long way in ensuring that each SCC met its target towards the construction of Christ the King Cathedral.
Hinting on some of the challenges witnessed during the process of constructing the Cathedral, Mr. Simiyu said, “It wasn’t easy with the pandemic. Some Christians thought that contributing towards the construction was a burden given that they were going through challenges of their own back at home.”
Many Christians, however, he said, remained focused on the project. “There are those who left but I know that they will come back and we shall be very ready to welcome them,” the church official added.
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His advice to people facing difficulties in implementing church projects owing to financial constraints is, “Be united. It may be just the five or ten of you but if you are united, your strength will go a long way.”
Mr. Simiyu further said that it is high time the Church in Africa stopped “over relying” on donors and explained that those who used to support the growth of the Church on the continent are now dealing with their own challenges.
“Let’s stop over relying on donors because the donors are also tired. Those who used to support us in evangelization are at a point where they know that their mission in Africa is accomplished. It is time that we looked into what we have to support our Church on the continent,” he said.
Fr. Christopher Wanyonyi who oversaw the construction of the Cathedral that is located at the centre of Bungoma town said that the growth in the number of faithful at Christ the King Cathedral Parish inspired the project.
“For a long time, we observed the number of people who attended Holy Mass at the Cathedral swell and the people would follow Holy Mass from outside under the scorching sun,” Fr. Wanyonyi said.
The Diocese of Bungoma currently has 41 Parishes. Key leaders in the Catholic Church in Kenya trace their roots to the Diocese including the Servant of God Maurice Michael Cardinal Otunga who served as the Archbishop of Nairobi.
Meanwhile, during the May 8 event, the Apostolic Nuncio in Kenya encouraged the Clergy, Religious, and the faithful in Bungoma Diocese to feel at home in their new place of worship, saying, “This is your church. This is your spiritual home. This is the place for Christians to feel at home with their God.”
“The Catholic Church is different from other churches because we truly believe that in the Holy Sacrament of the Eucharist the Lord is present in the Church and will be present here when we celebrate the Eucharist,” Archbishop van Megen said, and added, “We pray that God may take full possession of this Church.”
He said, in reference to the church, “Here, Christ feeds us with his body and his blood and here we grow ever deeper and stronger into that one body of Christ, into that one Church of God.”
The Apostolic Nuncio in Kenya said that by partaking of the Body and Blood of Christ, all people become “blood brothers and blood sisters.”
This way, the Archbishop who has been representing the Holy Father in Kenya since February 2019 said, all people are a new family, “The family of God which goes beyond tribal differences that divide us.”
“I call upon you as a church and in a special way, the Clergy, to overcome the tribal differences that divide you,” Archbishop van Megen appealed in his May 8 homily.
His prayer for the people of God in Bungoma Diocese is for the new Cathedral to be a symbol of unity in the Kenyan Diocese.
“May this Cathedral bring you into a greater unity as a Diocese that the Christians of Bungoma will be that one family of God,” Archbishop van Megen reiterated, and implored, “May each and every one of us turn into that little temple, a tabernacle for the Lord, a dwelling place of the Holy Spirit.”
Agnes Aineah is a Kenyan journalist with a background in digital and newspaper reporting. She holds a Master of Arts in Digital Journalism from the Aga Khan University, Graduate School of Media and Communications and a Bachelor's Degree in Linguistics, Media and Communications from Kenya's Moi University. Agnes currently serves as a journalist for ACI Africa.