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After 6-year journey, Regina Caeli Catholic Church set for crowning moment

After 6-year journey, Regina Caeli Catholic Church set for crowning moment

Source Nation Media Group

The dedication of the new multimillion Regina Caeli Catholic Church, Karen, by the Apostolic Nuncio to Kenya and South Sudan, Hubertus van Megen, marks the beginning of the end of almost six years’ construction of the huge church that will comfortably host up to 3,000 members every Sunday. 

The journey has not been easy, the priest in charge of the Karen Parish, Fr Stephen Omondi, said, as he watched over the tens of workers putting final touches on the massive structure’s furnishing yesterday.

It all began with the call for architectural plans, which were received from more than 22 firms in 2016. At least half of them dropped their bids after realising the church was not paying the winner of the bid.

Father Stephen Omondi at the Regina Caeli Catholic Church in Karen Parish 

Only eight firms actually submitted their designs. The script was simple, the church was to be designed as a crown, one that the church believes is worn by Mary, the mother of Jesus, who is also Regina Caeli, (The Queen of Heaven).

“Of the eight designs, only one firm got what we wanted, that the entire church was to be a crown, the rest came up with usual church designs with a crown-shaped top,” Fr Omondi said.

Sh300 million

The church, which upon completion and furnishing will have gobbled up more than Sh300 million, has now used up at least Sh210 million, money that has seen its capacity increase tenfold from 300 in the old church to 3,000 worshippers. It is a multiple-storey structure made up of the basement that can comfortably host 1,000, the main hall (1,400) and the gallery (600).

The funds for construction were collected in several ways, the main one being the Journey of Faith walk in 2016 that saw church members walk from Mumias to Mombasa and back to Nairobi via Murang’a town. The route, a retracing of the steps over the places the father of then-father-in-charge, James Maloba, worked as a prison officer in Kenya.

Also, several initiatives, including Changa Mchanga run by the youth, Tuweke Paa by the women, the window initiative, bi-annual fundraisings plus contributions of the church elders, greatly helped in pooling resources.

The church itself is an object of wonder, a towering circular structure resembling a crown with long arcs cutting across its walls supporting the massive weight of concrete in a building that has no pillars inside. There are only 12 pillars in the huge hall, each representing Jesus’ disciples. They hold the gallery on the first floor.

“Jesus said the disciples will be the pillars by which the church will be established and that is why each pillar has the name of each disciple, including Judas,” Fr Omondi said, chuckling at the last bit.

Holy Trinity

The three main doors — the biggest one at the back and one each to the right and left — represent the Holy Trinity. Wood from the Mvuli tree, used on the doors, was imported from Congo, and taken to St Benedict’s for joinery and art work.

Father Stephen Omondi at the church at Regina Caeli Catholic church-Karen Parish in a picture taken on December 7,2022

The art includes carvings of Mary done at the site of construction. The main door cost Sh1 million, with the other two at least Sh700,000, Fr Omondi revealed. Above the main entrance is a huge painting of the ancient Jerusalem city’s wall.

The church has three confession rooms, an adoration chapel and a fully-fledged restaurant attached to the first floor that will be open to the public. The basement will also be upgraded to a full theatre and will be soundproofed so that two masses can run concurrently, one below the surface, and the other one, above. The ceiling is painted sky blue with a dove representing the Holy Spirit at the centre. Four stars — two yellow and two blue — are also placed at the roof. The yellow ones represent the Vatican’s flag, with the blue ones for the colour of Mary.

The church has two mothers’ rooms with glass walls that allow the mothers to see what is happening in the main church but which do not allow those outside to see inside.  Senior Catholic Church leaders will attend the dedication happening today.

 They include Metropolitan Archbishop of Nairobi, Phillip Anyolo, John Cardinal Njue, Auxiliary Bishop of Nairobi, the Reverend David Kamau, Apostolic Administrator of Nakuru, the Rev John Oballa and Bishop of Murang’a James Maria Wainaina

Inside Sh250m Regina Caeli Catholic church in Karen

Inside Sh250m Regina Caeli Catholic church in Karen

source: The Star

While plying Ngong road in Karen, you can’t help but notice a huge crown-shaped structure that serves as a place of worship for thousands of Roman Catholic faithful in the leafy suburb and its environs.

The newly constructed Regina Caeli Church is estimated to have cost parishioners and well-wishers a jaw-dropping Sh250 million.

The church was constructed due to the huge demand for space for congregants.

The old church could carry a maximum of 400 congregants. However,  the new Regina Caeli Church carries up to 2,000 people.

The Regina Caeli Parish Priest, Father Stephen Omondi said that the project involved a lot of sacrifice from leaders and Christians at Regina Caeli Parish.

“We stand proud today, elated by this great achievement and we are well aware of the cooperation of everyone who made this a success,” he said.

He added that everything is possible with God.

Cloud Painting at the ceiling of the church. Image: ENOS TECHE

The shape of the new sanctuary is in form of a crown with 12 stars all around it to remind Christians of the queenship of Mother Mary Regina Caeli ( Mary Queen of heaven).

The crown has yellow painted arcs on the walls around it, the shape represents the crown of Mary.

When you enter the sanctuary, the first thing to notice is the Jerusalem walls. It is a large wooden door above with a glass window containing the image of the Jerusalem wall.

It paints the greatness of God of the people of Israel and reminds Christians that the church provides walls to protect them from the adversities of the devil.

Archbishop Hubertus Van Megan Apostolic Nuncio to Kenya and South Sudan led in burning incest during the dedication of Regina Caeli Catholic Church on December 8.

Regina Caeli church has a cross both on the roof of the building and inside the church. It signifies the salvation of Christians through the death of Jesus on the cross.

There is a cross on the inner and outer crown and on the floor extending from the altar to the main door.

The altar has a massive crucifix on the Centre wall.

There is a five-foot-long statue of Joseph carrying baby Jesus at the altar, it is a representation of the father of Jesus, the father of faith.

The Statue of the blessed virgin Mary located at the altar is a symbol of sentinel grace to guard the heart of Christians.

There are 12 pillars inside the church that represents the 12 disciples of Jesus.

The church has three doors, one at the entrance and two on the right and left side of the church which represents the Holy Trinity.

The Mural of Mary Queen of Heaven at the Regina Caeli Catholic Church on December 8.

The Mural of Mary Queen of heaven is located on the right side of the altar. Near the wall of the adoration chapel is a place for private prayer and adoration.

The tabernacle, at the altar, is the home of the Holy Eucharist which reminds Christians of the presence of Christ in the mystery of the Eucharist.

To the left of the tabernacle lies a mural of the burning bush representing God’s miraculous energy.

The parish is named Regina Caeli (Queen of Heaven) in honour of Mother Mary.

The altar is made of a first-class relic of Mother Teresa for the sanctuary.

A relic is an object of significance that belongs to a saint with significance to the past.

The relic in the church honours the memories of Saint Mother Teresa.

The Tabernacle corner Image: ENOS TECHE

Architect James Kimani said that the final product was to depict the theme of the Church which is a crown of our Lady Queen of Heaven (Lady Caeli) was actualised.

Other facilities in the church include an adoration chapel, a mothers’ room, able to accommodate 25 mothers with infants and toddlers, a sacristy, four confession rooms, a chapel and a hall in the basement.

Others are ablution facilities, ample parking and offices.

Nairobi Archbishop Arnold Anyolo said that the Church is a symbol of God’s giving.

“The way we shall use the Church for the good of our lives and our salvation is how we shall say thank you to God,” he said.

He spoke during the church dedication on the Solemnity of The Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary at the Regina Caeli Catholic Church in Karen on Thursday.

The dedication was through the Holy Mass where Archbishop Hubertus Van Megan Apostolic Nuncio to Kenya and South Sudan anointed the Church.

Cardinal John Njue among other church leaders were present.

A mural painting depicting burning bush. Image: ENOS TECHE
Stained transparent colored glass formed into decorative mosaics and set into windows at the Regina Caeli Catholic Church.
Cross of Jesus Christ