Groundbreaking-Gratitude and Opportunity
Date: 6th November 2016
Groundbreakings usually signify the beginning of construction. They are the visible beginning of a milestone. For the family of Regina Caeli-Karen, it marks an exciting milestone, bringing to fruition the dream that the then parish priest-Fr. Paul Kanyi and the Parish Pastoral Council (PPC) members had in 2010 of expanding the church. The plan changed from expanding the current church to building a new one in 2013, a resolution reached by the members of the PPC after prayers and deliberations with the Small Christian Communities. There were three main reasons behind this decision:
- Expanding the current church would have constraints on the architect, given that the current church is more than 60 years old and there are some walls that cannot be demolished as they are sentimental. The PPC members saw it fit to give the architect free-will to give the parishioners a bigger sanctuary
- Given the newly acquired land that was previously being used by St. Mary’s Primary School, the parish had more space and property to build a bigger sanctuary
- To blend in with the population growth of Karen
This groundbreaking for the new sanctuary is a result of about four years of planning, patience and persistence. This is phase one of this great project. The expansion of the church was necessitated by the growing number of parishioners and visitors to the parish, and the current church is not able to accommodate this growing number. The new sanctuary will be able to accommodate 2000 people, up from the 700 (400 inside and 300 in the tent) which the current church currently accommodates.
On the 6th day of November 2016, the parishioners of Regina Caeli, led by Frs. Omondi, Maloba, Kiarie, Sylvester and Martin Ndegwa, held the groundbreaking for the new sanctuary, and held special prayers before commencement of construction. It was indeed a way of thanking the people who had made this project possible. It was a joyous occasion for the many parishioners and well-wishers who have been involved in the conceptualization and shaping of the new sanctuary, as well as organizing and directing the ‘Journey of Faith’ fundraising walk.
Aside from financial contribution, parishioners have the obligation to faithfully perform their duties of prayer, sacrifice and gratitude in order to contribute to the construction of the sanctuary. With the Triune God, we begin this great task. We do so with great boldness, confidence, optimism and gratitude for nothing is too hard for the LORD. This means that not only is God our beginning and our end, but He is also every point in between. As the community of Regina Caeli, we want to focus in God and not ourselves, to bring glory to God and not to ourselves. We are at the beginning of a momentous building project. Monies have been raised, plans have been drawn, committees have met, decisions have been made… but for this project to endure, for it to be lasting, our focus needs to be on God.
Like the leaders and builders before us, the beginning that we are marking has required leadership, foresight, careful planning and philanthropy. Each of the parishioners and visitors present during the groundbreaking has played a special role in where we are today.
Ephesians 3:20-21…Now to Him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to His power that is at work within us, to Him be the glory in the Church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever AMEN.
Ground Breaking Time Line
|2010:||Parish priest Fr. Kanyi and PPC come up with resolution to expand Regina Caeli Catholic Church|
|2011:||Architects invited to draw representations for the expanded church|
|2011:||Designs for the priests house drawn, approved and construction of new priests house begins|
|2013:||Plan changes from expansion to Building of new church|
|2014:||Architects invited to draw representations of new sanctuary, final drawings approved|
|2014:||Space found for the new church on grounds belonging to Regina Caeli but occupied by St. Mary’s Primary School|
|February 2015:||Approval granted and MOU signed for demolition of current structures and putting up of new classroom block at St Mary’s Primary School|
|December 2015:||Construction begins of new school block|
|12th March 2016:||Journey of Faith fundraising walk Begins|
|21st May 2016:||Journey of Faith fundraising walk Ends|
|August 2016:||Construction is completed and pupils begin using classrooms|
|August 2016:||Demolition of classrooms occupying Regina Caeli land begins|
|November 2016||Official Ground Breaking|
Some Thoughts and Comments from the Christians
Sr. Felistus Mukima: Daughters of St. Ann working in Regina Caeli as a Catechist
“I want to encourage all the Christians and parishioners of Regina Caeli to continue contributing generously to the church for we know that one day we will be happy to celebrate the Holy Mass in the new sanctuary. We are all encouraged to continue being generous to the Lord for we know whatever we give, the Lord will continue to bless us in our lives.”
Denis Kyalo: Mass Altar Server, Regina Caeli
“Building a new church is good because that is where we will be praying and worshiping our God!
We need to build a big church like St. John so that all Christians can fit inside.
Elishifa Lenkare: Parishioner, St. John Karinde Outstation
“I am very happy because of the parishioners thinking of expanding our sanctuary. Even though we don’t get to use the church it is okay because we know our children and our children’s children will be happy and they will find that we had them in mind when planning to build a new sanctuary. The journey ahead is not easy but let us be hopeful and courageous. Even a journey of 100 metres begins with that one step, and we have taken that step, so without losing hope, we are going to make it.”
Daniel Njoroge: PMC Member, St. John Karinde Outstation
“I can say the new sanctuary is good also for the Church in Karinde. We are so happy about it! I remember in month of the rosary when we came for prayers in the hall, we had a lot of trouble as we could not all fit. In the new church we will have a lot of space for everyone.”
Olivia Mwende: Parishioner Regina Caeli Catholic Church
“I believe that we are so going to make it! That we are going to build this sanctuary together when we cooperate and we give our funds we are going to make it! Give all that you have and the Lord will bless you. Giving, giving, giving….that’s all we can do for now.”
Bernard Mose Mandere: Parishioner, Regina Caeli Karen
“What I’ve seen is the spirit of cooperation. Obviously it has been assisted by the good leadership of the resident priests Fr. Omondi, Fr. Maloba, and Fr. Kiarie, the task force and all the leaders working on the project. My only prayer is going forward that all parishioners can cooperate as it is not going to be a few days job but perhaps even many years of continuous contribution and effort.”
Patience Kisiula: Regina Caeli Sunday School
“It’s a good thing that we are going to build a new church. We are going to get places to sit so then other people can come to our church.”
Edward Karanja: Coordinator, Friends of Regina Caeli
“The process started very well, I like the enthusiasm that people have and the strength that we have started this process with. It is definitely a clear indication that this journey is achievable.”
Natalie Wanjiru: Regina Caeli Sunday School
“When we build a new church people are going to be happy and they will also be coming every time to praise the Lord in the new church.”
Joseph Mathende: Theologian and member of the Catholic Justice and Peace Commission
“We need to be weary of the negative word of mouth where some people think that KShs 250 million is too much; that they cannot afford it. The truth is that however much time it will take, your contribution will be positive one and a new sanctuary will be built. Keep up the spirit and God will touch it!”
Susan Nduku: Treasurer, Regina Caeli Parish Youth Group
“This idea to have a new sanctuary is a very good one. I believe that with faith and God’s will we are going to make it. We are going to come up with a place where everyone will come and worship.”
Francisca Kamuthu: Chairperson, St. Gregory 9.30am Mass Choir at Regina Caeli
“Generally this day has been wonderful from the planning to the execution. The mass went on very well; the singing was good, all the three choirs coordinated very well. What touched me most was the way Fr. Omondi remembered the people who had contributed to the building of the new sanctuary and had passed on. For us we still have an opportunity to do more. The message is do it now!”
Compiled By Catherine Muteithia and James Chege