It was a joyful day as the faithful of the Catholic Diocese of Kitui gathered at Our Lady of Protection Shrine, Museve on 25th June 2021 for the official opening and dedication of the Shrine whose development begun in 2015. The holy Mass was led by His Lordship Rt. Rev. Joseph Mwongela & concelebrated by Most Rev. Anthony Muheria and Rt. Rev. Norman King’oo.
In his Homily, Archbishop Muheria lauded the faithful who sacrificed immensely to ensure that the diocese of Kitui, achieves its goal of having a shrine. The archbishop advised the faithful, to always run to Our Lady of Protection for any challenges they encounter.
“This is the year of St. Joseph, always be faithful and emulate St. Joseph in all your undertakings,” he said.
The desire to have a shrine came from the first seed of faith which fell on 14th April 1939, when Rev. Fr. Peader of the Holy Ghost Fathers came to Kitui (Museve). He had visited one of the students they had from Kitui in Kabaa Secondary School (Machakos Diocese). As a result of the visit the first Mass ever was celebrated there, and later a school was built. Later on, the Late Rt. Rev. William Dunne recommended the place to be a privileged place of prayer, retreat, and recollections. Regarding this, he reserved one room in the sacristy, which was used for prayers, which later became the first parish rectory when the shrine parish was solemnly erected on 8th December 2013 by His Grace Anthony Muheria. The Shrine ground breaking was done on 28th June 2015 and people supported the shrine construction through chicken contribution, fundraising dinners and well-wishers.
The shrine is dedicated to Our Lady of Protection. Our Lady protects the faithful from fears, anxiety, distress and snares of the evil one. In the statue, she is depicted having crushed a pot, which in the Kamba customs symbolizes crushing snares of the evil one. New Evangelization Spiritual and pastoral activities have taken a new shape: visits, contributions in terms of chicken and money, manual work, that everybody wants to be associated with the shrine. The celebration of sacraments, retreats, recollections, pilgrimages by young people, catechists and groups of men and women, clearing the ground and other means of putting up the structure have become a source of evangelization in the diocese. Many people have come back to the faith, broken families have reconciled and many other witnesses of faith, thanks to the protection of our Lady.
Rt. Rev. Joseph Mwongela, bishop of Kitui thanked all Christians, friends and well-wishers for their kindness and support.
The official opening saw the attendance of His excellency, Uhuru Kenyatta who promised to drill a borehole for the shrine from Monday 28th June to provide a reliable water supply. He also promised to support the Shrine development with 10 million shillings.
The President challenged the politicians to emulate religious leaders by working together for the common good of all Kenyans. “…we should know that if we cooperate, we will be able to build our nation for the benefit of all Kenyans. Let’s love each other as children of God regardless of tribe, colour or religion,” the President said.
The president said that it is his prayer that the Museve shrine would be ranked an icon of charity, faith and evangelism to win more souls and to bring hope to all.
The area MP Hon. Boniface Makali requested the president to facilitate tarmacking of the Kitui-Museve road to ease transport in and out of the shrine. President Uhuru responding to the request said, “Mimi sio mtu wa kurukia maneno” and promised them that he will give a feedback during his visit to Kitui County in the coming week.
During the function, a fundraising was done whereby more that 35million shillings was raised through pledges.
Other leaders who graced the occasion were; Hon. Stephene Kalonzo Musyoka, CS Monica Juma, Hon Charity Ngilu, Sen. Enoch Kiio, Amb. Kiema Kilonzo, Hon. Julius Makau Malombe, Hon. Joe Mutambu, Dr. Irene Kasalu, Hon. Charles Nguna, Hon. Joe Mutambu among other dignitaries.