Anniversary celebrations at Kenya's national Marian shrine

 The National Marian Shrine of Kenya, based at Subukia in the diocese of Nakuru, celebrated its 20th anniversary on Saturday. The foundation stone of the shrine was laid by the late Pope John Paul II, when he made his first pastoral visit to Kenya in1980. Since then it has attracted millions of pilgrims from Kenya and abroad. A colourful Mass to mark the occasion was concelebrated by five bishops: Peter Kairu of Nakuru Diocese, Cornelius Schilder of Ngong Diocese, Martin Kivuva of Machakos Diocese, Salessius Mugambi of Meru Diocese and Virgilio Pante of Maralal Diocese. In his homily, Bishop Kairu, the host urged the congregation to always align themselves with Mary, the mother of our Lord and the teachings of the church. He also urged Kenyans to make every effort to keep the peace, pointing out that in recent times some regions in the country including Mount Elgon, Tana River, Meru,Transzoia and some parts of his Nakuru Diocese have been hit by land clashes. Bishop Kairu finally cautioned people to use discernment when they vote in the country's presidential and parliamentary elections later this year. The current government of President Mwai Kibaki was elected in the year 2002 and its five-year-term elapses later this year.