To the Consolata Missionaries, the sixth month of the year is a very important month among the twelve. It is equally important for Mary Star of the Sea, Loiyangalani Catholic Mission. The importance of the month of June is in its twentieth day. This is the day we celebrate the Feast of Our Lady Consolata, and the parish feast.
This day’s spiritual preparations normally begin nine days before. In the year 2019, in Loiyangalani Parish, the Consolata Feast celebrations will never be forgotten by the parishioners. Why?
First. The parish had a Triduum, a three-day spiritual preparation, prior to the feast day which, due to pastoral reasons was celebrated on 22nd June 2019. During these three days, each day presided over by Sr. Lucy, mc., Deacon Abel, imc., and Deacon Boniface, imc., the Christians learnt about Mary’s role in our history of salvation.
On the last day of the Triduum, Deacon Boniface, imc., made known to the parishioners not only the history of the icon of Our Lady Consolata on how it had ups and downs in its life yet remained intact up to our times, but also the spiritual meaning of each and every part of the icon.
Second. The 22nd day of the month of June was the day we, in Loiyangalani, had the celebrations of the Feast of Our Lady Consolata. 22nd was on a Saturday, the day that the Church, according to her traditions, unless falls a solemnity, honours Mary Mother of God and our mother. 22nd was two days from the twentieth, hence still fell within the octave of the Feast of Our Lady Consolata. 22nd was also a day that came before the Corpus Christi Sunday which we celebrate the Solemnity of the Body and Blood of our Lord Jesus Christ, a true consoler that Our Lady Consolata brought us.
The flamboyant day began with the Eucharistic celebrations presided over by His Lordship Reverend Peter Kihara, the Bishop of Marsabit Diocese. By the way, Marsabit Diocese is under the protection and patronage of Our Lady Consolata. Hence having the shepherd of the Diocese, meant the whole diocese was in celebration with us.
In his homily, he explained the meaning of Consolata, which translates into Swahili word “Mfariji”. He then gave a brief history of the Icon of Our Lady Consolata. And thereafter he hailed the first Consolata Missionaries who brought us God’s consolation. Having received this consolation from God via Consolata, and himself being a living witness of the same through the Consolata Missionaries who evangelized the central Kenya region, the Bishop insisted that it is now our prime duty to share the same consolation to others. “If we do not preach Christ by our words and deeds, surely we shall have failed Our Lady Consolata, who gave us Jesus so that we can also give Him to others! And woe to us, if the consolation that begun many years ago will end with us!”
The Mass ended with a simple procession with the image of Our Lady Consolata from the new Church to the Grotto.
It’s worth to note that everyone was dressed for the feast. White-Red-Yellow robe for the Liturgical dancers; green dress and blue blouse (for ladies) checked-white shirt and black trouser for the choir members; Catholic Women Association’s blue uniform for women; headgears and necklaces known in this region as changa for a good number of Christians, and the clergy in white!
A feast, in an African perspective, cannot be the feast per se without some jigs, hops, and refreshments. This was done in the afternoon. There were various performances of songs, plays and dance from the Pontifical Missionary Childhood, Catholic Women Association, Choir, various Small Christian Communities, etc., and a meal. We are grateful to Our Lady Consolata. Indeed we were consoled and are consoling!