Chaplaincy Retreat at Tuthu Memorial Shrine
By Francis Wambui
Every semester, the TUK-YCS undertake various social and spiritual activities. Among the spiritual other than Holy Eucharistic Celebration, we usually have a retreat day. On 9th June 2018, we held our retreat at Tuthu Memorial Shrine-Kangema, Murang’a County. This is the cradle of Catholic faith from the Consolata Congregation who celebrated the first mass in Kenya in 26th June 1902.
On material day, we had assembled at the school as early as 6am, waiting to depart for the journey. By 6:30 am atlst quit a good number of students had assembled and boarded the bus At exactly 7am journey to Kangema began with a word of prayer. We set for the journey, picking up some students assembled on various stages of Thika Road. From Thika to Murangá we had Divine Mercy Rosary, inter-phasing with praise and worship. At Murangá we had a 30 minutes stopover to ease the students to take From Kangema to Tuthu Shrine we had a sharing lead by James Ndumia about the Holy Trinity, and after which we had a moment of meditating.
On arriving at the parish, 59 and two staff members were welcomed by the parish priest Rev Fr Ruij who extensively elucidated to us about the history of the place, the various activities done by the Consolata Missionaries and how they were welcomed by Paramount Chief Karuri wa Gakure and celebrated the first mass. Not only did the chief welcomed and collaborated with them but also he was wise enough to ask for some development beneficiaries to his territorial area.
After the extensive briefing by the parish priest, he gave us two assisting priests Rev Fr Boniface Murage, a diocesian priest from Irigithathi parish and Rev Fr. Timothy Ngure, a consolata priest from Mathari Seminary in Catholic diocese of Nyeri. We then proceded to the Memorial shrine where we prayed the Rosaries of the Blessed Virgin Mary, while the sacraments of Reconciliation was offered by both priests .
The climax of the event we celebrated the Holy Eucharistic Celebration at the Memorial chapel. A lot of complements were given by the priests. Then Zachariah Wachira- the committee chairperson offered the vote of thanks and appreciation to both students and priests. On our way back we had a walk to visit the burial site of Paramount Chief Karuri Wa Gakure for a few minutes and then went on to the bus up the hill.
Even if the day was great, we had some few challenges here and there. Some of them include;
- Some students came to the school late and so inconvenienced us on the departure time.
- The bus seats were not fully booked and hence to incur the extra cost.
- On the stopover, some student overstayed from the time allocated.
- The rural road to the hinterlands of Tuthu shrine was moderately, with bad conditions at some point due to natural causes such as land slide and rain.
- Due to the state of the road, the bus had to be taken to the uphill where there was tarmac to avoid inconvenience in case of harsh weather conditions and also maneuvering the road windings up the hill, which made the students to walk all way up the hills.
- On an event like this or more or less than this thats involves travelling, we recommend the students to be time cautious.
- The event to be communicated ample time before the D-day to avoid last minute rush and also for the bus to get full in time.
- To get all alternative routes in the case of natural cause such as landslides and harsh weather conditions so as to get the place in time.
- The students should be time cautious at the stopover and not to extend the time.
The day was a success as was expected and we believe that each and every student had a good time. We learnt a lot and we as the committee can’t regret planning for the day. As a committee, we are thankful Almighty Lord, Rev Fr Dr Ndikaru Wa Teresia, our University chaplain, Tuthu Memorial shrine and parish administration lead by Fr. Ruij for making the day successful. To the TUK-YCS students whom took part in the event, indeed it was successful. We thank the officials who went out of their way to offer extra help even if they were not members of the committee.