|Origin of the Holy Trinity Church, Kileleshwa |
The idea of starting a church in the Kileleshwa area was mooted in 1992 by the then Parish priest of Consolata Shrine Westlands Fr. Rossi jointly with members of Consolata Shrine and the Kileleshwa Community in the area who were parishioners of Consolata Shrine. There was a felt need as there were many Catholics in the area residing far away from the nearest Church to them. A Church in the Kileleshwa area was befitting as the population of the area was growing fast.
After the idea of building a Catholic church in Kileleshwa was conceived, the following activities took place:
Early in 1992, after every Mass at the Consolata Shrine Church, announcements were made asking people from Kileleshwa to register their names. The register was always at the door of the church. This went on for some weeks.
One warm afternoon in August, 1992, Sr. Felicina of the Little Daughters of St. Joseph, accompanied by Mr. Samuel Muturi, Fr. Rossi’s cook, visited the house of Mr. and Mrs. Frederick Makoriwa on Olekejuado Road, Kileleshwa. They enquired about the catholics in that area. Mrs. Makoriwa took them to the houses of Mr. and Mrs Leonard Amalia, Mr. and Mrs. Bernard Adundo and Mr. and Mrs. Sylvano Odero, all on Gichugu Road.
The following Sunday, after each Mass at the Shrine, it was announced that there would be a meeting of the Catholics in Kileleshwa. The meeting was to be at Kileleshwa Primary School at 2.00 p.m. The Headteacher had accepted to have people meet in the school.
On the day of the meeting, people went to the school. However, the gate was closed. It was Sunday and even the watchman was off duty. One of the people, Roselyne, was a teacher at that school. She offered her compound, the first house on Olekejuado Road, for a meeting that afternoon. Sr. Felicina had come, this time unaccompanied. There were two men from Kenton College, one lady from Gichugu Road, three ladies from the slums and two ladies from Olekejuado Road. Sr. Felicina briefed the members and the Holy Rosary was recited.
The second Sunday after the first meeting, members met at the Makoriwa’s house and again recited the Holy Rosary. The third meeting was held at the Amalia’s house and the Holy Rosary was said. Meetings were held every Sunday at two and each time the Holy Rosary was said. Members were referred to as a prayer group. The group had no leader. Members used to volunteer to host the meeting. Every Sunday, announcements of where the meetings would be were made at the Shrine after every Holy Mass.
Membership started swelling as more people from Tabere Crescent joined. Fr. Rossi would pay the members a visit every now and then. Sr. Wilma of the Comboni Sisters would also pay a visit. Sr. Felicina was with the group for more than six months. She left the group when she was transferred by her Congregation.
After about one year, Fr. Rossi conducted elections and Mr. Charles Otieno was elected Chairman and Mrs. Amalia the treasurer of the group. The meeting day was changed to Wednesday at 6.30 p.m. Members started reading the Gospel instead of praying the Rosary. About a year later, the group was named Our Lady of Mt. Carmel Small Christian community. Later Mr. Otieno stepped down in November 1997 and Mrs. Makoriwa was elected in absentia and the name changed from chairman to Co-ordinator.
Sisters Pierina and Carla of the Comboni Sisters used to come to the meetings and also host the meetings. The community was visited twice by Fr. Joseph Heeley from Tanzania and Rose Msimba of Holy Trinity Buruburu and a member from Kisumu Diocese to help members grow in SCC. Fr. Heeley donated some books.
The First Steps
Other Parish priests coming thereafter namely Fr. Canzian, Fr. Cellana and Fr. Marino had similar commitment to the Church project. Their determination was to give the most beautiful gift to the Holy Trinity during the Great Year of the Jubilee.
Just as the early Christian Church was founded on Christian communities gathering regularly to pray together, to read and meditate on the scriptures, to listen to the teachings of the Apostles (Acts 2:42), so was the Holy Trinity Church, Kileleshwa. It was founded on the basis of the 1st Small Christian Communities whose members just did the above. That was indeed the spiritual preparation.
Some of the important steps taken were:
- Formation of the 1st SCC as a basis upon which the Church would be founded. After Our Lady of Mt. Carmel SCC, the second to be formed was St. Lawrence followed by St. Monica and Emmanuel SCCs;
- Purchase of the two plots upon which the Church now stands;
- Charging the Development Committee of Consolata Church with overseeing the construction of the Church through mobilisation of resources (mainly financial) for the Church, an activity which was intensively done.
Just like the Israelites sojourned in the wilderness with God, pitching tent before reaching the Promised Land, so did the Catholic Community of Kileleshwa go through the same experience.
In 1998, the 1st Mass was celebrated under a tree after the blessing of the grounds. After a while, the old house on the grounds was renovated and became the Church for about 100 people. As the congregation grew larger, it was found necessary to pitch a tent on the grounds which were used as the Church till the new larger Church was completed, and officially opened by His Grace Archbishop Mwana ‘a Nzeki in December 2000. It is from these humble beginnings that the Holy Trinity Church Kileleshwa community grew in unity and appreciation of each other.
Because of the total commitment of the parishioners to the project and their immeasurable generosity through financial and other material contributions, the project which looked a mammoth task was completed in a span of three years. The sensitisation of the community was that the completion of the Church in Kileleshwa would be an ideal “gift” to the Holy Trinity for the Great Jubilee 2000. The completion of the Church within that relatively short time, that is, three years was by the grace of God and the outpouring of the Holy Spirit that inspired the people to contribute generously.
Naming of the Church
The Church was dedicated to the Holy Trinity in recognition of the fact that all these activities were done during the three years the then Holy Father John Paul the II had dedicated to God the Father (1997), God the Son (1998) and God the Holy Spirit (1999). Based on this foundation, naming of the Church was collectively done by all stakeholders (Pastoral Team, Consolata Shrine Development Committee and the Kileleshwa Community). The choice of the name Holy Trinity was therefore most suitable in the circumstances.
Devotion: A supportive devotion of Our Lady of Assumption to the Holy Trinity was also adopted after committing the choice of the devotion to prayer.
A Community of Unity and Love
The first community (congregation) of the Holy Trinity Church had a lot of similarities to the 1st Christian communities after the Ascension of Jesus Christ that were united heart and soul. This unity is still evident even after eight years of existence because the Church was founded on the unity of purpose.
Holy Trinity Church is indeed a community Church where the congregation know each other by 1st name. They largely live as a community of faith, worship and love. This is mainly because of the role of the SCCs upon which the Church was founded.
Holy Trinity Church offers a homely atmosphere and a family Spirit.
Animation of the Liturgy
The Church started with a handful of people approximately 100 people and now has a congregation of over 700 people who gather each Sunday to worship the Lord through the Liturgy.
The Church over the years has managed to form 6 Small Christian Communities namely, Our Lady of Mt. Carmel SCC, St. Lawrence, St. Monica, Emmanuel SCC, St. John the Baptist and St. John of God. Other apostolic groups are the Third Phase, the Youth group, the Children’s Club and the Choir.
They take turns and play an active role in preparing, animating and leading the Sunday Liturgy, other special feasts and novenas in the Church. The level of participation of the congregation is quite high especially through the above groups.
The Holy Trinity offers a very good example where the laity is actively involved in the liturgical activities of the Church, a provision that is prominent in the provisions of the Vatican Council II.
A Church of the People for the People
With the example of the Holy Trinity Church in Kileleshwa, it is the best way to put Christ’s idea of a Church in practice. It is a community of communities, and a community that is active in participating in the destiny of their Church and not a passive group of persons waiting to be served.