The Mombasa Catholic Archbishop Martin Kivuva on Sunday presided over a mass wedding ceremony at the Sacred Heart Catholic Church in Shanzu parish in the coastal city.
The Archbishop also officiated the confirmation sacrament for 97 young Catholics in the ceremony in which nine couples tied the knot.
There was great joy as the couples lined up to express their appreciation to God for the successful event and thanked the faithful for standing with them.
The couples participating in the mass wedding had lived together as unmarried adults and had chosen to exchange vows in church. The couples did not spend anything on the collective wedding as everything was paid for by the church. The majority of couples participating had married before joining the church and had chosen to renew their vows as full members.
Archbishop Kivuva said come-we-stay and other casual relationships could not replace the old age ‘sacred life commitment of marriage’. “Couples should not settle for anything less than marriage in church to earn God’s blessings,” he said in an interview with journalists.
The man of God said mass weddings were becoming a signature feature of the Catholic Church and the same should be encouraged to deter young people from engaging in casual relationships and sexual promiscuity.
“God blesses the marriage bond when couples tie the knot in church,” he said adding that married couples should consult the church if they have problems.
The cleric urged men to love their wives and women to respect their husbands stressing that there was need for a mutual understanding between a man and a woman in order to have a respectable family.
Speaking at the event, Shanzu parish priest reverend Fr. Athanasius Madu asked the newly-wed couples to protect their marriages as an important vocation instituted by God.
Fr. Madu, a Nigerian missionary, said weddings needed not to be an ‘expensive affair’. “Church members have raised funds to enable couples have their marriages blessed in church and this is the way to go,” he said.
He said blessing of marriage was important as it allowed couples to receive Holy Communion which he noted was important for the Catholic Church.
Justus Kisulu and Valentine Agonga who cohabited for 26 years and have two children said they were happy to have their marriage blessed and be part of the event patronized by church members.
By Hussein Abdullahi