.- The Diocese of Marsabit in northeastern Kenya held a ceremony Sunday to officially open a shrine dedicated to the Virgin Mary, reported the Catholic Information Service for Africa.
Maria Mfariji (Mary the Consoler) Shrine, located outside the town of Marsabit, will be used for prayer, recollection and retreats.
The shrine, which took four years to build, is visible from the town. It has accommodation facilities, a library and a music room. A kitchen and dining hall, a multi-purpose hall, a workshop and a garage are being built.
The opening mass was presided by Archbishop Nicodemus Kirima of Nyeri and Bishops Virgilio Pante of Maralal and Ambrose Ravasi of Marsabit.
Bishop Ravasi, a Consolata missionary, said the diocese built the shrine to fulfill the dream of the first missionaries there, and to encourage reconciliation and peace among the different peoples in the area.
The remote diocese largely consists of semi-arid territory, prone to drought and famine. There have also been episodes of violence among the communities living there.