CATHOLICS OBSERVE THE FEAST OF THE IMMACULATE CONCEPTION
Catholics is Kenema City have on Thursday 8th December observed the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary with a public procession along the principal street of Kenema.
The Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception is a Catholic feast celebrating Mary's conception without sin. Even though this feast day occurs in the liturgical season of Advent, which prepares for the birth of Our Lord Jesus Christ, the Immaculate Conception refers to the conception of Mary in the womb of her mother, St. Anne.
The dogma of the Immaculate Conception asserts that, "from the first moment of her conception, the Blessed Virgin Mary was, by the singular grace and privilege of Almighty God, and in view of the merits of Jesus Christ, Savior of Mankind, kept free from all stain of original sin."
As usual, the procession began at C-Curve where Catholics from the four parishes within the City converged. The Bishop of the Diocese Most Rev. Dr. Henry Aruna gave the opening prayer and a prologue of the importance of the Feast.
The solemn procession was led by the Alter Servers in all White vestments and followed by the Holy Trinity Secondary School Brass Band in their iconic uniform and playing religious songs to mark the occasion. Parishioners of the Immaculate Conception Church then matched behind as it was their patronal Feast and a vehicle with a public address system to amplifier the readings and prayers then followed while the Inter Unit Choir and the Children of the Holy Childhood Association matched with Marian Songs.
The Bishop, Priests (in white cassock) and Religious also matched with the tune of the Choir. While the Statue of the Blessed Virgin Mary dressed in an open Vehicle and guarded by members the Ladies Auxiliary of the Knights of St. John International in their famous Gold regalia slowly matched forward and behind them, the CWA in their popular Blue apparel and a host of faithful Catholics, some with lighted candles also followed while reciting the Rosary chiefly led by Rev. Fr. Augustine Amadu, Parish Priest of the Immaculate Conception Church.
At strategic points, the procession would halt to allow the Bishop offer prayers for specific intentions and functionaries such as the Security Forces(opposite the Police Station), State and Traditional leaders(opposite the local Court and for Business People(opposite the Choithram Supermarket) respectively.
The procession attracted even non Christians, pedestrians and drivers and riders who gazed in absolute astonishment while the Police officers controlled the huge gallery of admirers and vehicular movements to avoid distractions.
The public display of faith ended with a liturgical Mass superintended by the Bishop and the clergy of Priests at the St. Paul's Cathedral. In his succinct homily, Bishop Aruna stressed on the prominence of the feast and the role of Mary in our quest for salvation.