The Kiembeni Holy Family Catholic Church in Mombasa has held a mass wedding for 14 couples who decided to get married.
It was a spectacle to behold as the 14 couples walked down the aisle in the packed church service which held the celebration under the theme ‘My Family My Pride’.
The parish church in the populous Kiembeni estate was a beehive of activity as vehicles dropped couples resplendent in wedding dress one by one at the church entrance.
The couples did not spend a single cent on the collective wedding as everything was paid for by the church.
Parish Priest Fr. Vincent Alicho said the church has decided to hold the event as a way to change the perception around the marriage institution that ‘it is an expensive venture’.
“As a parish, we have decided to challenge the myth that weddings are expensive undertakings,” said Fr. Alicho in an interview with journalists after presiding over the Sunday Catholic wedding ceremony.
He went on, “We are doing this to change the culture and elevate the values of marriage which have been under attack in the society.”
The man of God said three couples were not able to join the church event because they had relationship issues. “But once the issues are resolved with the help of the church they will have theirs here,” he said.
Fr. Alicho, a Nigerian missionary said it was the church’s desire to help couples to move from cohabitation into a marriage covenant.
He commended the 14 couples for taking the bold decision to have their marriages blessed in church, noting that the church is only interested in peaceful and lasting marriages as opposed to casual relationships.
“Marriage is the best way to go and that cohabitation which seems to be popular with young couples cannot replace the old age institution of marriage,” stated Alicho adding that the event is also expected to help more couples to exchange vows in the church.
Youthful couple Thomas Wambua and Philis Mbithi said they were happy to be part of the historic event and helped by the church.
Benedict Zuma and Alice Wambui who are deaf couple said they lived together as unmarried adults in the past 30 years.
Through an interpreter said they have been blessed with six children and that they were happy that the church has helped them step out of that situation and ‘solemnized our marriage’.
The chairman of the mass wedding, Jonah Alwiga said the young generation is reluctant to face weddings because they believe they require a lot of money to do it or that they are just busy.
“The cost of weddings must be reduced and made simple to discourage young people from engaging in illicit and come-we-stay kind of relationship,” he said