Shrine of Mary Help of Christians
Don Bosco Upperhill


The top of the church consists of three domes surrounding a higher dome on which the statue of Mary stands. The front facade of the church is made up of three large cylindrical walls,what look like the base of the three domes, to give the appearance of the traditional huts. Separating the domes and the walls is a beautifully decorated circular canopy adorned in mosaic.

We in Africa are deeply religious. The concept of God in our culture is of Supreme Being who lives in various places, usually in the high mountains. This concept is also developed by the Holy Scriptures which attribute the presence of God to mountains. Like Moses who received the law on Mount Sinai, Jesus would go up the mountains to pray. The domes of this Church which also look like mountain tops remind us of the presence of God, in this holy temple.
Christ came into this world to gather humankind together into the Kingdom of God. The whole body of Christians make up His Church. This unity is specially signified by the large cylindrical walls which unite to form a space within, in which the people of god would gather for prayer and worship. The African man is born into a community, lives in a community and dies in one. This community manifests itself in all aspects of his life. The African village, for instance, echoes this communitarian aspect. A man’s hut is most often surrounded by the huts of his wives, and at an outer pheriphery of his sons’ huts; similarly the village chief ’s hut is normally surrounded by the villagers’ huts.
The domes on top of the Church give the impression of huts in a village, thus expressing the communitarian aspect of the Christians living together as the people of God.
The three domes could also signify the three theological virtues of Faith, Hope and Charity. Mary, as the archetypical Christian, excels in these virtues and is surely a model for us to emulate. The continuous double lines of designs on
the canopy consist of symbols borrowed from the ornaments worn by nomadic mothers. They adorn this church dedicated to Mary, the mother of God and our mother.