Shrine of Mary Help of Christians
Don Bosco Upperhill


main-doorAs one enters the Shrine one is welcomed by a large imposing door. On the door are a myriad of feminine figures. They bring out the concept of the mother. To a Christian, Mary and the Church are our mothers. Hence the typically African figures, carved in high and low reliefs and laid together in various sizes, depict the different roles of a mother – to prolong the progeny, to protect, to care for, and to suffer and rejoice with her children. The whole layout has six dominating images. They seem to lack, human look and appear to be masks. They enshrine the spirits of our Christian ancestors – the Triumphant Church, who together with Mary protect and care for the Pilgrim Church, which is symbolized by the large number of human faces that fill the entire layout. The sporadic intermingling of pieces of stained glass on the door, throws more life and light on the otherwise opaque wooden work.

Once you are inside the Shrine what you see on the door are numerous closely arranged crosses, very simply carved on the wood. They remind you of Christ. The role of Mary and the Church is to bring you face to face with Christ Himself. And as you leave the Shrine after a deep experience with Christ, the crosses on the door remind you of the Christian imperative to follow Christ carrying your own daily cross. They also bear a look of a cemetery arrayed with crosses and thus they remind you of the end for which you should continually prepare yourself. The door is made from Mahogany wood, interspersed with a few pieces of stained glass. The creation was conceived by Mr, Ex pedito Mwebe and was brought forth by Mr. Romano Lutwama with his assistant carvers and apprentices. This door is a visually stunning and artistically unique masterpiece of man’s handiwork.