#Article (Archive)

Christians on Pilgrimage to Kungkujang 2009

Dec 2, 2009, 2:25 PM | Article By: Augustine Kanjia

The name Kungkujang rings a bell as it is inevitably Synonymous to Christian pilgrimage venue.

8th December is the feast of Our Lady and was chosen to suit the day.

The area has been well decorated to suit the occasion.

Hundreds of Christians and well-wishers gather there every year to worship, repent and pray for the peace enjoyed in The Gambia.

The roads would be busy on Saturday, as it would be buzzing with different cars and people.

Below is the full text of press release from the Shrine Committee:

"The Bishop of Banjul Most Rev. Robert P. Ellison CSSp, the Priests Religious and the entire Catholic Community is pleased to inform the Head of State, Government and the people of the Gambia of its 23rd annual Pilgrimage to Our Lady Queen of Peace Shrine at Kungkujang Mariama.

The Bishop of Banjul is pleased to invite all men and women of good will in our beloved country to this national day of prayer for peace and progress of our dear motherland and all its people and for the whole world. We pray that Our Lady Queen of Peace will intercede for us to our Lord Jesus Christ for salvation of all mankind.

This grace-filled event will take place on Saturday 5th December 2009, beginning with a solemn High Mass at 10:00am to be celebrated by his Lordship Most Rev. Robert P. Ellison CSSp Bishop of Banjul.

This will be followed by a whole day of prayer ending in the evening around 5.00pm. Come and pray with us."

For 23 years, in every December pilgrims have made their way to Kungkujang for almost the same purposeĀ - prayer.

In fact the December for Kungkujang serves two major purposes. Firstly, it helps to prepare for the coming of Christ the saviour. Secondly, it helps to calculate oneself for the pilgrimage itself.

In the same December is Christmas. Christmas is a real time for the preparation of Christ's coming and that preparation starts from within, change of heart and the love for one another.

In the early days of the inception of the pilgrimage to Kungkujang, the purpose for going there was misunderstood by some. There were more outside preparations than the interior. People believed it was both social and religious. As time continues to proceed, the awareness of a religious touch seems to overtake the previous. And today it is seen from the preparations and the prayerful atmosphere enjoyed by the young and old.

More people pray devotedly, more people do their private prayer and their enjoyment minimized.

Many fast days before, during and after the day. The zeal for going there has always encouraged the youth to be devoted and love their faith. The new and young ones keep emulating from others.

The feast of the Immaculate Conception is a feast close to the hearts of many. In Isaiah 61:10, it says, "I exalt for joy in the Lord, my soul rejoices in my God, for he has clothed me in the garment of salvation and robed me in the cloak of justice, like a bride adorned with her jewels."

The verse reminds us of the Magnificat in the New Testament. She was clothed in the garment of salvation and taken into Heaven. Devotion to her is a sign of respect and a sure way to pass on Christians' heart desires to her only begotten son for a sure response.

"Our Lady Queen of Peace Pray for us."