We are really grateful with the presence of Marzena from Poland who has come for a mission in Kenya. Some members went to the airport to fetch her, we welcomed her with some music and gifts to make her feel loved and at home here in Kenya. Welcome to your second home.
At the airport
The arrival date of Marzena was coincidental to the week of our meetings where we meet every 3rd weekend of the month and she was able to attend and get to meet the rest of the members. During our meetings we had great moments together where the topic on formation of our meeting was Vocation and Discernment. We were taken through the above topic and had fun afterwards. We also got a sharing from the life experience of an MCCJ, a brother and also from Marzena herself. In addition, we were joined by two new members, this is nice because it will help the 2new members to really know about the lay vocation and help them to discern.
Linda Mitcheleti who was away for her holidays shared with us the visit she had in Italy, the testimonies she gave to the CLM in Italy and how she taught them Pokot songs and in return she also taught us Italian song.
CLM members at the provincial house during our formation
We were to go for animation where we sell our products for our kitty but unfortunately it was postponed, however we decided to join the scholastic for their pastoral work at different parishes and We divided ourselves in different groups. Some went to Christ the king in Kibera to work with children, others at Our Lady of Guadalupe to work with the Deaf community and the rest at St Vincent Palloti to work with the youth.
In conclusion we thank God for this vocation and we pray we can give our all to the service He has called us to. And to Marzena we pray for Gods guidance in your life as you journey with us and to the community of Kitelakapel.
We had a rear moment to celebrating the birthday of Marzena, celebrating the 15years of priesthood from our beloved Assessor (Fr. Maciej) and also from the success of our former Provincial Superior of the MCCJ Fr. Austin Radol. Thank you all and best wishes.
On 22nd April 2023, four Kenyan ladies made history by becoming the first Secular Comboni Women Missionaries in Africa. Maria Pia Dal Zovo, the Institute leader, received their vows in the presence of two General Councilors; Gina Villamar Ultreras and Paola Ghelfi.
Fr Andrew Wanjohi, the Provincial Superior of the Comboni Missionaries in Kenya presided over the Eucharist. The choir comprising our scholastics was excellent. The colorful and joyful celebration marked the climax of a long discernment journey started some 10 years ago. In attendance were Isabella Dalessandro, the former institute leader, members of the Comboni family in Nairobi, parents and relatives of the newly professed.
Julia Wangui Ngari, Lucy Mutola Singa, Mary Watetu Ndungu and Ruth Wangjiru Mbugua were all smiles when they made their vows. The four started their discernment process with Fr Francesco Pierli. Eventually, he invited the leadership of the Secular Comboni Women Missionaries then to follow these ladies who had shown interest in joining the institute. Isabella and her council accepted the challenge and came down to Kenya to start the process of discernment with the candidates.
In his homily, Fr Andrew Wanjohi, thanked the ladies for their courage and faith. He encouraged them to remain faithful in their vocation. He also reminded them that to live as consecrated women outside a community will be a challenge. This is against the backdrop of Kenya’s context in which the vocation of consecrated women in a secular institute is yet to be understood. He assured them of the support of the Comboni family as they try to live their consecration and transform society from the inside. He also thanked their parents for offering them to the institute.
Mary Pia Dal Zovo, the institute leader, expressed her gratitude to the Comboni missionaries in Kenya for supporting the four newly professed in their discernment process. She was also glad to see the four becoming the seed of the Secular Comboni Women Missionaries in Africa. She urged them to live their consecration with commitment and joy. Similarly, that their example may inspire other to join and in this way the institute expands.
As an immediate preparation to their first vows, the newly professed had a five-days spiritual retreat preached by Fr Andrew Bwalya on the theme consecration and mission. Maria Pia, Gina, Paolo and Isabella also participated in the retreat. The newly professed are a small yet significant sign that Comboni’s dream to save Africa with Africa is being realized.
On 18th of December 2022, two candidates were commissioned, Maria and Belinda, who were undergoing formation. They have become officially Comboni Lay Missionaries, in the presence of MCCJ Fathers, parents of the candidates and other members of the Comboni Family. The celebration took place at St Daniel Comboni in Huruma, Kariobangi parish. We are overwhelmed with joy, congratulations to them!
On Christmas, some members joined the international community in Kitelakapel (Linda and Pius) to celebrate with them. They shared some beautiful moments and we also watched an amazing movie together as a community.
In conjunction, we were invited to facilitate the youth retreat with the mccj at Chelopoy, Amakuriat parish, which was held from 26th to 29th December. This is a great achievement for us, as we are now extending our collaboration with the MCCJ also beyond our own parish.
Just recently, at the beginning of January 2023, we had our assembly, where we planned and budgeted our activities for this year. We confirmed in their roles the leaders of the previous year, since they have to serve a term of 2 years.
In addition, we decided to add more roles and therefore nominated new leaders, so they can help the existing ones to make things run smoothly. To this purpose, we added the communications and projects coordinators.
We also included in our plan inputs from the African assembly in Benin, reviewed our constitution and later on had a moment of socialization, which did mark our occasion successfully.
We also included a new aspect in our formation meetings, as we decided to add to our monthly meetings moments of service in organisations, like visiting children’s homes and etc. For example, on the last day of our meeting we spent some time at the center of the sisters of charity, helping them looking after a group of disabled children.
We thank the Lord for all these fruitful events, the work we have done so far, the small and big achievements we have attained, the enthusiasm and commitment He has filled us with, and we trust that He will accompany us even more in the year that has just started, wishing a wonderful new start to all the other groups of CLM out there!!!
Tragicomic chronicle from West Pokot, Kenya: first episode!!!!
Why “tragicomic?” Because, even without meaning to, I already know that it’s going to be a bit like that…and so, here, I would like to share with you the joys and sorrows of my being here!
– the Kenya Comboni Lay Missioners (CLM) group is a lively and welcoming group, I am glad to be a part of it.
(Father Maciek and some Kenyan LMCs, my first Sunday in Nairobi)
– For about 3 months I will be a guest of the Comboni Fathers in Kacheliba. I need to learn the local language, Pokot (I will have class every morning), and try to get a good understanding of how things work here. Later on, together with another Kenyan LMC, Josephine (who is also already here), I will move to the new house in Kitelakapel, 15 km from here, to start our full-time activities.
– Our house is almost ready.
– During this time we will also be engaged in these activities:
1) Tamarind juice production: there are many tamarind trees in this area. We have put some ladies from Kitelakapel Chapel to work to collect these fruits. A small amount we have already sold in Nairobi, now we have to prepare everything so we can then continue to produce the juice. It will be a way to self-finance ourselves a little bit as a group of Kenyan Comboni Lay Missionaries.
(our lay people selling tamarind juice, peanut butter and honey after Mass in Nairobi)
2) Participation in jumuiyya/parish groups/associations: we will go around among the various groups in the parish, especially in the Kitelakapel area, to get to know people, make connections, get a good understanding of the various realities of the parish, and see what needs there are, so that we can also understand what kind of activities we can fit in, or possibly what new activities to propose, especially in the pastoral area.
3) Activities in schools: we will meet with the directors of some schools near Kitelakapel, to see if the possibility of giving some part-time classes can be materialized, perhaps in exchange of a small contribution (so that we have a little something extra to self-support ourselves)
4) To establish the foundations of our community, preparing our ” charter” and other necessary documents.
– We may become three! Another Ugandan Comboni Lay Missionary may join us in July. For this in particular, we rely on your prayers (because it would be a huge help, given the mountain of work ahead!).
IN MORE DETAIL:
“Polepole ndio mwendo” say the Waswahili (Swahili speakers). It means, more or less, “he who goes slow, goes steady and goes far…” And so, I wish I had great achievements already to list, but unfortunately, or fortunately, things move very, but very slowly here. I have just arrived and I am asked, rightly, to tiptoe into this reality, polepole, because no matter how much experience one already may have–and I have very little–every reality is different, and here, by the way, everyone is rightly very busy, so I really cannot expect everything to be explained to me right away, or to be immediately involved in every possible and imaginable activity.
Upon my arrival, I was greeted with great affection and enthusiasm by the Kenyan Comboni Laity, who immediately made me feel at home. It is good to feel that I am not alone, but that, together, we are walking toward a common goal.
From Nairobi I moved to Kacheliba, about 15 km away from where I am going to live, Kitelakapel. This is how it works here: the main parish office is located in Kacheliba, but the parish covers a very large area full of outstations, that is, small chapels (sometimes they look like tiny houses, and they are actually “churches”!), often far away. There are currently two fathers, and one deacon. And they cannot be multiplied like the five loaves and two fish (unless the Holy Spirit intervenes…) so the work is really a lot. Kitelakapel is one of these outstations, but the fathers would like it to become, sooner or later, a parish, and so, in addition to the little church (larger than the little chapels I mentioned above), there is a house where the fathers stop to sleep sometimes, if necessary, and which could become, in the future, the home of the fathers of the new parish. Not far away, on the same “road” (if you can call it that) the construction of another house is now almost finished, where we Comboni lay people will stay. It’s quite a big house (we trust in the arrival of new lay missionaries!), with lots of space around it, to build a hospital as well (and, I hope, on the other side, also a playground to organize activities with the kids. How to deny my Salesian origins?).
(our little church in Kitelakapel)
(Mass in the chapel in Mtembur)
(Our house inside and out, almost finished! It looks like a Grand Hotel, but then thankfully inside is much more sober than it looks heheheh!)
Joining me on this adventure will be Josephine, the Kenyan Comboni laywoman who, like me, has given her availability for this mission, and so together, on April 29, we practically founded this new international community of Comboni Lay Missionaries. She is just originally from these parts, and she speaks Pokot, and for that I am really grateful, for the help she will be able to give me in understanding not only the language, but also to avoid possible mistakes or misunderstandings or figureheads related to my ignorance of the local culture.
(Josephine in traditional Pokot skirt, the “loruà”)
(the new LMC international community in Kitelakapel!)
When the construction of the house is fully completed, Josephine and I will move to Kitelakapel for good. At the moment, however, we are in Kacheliba, both because the house is not yet ready and because we need to take the Pokot course (in my case) and experience some community life here with the fathers.
Hoping I have not bored you, I send everyone a big hug and warm greetings.
Ah, important: THANK YOU!!!!!
I sincerely thank all those who have contributed with their donations to start this new community. It is very embarrassing to find ourselves living off the charity of others, it is a new situation for me, but for anything, our own survival, expenses to start the community and any projects/activities with people, we now depend on Providence. The “beautiful” aspect of this is the fact that this somehow means that the flourishing of this new Christian community in Kitelakapel will be the fruit of a shared effort: by me and Josephine, with our direct presence, and by those who support us, through their indirect contributions. It becomes a team effort! Thank you very much!!!
Last Sunday 15th of May it took place historical event – the CLM house of CLM in Kitelakapel (Kenya) was officially opened and blessed by the bishop Maurice.
The ceremony was done in the presence of CLM Kenya (Beatrice, Margaret, Alexina), MCCJ from Kacheliba (fr. Chrisantus and fr. Charles) some brothers from Nairobi and fr. Korir – who represent Provincial of MCCJ Kenya, many Christians and students from surrounding schools and of course… the members of the CLM international community – Linda and Josephine.
Let us accompany this new CLM community with our prayers.
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