On 29th January the Society of Divine Word Worldwide celebrated the feast of their first SVD missionary to China St. Joseph Freinandemetz. In Ken- Tan Province the philosophy house in Otiende joined in the celebration of their patron saint.
The celebration was held at Common Formation Centre Nairobi, Langata, for the first time since the inception of the formation house, due to the fire outbreak near the Otiende neighbourhood. Otiende formation house is the place where many Kenyan confreres have pass through among them a number priests and some brothers working in different parts of the world.
The celebration commenced at 6 pm with the Holy Mass which was presided by the Provincial Superior Rev. Fr. Tony Ammisah, SVD and concelebrated by Fr. Geoffrey Kamau, SVD the Rector of the philosophy students and Fr. Rethinasamy Amaldoss SVD.
In his homily, Fr. Tony mentioned three points that the philosophy students and all the SVD members can learn from St. Joseph Freinandemetz and the readings of the day. The first point is that a missionary vocation is by God grace that one is called to go and share his faith and life with people of other faith and culture. The missionary calling is not one’s effort, but it is a grace of God. St. Joseph Freinandemetz left his home land, his parents and everything that he loved and went to mission in China for the rest of his life.
In a letter that St. Joseph wrote to his nephew, he made aware his nephew that it is God who calls each person to become a missionary. It takes one to have great faith in God who calls and sustains the one that he calls. One need to be strong and firm in what he believes. Like St. Joseph Freinandemetz he believed in God and cooperate with the grace of God.
The second point is that St. Joseph Freinandemetz was a man of prayer. As Divine Word Missionaries to be effective and be able to carry out the mission of God, of which we are just co-workers. We need to spend quality time with God in prayer besides our community prayers and mass for us to be guided and nourished spiritually.
The third point is to use one’s personality in the mission of God. Everyone has a personality and behaviour, behaviour can be changed. Each one has a duty to work on behaviours that are not live giving and prevents us to be effective in our mission. St. John Freinandemetz used his personality so well in the mission, such that the Chinese person found him to be kind, loving and ever smiling and nicknamed him “fushu fu” as we celebrate our patron saint and the first missionary to china we emulate his good examples and use well our personality in the service of God’s people we are sent to minister to.
Finally, Fr. Tony encourage the philosophy students to be focused and work hard, for the journey may seem to be hard, but with prayer and perseverance they will sure finish their formation journey.
The celebration followed by a delicious dinner which was prepared by the Otiende community. It cannot go without mentioning the people who made the event to be colourful and memorable one. In attendance was the philosophy formation house students, CFC Langata fraters and formators, Katani community, Soweto community, Kayole community, PR Sisters and one sister from Apostolic Camel Sisters.
The feast of St. Joseph Freinandemetz was well celebrated and well participated.
St. Joseph Freinandemetz pray for us.
Rev. Dec. Anthony Musonda, SVD