St. Joseph Freinandemetz, the Model of SVD Formation

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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

St. Joseph Freinademetz

The community of ST. JOSEPH FRIENADEMETZ HOUSE, NAIROBI is preparing itself to celebrate the feast of its Patron saint, ST. JOSEPH FRIENADEMETZ. Part of the spiritual preparations include novena to ST. JOSEPH FRIENADEMETZ, which is going on currently, singing practice for the solemn mass on the feast day on and meetings to plan for the liturgy of the day.

The community also will have a short recollection on Sunday, 28th January 2018 as an inner preparation to celebrate the life of our First Missionary to China. The feast will culminate on 29th January 2018 with a solemn eucharist to be led by FR. TONY AMISSAH, SVD, the provincial superior and a fellowship meal for all the confreres and guests who will celebrate this great day. May our great missionary ST. JOSEPH FRIENADEMETZ continue to inspire and intercede for the community of ST. JOSEPH FRIENADEMETZ HOUSE. Kindly remember the ST. JOSEPH FRIENADEMETZ HOUSE community on 29th January in a special way and pray for them.

Fr.  Rethinasamy Amaldoss, SVD

Being Christ to them

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When I was growing up as a little boy and a mass server in our village Church, I desired so much to be like the Italian Fr. Domenici, a Consolatta missionary who worked in our parish. What fascinated me most was his mastery of my mother tongue and above all the accent in which he pronounced his “carefully selected” words, so as to break the word for us on that only Sunday in a month that we got mass.  the parish had 21 chapels in the villages some as far as 20 kilometers away. The rest of the Sundays of the month, either the catechist or one of the church leaders would preach.

Later on, after I had completed my secondary school education in the minor seminary not far from home, the people in my church, now another chapel closer to my home, which was split from the main church, deemed me qualified to preach on some Sundays when the priest was not coming. I also had felt called and capable and was courageous enough to do so. I would prepare very well the readings and write down the main themes. I would also choose a phrase that summarised the message from the readings and tried to relate it to the reality we lived in the village. But preaching in the village is not an easy thing, one had to be very careful otherwise someone would complain later that you were targeting them in your preaching.

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It was while in the minor seminary that my desire to become a priest evolved and became clear, but not without the guidance of the spiritual directors who accompanied us in the seminary. One of the many things I learnt then was that: one had to have a clear MOTIVE for which he wanted to become a priest and no matter what happened, that motive had to remain alive. Later on, I would reflect and understand that this was, after all, what made the difference.

So in my many moments of introspection and retrospection along the many years of formation in the major seminary, 12 to be precise, that took place in Kenya, Tanzania Ghana and Spain, I came to realize that the motivation for which I wanted to become a priest was TO SHARE THE MANY GIFTS that God had endowed me with since my childhood, with the world, especially with the young people. Myles Monroe in His boo”Release your Potential” talks of God having created us so special that each one of us has something so unique that it is irrepetible in the history of the world. If we do not discover and exercise that, we will die with it and therefore the world will never come to benefit from it. As I read through the gospels, I always was fascinated by the many facets of the person of Jesus – the Jesus of Nazareth, a very talented and very motivated person. He was a Jack of all trades and a master of all and with a lot of energy to serve the people. I wanted to be like him, yes literally. Later on I would learn the meaning and the seriousness of that desire.

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This motivation has evolved a great deal since then and by the time I was ordained, I had developed a concrete philosophy and conviction about it, that has seen me widen significantly the spectrum of my contribution to bring God’s love to the people I serve and be Christ to them. If there is something that I have come to cherish and look up to as a missionary, is the conviction that whenever someone comes to me he or she need not encounter my personality alone but syncronized with that of Jesus, with all that means. This is why Catholic priests are called “Father”, to denote the “fatherhood” of God revealed by Christ. That the FACE and the ATTITUDE towards the people, no matter who they are or where they come from, may be that of the Jesushimself.

This could not have been put more vividly than it was done by my nieces and nephews in the refrain of the poem dedicated to me on my ordination to the priesthood, that: “It will not be for you, but always for others”. These words still ring in my ears and mind long after and keeps on shaping and inspiring my apostolate especially when the going becomes difficult, that it is not for me but always for others. I think this is a very important aspect of a missionary’s job description that need to encourage and motivate one to forge ahead despite the failures and challenges. Far away from home and with many limitations, surely one has to have a very good reason  and motivation for waking up every morning and going about his daily chores and meeting the people as the come, without counting the opportunity cost for his most fundamental choice.

Looking at it in a different angle, I realize that this is one of the greatest gifts that one can ever ask of the Lord, to take part in his mission and know that, He the Lord of the mission, is with him and guides him every day and in everything. The  modern world has trivialized many important things in life, but this one has a life of its own, because no matter how much they try to discredit its fundamentals, it does not seem to lose its relevancy. It has to be by all means the will and the doing of the Lord who wants to meet and bless his people in a very tangible and realistic way. No matter how severe the challenges get, one always finds that typical consolations, that “it is I who called you, do not worry about what you will say or do, just leave it to me and go about what I have asked of you”. With this kind of almost tangible confirmation and consolation, one finds strength to start a new and with a renewed spirit continues to be Christ to them.

 

Fr. Lawrence Muthee, SVD

 

St. Arnold Janssen

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St. Arnold Janssen, Founder

On every 15th day of the month of January, the Arnoldus family, that is: The Divine Word Missionaries, The Sisters Servants of the Holy Spirit, the Sisters Servants of the Holy Spirit of Perpetual Adoration and the Friends of SVD – our lay partners, mark the feast of our founder, St. Arnold Janssen.

Though he did not leave his homeland to go for mission, he is perhaps one of the greatest missionaries, whose calling has contributed greatly to the missionary aspect of the Church. Born on November 5,  1837, St. Arnold was ordained a diocesan priest  for the diocese of Muenster in 1861. He was assigned to teach mathematics in a secondary school in Bocholt. Little by little, St. Arnold developed a deep concern for the universal mission of the Church, leading him to find three religious congregation within: Two missionary congregations to form missionaries and send them to the far mission lands and one contemplative congregation with the motive of praying for the missionary two.

Today, there are more than 10,000 priest, brothers and nuns working in more than 70 countries in all the 5 continents, together with thousands of lay partners, bringing the Word of God to the people. Here in Kenya-Tanzania province, our presence has been very significant in the life of the Church.

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On this year’s feast day, the confreres in Arusha disctrict marked the feast with their lay partners: Friends of Divine Word Missionaries, commonly know as Friends of SVD. The holy mass was led by Fr. Anthony Ammissah, the SVD Kenya-Tanzania provincial, who has been on visit to the district, and the homily was given by Fr. Rethinasamy Amaldoss, the Superior Delegatus who is also in charge of the lay partners in the province. The celebration took Place at St. Joseph the Worker Parish in Olasiti, Arusha.

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We are humbled and grateful to God for calling us to serve him in this missionary family: the Arnoldus Family. May Almighty God continues to inspires us to be better missionaries and imitate Christ in bringing the Kingdom of Heaven on earth.

Fr. Lawrence Muthee, SVD.

Provincial’s Visit

 

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This weekend we the confreres in Arusha SVD district have been graced by the visit of our Provincial Superior Fr.  Tony Amissah.  Accompanying him is Fr.  Joseph, Fr. Samy and Fr. Marcelo. Fr.  Samy is on a special invitition to preach in St.  Joseph the Worker parish in Olasiti,  where he celebrated the masses today.

On Friday and Saturday they visited our Maasai Parishes in Orkesumet and Simanjiro.

We thank them all for spending some time with us.  Karibuni tena.

Fr.  Lawrence Muthee,  SVD