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.
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.
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.