From Colombia to Kenya-Tanzania

Ordination of Fr. Yermith Florez, SVD

Yesterday, the 13th of January, A missionary destined to Kenya-Tanzania Was ordained in far land of Colombia. Fr. Yermith was in kenya a few years ago for his cross-culture experience, before going back to Colombia to complete his studies and formation to become a Divine Word Missionary Priest. Yermith chose to come back to the our province for his mission assignment after completing his formation.

We are most grateful to the Almighty God who has given us another shepherd to tend and feed his flock. Karibu sana Padre Yermith.

Fr. Lawrence Muthee, SVD

Divine Word Missionaries: Who we are!



God’s loving grace has gathered us from various peoples and continents into a religious missionary community dedicated to the Divine Word and named after him the Society of the Divine Word.

God so loved the world that he sent his only Son. The Word became flesh in Jesus of Nazareth to reveal the Father’s name and to proclaim the kingdom of his love. He made this love, which is limitless, visible in a sinful world by his unconditional devotion to all, especially those in need. Through his death and resurrection he opened the way to the Father for all who believe in him. By the outpouring of his Spirit the glorified Lord formed the new people of God as a sign of salvation for all. Christ continues his mission in his people: to bring the good news to all nations and proclaim the Father’s liberating and unifying love. The Holy Spirit repeatedly raises up communities which place themselves at the disposal of the church to help accomplish its missionary task.


In response to the call of the Holy Spirit and the needs of peoples, Saint Arnold Janssen founded our Society as a missionary community. We see our special dedication to the Divine Word and his mission expressed in our name. His life is our life, his mission our mission. Guided by the Holy Spirit, we follow him, glorifying the Father and bringing the fullness of life to others. Wherever the church sends us, we are to proclaim the gospel so that all peoples may walk in the way of salvation, freed from the darkness of sin by the light of the Word and the Spirit of grace. Missionary work is, therefore, the end and aim of our Society. All our activities, diverse though they be, are ultimately intended to help the church fulfill its missionary task.


St. Arnold Janssen – Founder and St. Joseph Freinademetz – First missionary to China

We perform our missionary service one in mind and heart with the Divine Word who offers us a living example of loving dedication to the Father and selfless service of others. We follow the Lord on the path of the evangelical counsels and bind ourselves to his person and his service by the vows of consecrated chastity, evangelical poverty and apostolic obedience. In this way we join together to form a missionary religious community. We propose to make the goodness and kindness of God visible in our life and service. As a community of brothers from different nations and languages, we become a living symbol of the unity and diversity of the church. Our communion with the Lord and with one another is strengthened and deepened by celebrating the Eucharist, by attentively listening to the word of God and by praying together in the joy of the Holy Spirit. The purpose of formation and government in our Society is the growth and  strengthening of our vocation and the focusing of all our efforts on our one missionary goal.



Since God wills that all be saved and come to the knowledge of the truth (see 1 Tm 2:4-5), he sent his Son as redeemer to form the one people of God from all nations through the power of the Spirit. Our missionary service helps gather the scattered children of the Lord (see Jn 11:52) and hasten the hour when all will worship the Father in spirit and truth (see Jn 4:23). In this way we promote true human progress, go to meet the Lord as he comes and prepare for his glorious second coming and the final fulfillment of all creation in Christ.


As members of the Society of the Divine Word, we consider it our duty to proclaim the word of God to all, to bring new communities into being within the people of God, to foster their growth and to promote communion among them as well as with the whole church. We work first and foremost where the gospel has not been preached at all or only insufficiently and where the local church is not viable on its own. Other tasks must be oriented towards these primary aims. Whoever joins our Society must be ready to go wherever the superior sends him in order to fulfill our missionary mandate even if this entails leaving his own country, mother tongue and cultural milieu. Such readiness is an essential characteristic of our missionary vocation. Confreres always have the right to volunteer for missionary service in another country or culture.


In the choice of our missionary activity priority will be given to those situations where the need is perceived to be particularly acute, where others are not available for the task of evangelization and where people show greater openness to the word of God.

Wherever we work, we always keep in mind that we are missionaries: we seek to keep alive the universal church’s awareness of its missionary responsibility, promote and prepare vocations for missionary service and support the missionary cause of the church both spiritually and materially.


The Divine Word became incarnate in a particular historical situation. Jesus announced peace and salvation to all those of good will, showing special predilection for the poor. This example of Jesus determines the way in which we participate in his mission. Therefore we try to insert ourselves into the actual situation of those among whom we work. With open mind and deep respect for the religious traditions of peoples, we seek dialogue with all and present the good news of God’s love to them. We show a special preference for the poor and oppressed.

The charism of our Society is further characterized as follows: 14- we accomplish our missionary service in a fraternal community of laymen and clerics; – we give witness to the universality of the church and the unity of all people through the international character of our Society; – we have the openness of our founder, Arnold Janssen, always to discern anew the will of God, and be available, flexible and ready to venture into new situations. According to universal law (see can 588.2) we are considered a clerical society of papal right.

Since missionary activity is by its very nature the work and  revelation of the Holy Spirit, we place ourselves and our Society entirely under his guidance and direction. His light enables us to understand the gospel, to interpret the signs of the times and thus discern the will of God. His strength empowers us to become faithful co-workers and missionaries of the Divine Word.

If you feel that our mission is what resonates with your deepest desire to serve God in His people, please write to us.

The Audio-Visual Factor


During the last two decades, we have witnessed how fast the evolution of both digital and mobile phone communications have changed our lives. Every day a new technology emergies and we are fast to consume, because we are told the new is better than the previous one. There have emerged also many companies and brands that sell the same products, each one trying to outdo the other one. A lot of resources are going into advertisement of the products. We are told that life without this or that product is not good, complete or enjoyable. Many of us have believed so and we are buying and buying without a second thought.

But wait a minute. One would ask what is the undelying factor behind the digital and mobile technologies that have made their combination the most influencial tool of communication in the modern man world? The answer is what I call the “Audio-Visual Factor”. Towards the end of the 1990s and the begining of 2000s, is when the mobile phones started catching momentum in our lives. Though it was expensive to own and maintain a mobile phone, many people made sacrifices to own one. I remember when I bought my first mobile phone in 2004 – Sagem 922, I stayed for two weeks without using it because I could not afford to buy the line which was costing Ksh 300, without mentioning the cost of calling and sending messages.


One thing I have noticed since then, is how the nature of the mobile phone has evolved. In the beginning, the only functional difference between the mobile phone and the landline phone was just that it was mobile. Instead of having to go to the telephone booth to call or to the post office to send a telegram, one could do these to major communication activities in the comfort of his or her bed. Slowly the mobile technology started embracing the digital technology.

This marked the begining of mobile digital technology that has since revolutionalized the mobile phone communication and as a result our lives and how we do things. The then majory audio and text messaging became also visual. Experts say that the combination of audio and visual senses is the most influencial learning and communicating tool in the human kingdom. The audio-visual communication therefore becomes the most effective way of delivering the information that have very striking impact on the mind of the person. Today with the 3D function, communication has become almost tangible.


Another interesting feature that I have observed its evolution and importance for the last 15 years is the SCREEN OF THE MOBILE PHONES. When the mobile phones started reaching our markets, the screen ocupied between 10%-30% of the front side of the phone. However, with the combination of digital function, the screens of our mobile phones have gone bigger and bigger up to 99% if not 100% of the entire front side of the phone. The incorporation of the touch-screen function has also made away with the buttons making it possible to maximize the screen and increase the visual space.

This Audio-visual-factor has become the most influencial too to capture the minds of the people and influence their decisions. Today one does not need a computer in order to access the internet and most of the computer functions are now available in the mobile phones. This has made it extremely difficult to censor and regulate the consumption of information by both adults and minors. Everyone with a digital mobile can easily access every information in the internet. This has not been helping much in protecting especailly the monors from what i will call “bad-digital-content” and what is now known as the Cyber Crime or stealing of personal and commercial information. Most of the marketing is now online and everyone who has a product can sell it by advertizing online at a very minimal cost especially on social media. It is no longer in the power of the parents, gaurdians or religious leaders to protect the children from bad-digital-content.


This is why a change of tactic in the way we teach good values to our people has to style up. There is a saying in Swahili that: “Dawa ya moto ni moto” meaning that  “the medicine of fire is fire”. I believe there is no other better way to curb the bad-digital-content influence to our people other than the same digital technology. This means using the same technology to influence our people positively. In order to achieve this, we need, among others, the following measures:

  • To create good-to-consume digital content in order to counter the bad one.
  • To educate our children and the society in general on how to access this content.
  • To make the content we want people to consume more attractive than the bad one.
  • To make our good content affordable and easier to access than the bad one.
  • To teach our people how to create and upload good content in the internet.
  • To make the digital gadgets part our learning tools.
  • To abandon the prejudice of the internet immigrants towards its use.
  • To update our content and make it respond to the evolving times.


This is what has influenced me as a priest and a teacher on to venture into the vast digital world because I have realized that, in order to make any positive influence and contribution in our society, we cannot burry our heads in the sad and think that digital communication is always bad. Those of us who were born before the digital revolution can be referred to us immigrant into digital world and those born into it as natives. It is therefore the responsibility of us the immigrants to learn the native language of the young people we are serving, and not to use the old standards and methods to judge and teach the present generation respectively. If we do not do that, we risk becoming irrelevant to the very society we want to change for better.


FlyerIn my part, I a have taken it as a personal responsibility as an educator to produce as much good-digital-content as I can. What are you doing in your part?

Fr. Lawrence Muthee, SVD



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