Last week, the Divine Word Missionaries working in Kenya-Tanzania province met in Langata – Nairobi, for the Provincial Chapter. This was in the view of the Society’s General Chapter which will take place in Rome in June. The theme of the chapter was “The Love of Christ Impels us”.
During the Chapter, the members had an opportunity to evaluate the gains and the challenges in the mission for the last 6. Though we have been having Provincial assemblys that occur every year, the Chapter is a more extensive opportunity whereby we look at how we have been serving Christ in our missions and ask questions regarding the direction we would like to go based on our findings. We also evaluate and revise our Vision-Mission Statement so as to make our motive relevant to the need of the current world.
During the Chapter we evaluated alos our Four Characteristic Dimensions, which defines our involvement in the world as a missionary congregation. These includes: Mission Animation, Biblical Pastoral Ministry, Justice and Peace and Integrity of Creation and Communication. Through these, we are able to submerge ourselves into the world and attend to the various needs of our people.
Again we evaluated and reaffirmed to continue to focus on the three key areas that we have been focusing on during the last six years since the last Chapter. These includes: Family and youth, reconciliation and peace building and Primary and New Evangelization. We realized that a lot need to be done still, to address these. Today we are talking of “re-evangelization” 150 years since the first missionaries arrived in East Africa. This is because, either the primary evangelization was not done very well or the rapidly changing world has corrupted the seeds that were sowed.
The experience I have especially in the mission where I serve is that, people have only very superficial knowledge of the faith they profess – the kind of faith that is based on fulfilling the obligations and the laws of the Church without a deep understanding of the content faith itself. This is due to: one, mixing of creeds, where by people subscribe to different way of worshipping without understanding neither of them, and two, because the on-going-faith-formation has been abandoned. After people have completed the catechetical instructions as children, they thereafter do not continue to form their faith. They only attend to church worship without deliberate efforts to develop their the content of their.
The Chapter was also a moment for personal-evaluation for every individual missionaries. This is impotant to recommit ourself to our vocation. It was a moment to scrutinize our motivations and what really impels us in our mission.
The Chpater was successful and a number of resolutions and recommendations were made, to guide us for the nex few years.
Fr. Lawrence Muthee, SVD