Divine Word Parishes executive leaders’ seminar

Who are we? What do we do? How do we do it? These are the questions that the Provincial Council, Kenya-Tanzania Province sought to answer when they organized a three-day seminar for all the Parish executives from all the Parishes run by Divine Word Missionaries in Kenya from 18 to 20 March 2022. A similar seminar was conducted for their counterparts in Arusha Tanzania on January 14, 2022. 

The themes for the seminar were, The Spirituality of the Congregation, The Identity of SVD Parishes, and the Parish Financial Support to the confreres working in SVD parishes. The leaders arrived on Friday evening and were welcomed by the provincial council at the new look St. Michael’s SVD House in Otiende, Nairobi where some of them spent the night. The Provincial Superior Fr. Antony Amissah, SVD gave the opening remarks. 

The following day all the leaders traveled a few kilometers to The Common Formation Centre in Langata, Nairobi where the workshop was taking place. Fr. Hugo Calis, SVD led with the opening prayer, and thereafter Fr. Lawrence Muthee, SVD gave a detailed explanation about the Spirituality of the Congregation. After a short break, Fr. Peddy Castelino expounded on the Identity of an SVD Parish which was followed by group discussion and group presentations. 

After lunch, Fr. William Owire, SVD presented on the contribution towards the welfare of the confreres working in the parishes especially to cater for their Health Care, Pension, and Holiday Air Ticket. This was followed by an Open Forum where the leaders were given ample time to share their insights about the SVD Parishes.

The seminar being the first of its kind to be conducted in the province, there was a lot to learn from both sides. On one hand, the leaders learned many new things about the congregation, what informs and impels our missionary spirit. On the other hand, the provincial council learned a lot from the leaders, especially on how better to serve the people in the parishes. The leaders suggested that this forum be held more than once per year, and also be extended to the wider Parish Pastoral Councils at the district level. 

The leaders unanimously agreed that it was their responsibility to take care of the confreres working in their Parishes. On the same occasion, small fundraising was held in which more than five hundred bags of cement were contributed, towards the ongoing construction of Divine Word Seminary in Njiro, Arusha – Tanzania. 

The seminar atmosphere took our minds back to the days of our founder St. Arnold Janssen, who when he intended to start the first mission house and no money in his pulse but strongly believe that the money was in the pockets of people of goodwill. 

After the seminar, there was the celebration of Holy Mass together with the Seminarians a social gathering at the Brendan Hall on Saturday evening attended also by the confreres working in the Common Formation Centre. The Seminar concluded on Sunday morning with the celebration of the Holy Mass, together with the issuing of Certificates of Participation to all the leaders. 

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