MISSION ANIMATION REPORT IN THE KENYA – TANZANIA SVD PROVINCE
PRESENTED AT A MEETING OF PROVINCIAL / REGIONAL MISSION SECRETARIES HELD IN LUANDA, ANGOLA FROM 08TH - 13TH MARCH 2009.
Promotion of the laity is the basis of all mission animation. Our missionary work aims at bringing communities to maturity so that they might be effective witnesses to the coming of the Kingdom. With the active participation of the laity, this witness will be muted or absent. So, “we encourage the laity in every way to participate actively and take on responsibility” (c. 109). Therefore, promoting missionary mindedness is at the very heart of a specifically SVD contribution in local churches (c.110). St. Teresa of the child Jesus who is the patron of the missions wanted to be a missionary, and as her health made this impossible, offered her daily life within the convent for the mission of the church. In many ways the laity / our Christians can do mission in their day to day life. It is our task, however to form them in this important enterprise.
2.0 BRIEF HISTORY OF KENYA – TANZANIA PROVINCE:
The SVDs set first foot in Kenya in 1984 and in 2000 moved to the neighbouring country Tanzania. It was in 1999 that we achieved the province status, which was later stripped off and reinstated in 2007 shortly after the General visitation. The focus of the general visitation was: “Our Missionary Life and Service of Prophetic Dialogue in the AFRAM Zone”. This offered us an opportunity to reflect on our religious missionary dimension and possible danger of it becoming secular. The Kenyan Province has 25 years since the first SVDs came into the country and this year 2009 the province goes silver to celebrate the SVD presence in Kenya. The Province has 27 confreres, 24 clerics and 3 brothers.
3.0 THE VISION MISSION STAMENT OF KENYA – TANZANIA PROVINCE
This Vision Mission Statement has to do with thinking GLOBALLY and acting LOCALLY. Where there is no vision, there is no progress. Life without a dream is like a broken-winged bird that cannot fly. Life without a dream is like a barren land that cannot produce any crop.
As a result of patient and painstaking efforts, the province came up with a vision-mission. The existing vision-mission statement is:
Vision: A human family consecrated to God in the incarnate Word
Mission: To allow Jesus, the Incarnate Word, to reveal Himself to us and others by accepting and sharing His offer of life.
However, upon the recommendation of the General visitation in 2007 the Vision – Mission statement for Kenya – Tanzania was to be worked out further. Consequently, a team was a appointed to work on this and is yet to come up with a final draft following the format below:
Mission Vision Statement has three parts:
(i) Vision: Indicates the dream which animates us as Divine Word Missionaries in Kenya – Tanzania Province.
(ii) Mission:: Involves identifying or better still naming our partners and stakeholders, that is, those to whom we are specifically called to work in close collaboration with.
(iii) Action plan: Its very closely linked with Mission. It indicates the more specific implementation of the mission vision statement.
The team working on the Vision – Mission Statement came up with the following formulation awaiting a final nod from the provincial assembly or chapter:
As a religious missionary Society we strive to live as one family consecrated to the Word of God gathered from many nations and cultures bringing missionary awareness and witnessing among the people who we work.
In collaboration with the local church, open to the prompting of the Holy Spirit and being attentive to the signs of the time in Kenya – Tanzania context we endeavor to enter into dialogue with people of other cultures through Bible, communication, JPIC, and Education within the framework of the universal church.
v Working in proximity with the local church
v Promoting and fostering Small Christian Communities
v Training, animating and empowering the people among whom we work.
v To initiate and promote initiatives in the province geared towards self-reliance.
v To have trained personnel for different ministries and in agreement with the fourfold prophetic dialogue.
v Promoting human dignity, self-worth and integral growth of the people among whom we work through counseling, seminars and workshops.
4.0 PROVINCIAL “ACTION PLAN” AIMED AT ACHIEVING FINANCIAL SELF-RELIANCE.
There is a need to awake an awareness that each one and each community should feel responsible to contribute towards sustaining the missionary service according to his own possibilities. Self-reliance is a long process. It is not possible to achieve it in a few years. But “a journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step” (Chinese Proverb). We need to start some small initiatives which will bring slowly profit and gain. This January 2009, we opened a boys boarding school (Divine Word High School), a first SVD initiative towards self-reliance. One of our confrere would be teaching and heading the Institute of Social communication at Tangaza College (A Constituent College of the Catholic University).
5. MISSION ANIMATION ACTIVITIES IN THE PROVINCE
5.1 MISSION SUNDAY
Mission Sunday every year is usually an opportunity for us as a province to sell out our SVD identity to the people we are called to work with. In collaboration with our students in philosophy and theology house, we go to our parishes. We explain to the Christians our charism, apostolate and four-fold characteristic dimensions. The vocation promotional pamphlets and brochures are usually distributed during this day and our students find time to interact with the parishioners especially young people who were interested to know more about our congregation.
On Mission Sunday we usually print envelopes and distribute to the Christians and SVD partners and collaborators to generously contribute towards the SVD mission in Kenya - Tanzania. This also becomes a powerful weapon in making them a lot more aware of their responsibility in support of the local church and the missions. It would awake a missionary awareness among the laity. It will be their contribution to the formation of the new missionaries.
5.3 NAMING PARISHES AND INSTITUTIONS
As a way of promoting our SVD identity in Parishes and institutions, we have institutions bearing the name of our congregation and others the names of our two Saints. That is, we have Divine Word Parish – Kayole, Divine Word Parish Primary School – Kayole, St. Joseph Freinademetz – Ruai, St. Arnold Janssen Primary School – Parish, Divine Word High School – Mlolongo and Holy Spirit Parish – Eldoret bears the name of the third person of the Holy Trinity, our principal feast.
5.4 SILVER JUBILEE
This year the SVDs are going Silver in Kenya. Its now 25 years since the Divine Word Missionaries came to Kenya. The Jubilee year was launched on the 15th January 2009 and will run till 15th January 2009. Preparations are on to prepare for this great occasion. Among the activities we are involved in are:
Publication of a book which comprises the following chapters:
INTRODUCTION: SVD Kenya-Tanzania Goes Silver (c/o Fr. Eusebio)
I A Chronological Overview of the Province (c/o Fr. Narciso)
II . Administration Teams over the Years (c/o Fr. Justus)
III. Highlights and Issues (c/o Fr. Mervin)
IV. Our Kenyan SVDs (c/o Bro. Mike)
V. Our Veteran Missionaries in the Province (c/o Fr. Arata)
VI. Formation and Specialized Apostolates (Fr. Shaji)
VII. CFC: The Province’s Missionary Response to Africa and to the World (c/o Fr. Carlos)
VIII. Our Mission Partners (c/o Fr. William)
IX. A Confrere’s Hopes and Aspirations for Our Province (c/o Fr. Tom)
A. List of SVD confreres in the Province: Past and Present (c/o Bro. Lawrence)
B. Profiles of Our Parishes and Communities (Fr. Albert)
C. An SVD Map of Kenya and Tanzania (c/o Fr. José)
5.5 OTHER ACTIVITIES PLANNED RELATED TO THE SILVER JUBILEE CELEBRATIONS ARE:
Ø Printing of an SVD a calendar for 2010
Ø Printing of SVD T-Shirts
Ø To hold a symposium
Ø To celebrate the Silver Jubilee with our lay partners especially at the parish level.
Kenya – Tanzania province though young has plans to begin small initiatives to promote mission awareness. In some of our parishes we have already started praying with the laity using the new SVD VADEMECUM adapted for community prayers and praying with the lay people. This I believe though small initiative would go along way into bringing missionary awareness to many.
Prepared by Fr. William Owire, SVD
Kenya – Tanzania Province.