With the prophet Isaiah, we can finally shout aloud: "We have seen a great light, in our land of gloom, a light has shone!" Cf: Is 9:1-2).
On the 12th of April, 2013, a new Paulines Books and Media Centre was officially opened at Gabriella house: a centre of light and grace. This significant event just happened a year after the official opening of Gabriella House, the residence for the student Sisters of the Daughters of St Paul.
More than 150 participants were present for the occasion, most of them religious men and women, students, professors and librarians, who would be the main audience of our new centre. The event began at 3.00pm with a prayer by Sr Atanasia, our local Superior, followed by a brief welcome address by Sr Mariuccia, our delegate Superior. She read a brief message from Sr Antonieta Bruscato, our Superior General. Sr Antonieta exhorted us to 'possess the soul, the heart and the mind of St Paul' in the work of evangelisation that will be carried out in this new centre. Sr Teresa then explained the meaning of the book centre according to the thought of Fr Alberione:
It is a centre open to the public, from which rays of light and grace to enlighten and animate people spread. It is God's publishing house; the Book and Media Centre is a church; the person behind the counter, which is a pulpit of truth, is a preacher; the products people are looking for are enlightenment, holiness and joy in Jesus Christ, and a Christian life.
Our Book and Media Centres are centres of apostolate: They are not shops, but a service to the faithful; not sales, but apostolate through offerings; they do not have customers but cooperators; they are not businesses, but centres of light and fervour in Jesus Christ; Their aim is not profit, but to serve the Church and people; they do not exploit people but are of service to them.
After this, six authors were invited to give their witness of the apostolate of the media, especially of the printed word and their experience of collaboration with the Daughters of St Paul. It was amazing to learn how powerful the printed word can be, and how far the Pauline mission has gone in Africa. One of those who gave their testimony of the Pauline apostolate was Sr Stefanita, a Consolata Missionary Sister, 92 years of age. Her sisters call her 'a Daughter of St Paul in disguise'. She has been an active collaborator with the Daughters of St Paul, bringing books wherever she went. She stressed the point that a Daughter of St Paul preaches the Gospel even when asleep or doing other jobs, because while she is eating or sleeping, someone is reading the Bible or a book published by them.
Bishop Harrington, the Bishop emeritus of Lodwar diocese and a good collaborator of the Paulines, he recognised and appreciated the work done by the Daughters of St Paul and stressed the urgency and importance of distribution of the materials. The former vice-president, Moody Awori, graced us with his presence. In his greeting, he greatly appreciated the work done by the Daughters of St Paul in the Church and encouraged us to move with the signs of times, a famous slogan of Bl. James Alberione. It was the second time he was participating in the events at Gabriella House.
After all the talks, at last, the Paulines Books and Media Centre was officially opened and blessed by Bishop Harrington! Soon after people started buying books! It was like a response to Christ in the gospel of St John: "Let anyone who thirsts come to me and drink!" (Jn 7:37). The occasion was closed with the cutting of the cake and a moment of socialising while the book sales continued! Due to the commitment of the Sisters to study, the book centre will be opened only from 2pm to 5pm, Mondays to Fridays and from 9am to 12.30pm on Saturdays.
Truly, "we have seen a great light!" May the new Books and Media Centre at Gabriella House be a true centre of light and a house of bread for the people of God in that area! A special thanks goes to our friends and benefactors who have contributed in a special way and worked hard with us to make this dream a reality. May the Lord bless you in abundance and grant all that you need to become ever more witnesses of his gospel and love wherever you are.
And to the Sisters at Gabriella House: May you be true witnesses to the Light we have received as you carry out the apostolate of the printed word! Best of wishes to all of you!
Paulines Publications Africa Launches Books on Civic Education
16th Feb 2013
PAULINES PUBLICATIONS AFRICA, encouraged by the event of The Year of Faith to make available to the people the Social Doctrine of the Church, has embarked on a new series of booklets on Civic Education.
So far four booklets are already available, namely:
DEMOCRACY AND ELECTIONS FOR EVERYONE: Gen. Ed. + Patrick Harrington, 48 pages
HUMAN RIGHTS , FOR EVERYONE: Gen. Ed. + Patrick Harrington, 48 pages
RELIGION AND POLITICS FOR EVERYONE: Gen. Ed. + Patrick Harrington, 48 pages
ECONOMY AND FINANCE FOR EVERYONE by Pippo Ranci, 80 pages.
The idea of publishing the books came up following a meeting of the daughters of St Paul, East Africa, South Sudan, Zambia, Nigeria, Mozambique, Angola, South Africa, Madagascar, Congo and Ivory Coast in 2012.
"We analyzed our current situation in Africa in order to see how to effectively contribute as a congregation to the moral and spiritual formation of our people in Africa," said Sr Millicent Omondi fsp.
Sr Millicent was speaking on February 15 during the launch of the series at Gabriella House in Karen, Nairobi.
Fr Patrick Ryan, an editor at Paulines Publications, noted that civic education has been a key factor in democratization of Kenya and must be an ongoing process as there are always new threats to democracy.
While launching the books the main speaker, Bishop Emeritus Patrick Harrington of Lodwar diocese, noted that the books are relevant to many countries in Africa that are facing elections including Kenya.
According Sr Millicent, the books will later late translated from English into major languages used in African countries including French, Portuguese and Swahili.
The beauty of this series is that it covers many urgent pressing issues on civic education in a language that is clear and accurate, and they are enlightened by the teaching of the Church and the Scriptures. Each chapter ends with questions for reflection/discussion.
These booklets can be used in classrooms, Small Christian Communities, Youth Groups, and can also be read individually. Each represents a treasure of information and guidance.
We are happy to say that the booklets are made available at a minimal affordable price of:
Eur 1.00; or US$ 1.30; or Kshs. 100/-
You can place your order from:
PAULINES PUBLICATIONS AFRICA
P.O. Box 49026
Nairobi GPO, Kenya
Paulines Books and Media Centre in your country.
Launching the Lenten campaign in Kenya
9th Feb 2013
'United and Peaceful Kenya: the change I want to see' is the theme of the Lenten Campaign 2013 that was launched on Saturday February 9 at the Nyayo stadium in Nairobi, Kenya.
The Eucharistic celebration was presided over by His Eminence John Cardinal Njue, Chairman of the Kenya Episcopal Conference and was attended by the Charge d' Affaires at the Nunciature, Monsignor Javier Herrera Corona, Bishops from different dioceses in Kenya, several priests, seminarians, sisters and the laity.
47 candles on a map of Kenya were lit to symbolize peace in all the counties of the country.
During the Homily, Cardinal Njue reminded the faithful that Jesus fasted for 40 days and 40 nights in the desert. "The 40 days of Lent are therefore a journey with Jesus. Lent should not be viewed as an endurance test but as a vital and crucial time of preparation when all energy is directed towards God and hence towards renewal."
He stressed that if Lent is observed in a proper way; the faithful will emerge spiritually stronger and better prepared for the spiritual journey. The Cardinal indicated that fasting is a mode of sacrifice. He stated, "During the Lenten season, the sacrificial element in our worship must be relevant to the world around us. Fasting is nothing more than a healthy form of diet unless it causes us to reflect in such a way as to pay the price of being like Christians in word and actions".
The Cardinal observed that Christians are invited to return to God with all their hearts and to enter into a deeper relationship with God. He further observed that individual sacrifices, words and actions are of value only if they come from the heart and are an expression of love. Cardinal Njue quoted the Prophet Joel saying, "Return to the Lord your God for He is gracious and merciful, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love." He called for Christians to repent saying it is only when they have repented will they be in a position to pray for peaceful general elections in Kenya.
His Eminence Cardinal Njue reiterated that after the 2007/8 General Elections, violence erupted in Kenya. Many lives were lost, property was destroyed and thousands of people were displaced. He called on all the faithful to reflect on these events and resolve to have a future where harmony will prevail.
"Let the language of peace be our guide. Follow the word of the Lord: 'I leave you peace, my peace I leave you'". In concluding His Homily, the Cardinal quoted Jesus words "love one another as I have loved you" and reaffirmed to the congregation that it does not matter where each person has come from but only who they have become.
"We remind you that peace is a divine gift which we cannot afford to lose. In fact our stable economic, social and religious well being will always depend on prevailing peace. We should avoid falling into the same pitfalls that almost destroyed our country," said the cardinal.
The Lenten campaign focused on peace in Kenya in the light of the forthcoming General elections which will be held on March 4, 2013. There were several presentations on peace, the most notable being by 6-year old Faith Wanjala from Nakuru diocese who took to the stage and wowed the congregation with a poem on peace, challenging the faithful to maintain peace as she waved a miniature Kenyan flag.
Source: CISA-NAIROBI, February 12, 2013
POPE'S LENTEN MESSAGE 2013
6th Feb 2013 BELIEVING IN CHARITY CALLS FORTH CHARITY
On Friday, 1st February, Pope Benedict XVI's message for Lent 2013 with its theme: "Believing in charity calls forth charity", was published at the Vatican. The document is divided into four sections focusing on: Faith as a response to the love of God, Charity as life in faith, The indissoluble interrelation of faith and Charity, and The priority of faith, primacy of charity.
1. Faith as a response to the love of God
In my first Encyclical, I offered some thoughts on the close relationship between the theological virtues of faith and charity. Setting out from Saint John's fundamental assertion of the Christian life: "We have come to know and to believe in the love God has for us", I observed that "Being Christian is not the result of an ethical choice or a lofty idea, but the encounter with an event, a person, which gives life a new horizon and a decisive direction. Since God has first loved us, love is no longer a mere 'command'; it is the response to the gift of love with which God draws near to us."
Faith is needed for all Christians, especially for health care workers so "that encounter with God in Christ will awaken their love and open their spirits to others. As a result, love of neighbour will no longer be for a commandment imposed, but a faith which becomes active through love." Christians have been conquered by Christ's love, and they are profoundly open to love their neighbour in concrete ways. This attitude arises primarily from the consciousness of being loved, forgiven, and even served by the Lord, who bends down to wash the feet of the Apostles and offers himself on the Cross to draw humanity into God's love. "Faith tells us that God has given his Son for our sakes and gives us the victorious certainty that it is really true: God is love! Love is the light – the only light that always illuminates a world grown dim and gives us the courage needed to keep living and working". "Love grounded in and shaped by faith," is the principal distinguishing mark of Christians.
2. Charity as life in faith
The entire Christian life is a response to God's love. The "yes" of faith begins the radiant story of our friendship with the Lord, which fills and gives full meaning to our whole life. Accepting his gratuitous love, God wants to transform us profoundly that we may be able to say with Saint Paul: "It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me". Faith is knowing the truth and adhering to it as we enter into friendship with the Lord; charity is "walking" in the truth, where this friendship is lived and cultivated. Faith enables us to recognise the gifts that the good and generous God has entrusted to us; charity makes them fruitful.
3. The indissoluble interrelation of faith and charity
Faith and charity are two theological virtues which are intimately linked. Christian life consists in continuously climbing the mountain to meet God, and then coming back down; they bear the love and strength drawn from him, so as to serve their brothers and sisters with God's own love. The relationship with God must always be the priority, and any true sharing of goods, in the spirit of the Gospel, must be rooted in faith. Sometimes we tend to reduce the term "charity" to solidarity or simply humanitarian aid. It is important, however, to remember that the greatest work of charity is evangelisation, which is the "ministry of the Word". There is no action more beneficial towards one's neighbour than to break the bread of the Word of God, to share with him the Good News of the Gospel, and to introduce him to a relationship with God. Evangelisation is the highest and the most integral promotion of the human person. The Servant of God, Pope Paul VI wrote in the Encyclical Populorum Progressio, "The proclamation of Christ is the first and principal contributor to development."
Essentially, everything proceeds from Love and tends towards Love. God's gratuitous love is made known to us through the proclamation of the Gospel. Faith without works is like a tree without fruit: the two virtues imply one another. Lent invites us, through the traditional practices of the Christian life, to nourish our faith by careful and extended listening to the Word of God and by receiving the sacraments, and at the same time to grow in charity and in love for God and neighbour, not least through the specific practices of fasting, penance and almsgiving.
4. Priority of faith, primacy of charity
Like any gift of God, faith and charity have their origin in the action of one and the same Holy Spirit, the Spirit within us that cries out "Abba, Father", and makes us say: "Jesus is Lord!" and "Maranatha!".
Faith, as gift and response, causes us to know the truth of Christ as Love incarnate and crucified, as full and perfect obedience to the Father's will, and infinite divine mercy towards our neighbour. Faith implants in hearts and minds the firm conviction that only this Love is able to conquer evil and death. Faith invites us to look towards the future with the virtue of hope, in the confident expectation that the victory of Christ's love will come to its fullness. The relationship between faith and love resembles the two fundamental sacraments of the Church: Baptism and Eucharist. Baptism precedes the Eucharist, the Eucharist being the fullness of the Christian journey. In a similar way, faith precedes charity, but faith is genuine only if crowned by charity. Everything begins from the humble acceptance of faith, but has to arrive at the truth of charity, "knowing how to love God and neighbour", which remains forever, as the fulfilment of all the virtues.
Dear brothers and sisters, in this season of Lent, as we prepare to celebrate the event of the Cross and Resurrection – in which the love of God redeemed the world and shone its light upon history – I express my wish that all of you may spend this precious time rekindling your faith in Jesus Christ, so as to enter with him into the dynamic of love for the Father and for every brother and sister that we encounter in our lives.
For this intention, I raise my prayer to God, and I invoke the Lord's blessing upon each individual and upon every community!
Excerpts from Vatican Radio, 01-02-2013
***Note: For full text click the Link below >>> Source: vatican.va
CATHOLIC DIOCESE OF MERU BECOMES OF AGE
17th Dec 2011 The Centenary Celebrations
Saturday 17th December 2011, marked the centenary of the Diocese of Meru since the faith was brought to that region by the missionaries. This day witnessed a joyful crowd of Catholics gathered at Nkubu Seminary grounds in praise and thanksgiving to God for the gift of faith, the seed planted by the missionaries in the year 1911. This faith found root and grew in the hearts of majority of the people of Meru, through the pre-colonial periods, the colonial era, and today in the post-colonial era the Diocese has become of age. This faith has grown in the midst of political upheavals¸ technological advancement, and the criticism directed towards it in modern times.
The fruits of this endeavour of the missionaries are visible in the many parishes existent in Meru diocese, in the number of schools and hospitals that they initiated for the people, and in the number of local clergy and religious serving in the diocese. Besides, many political leaders hailing from Meru testified that they too had a missionary background in their academic training, which has also fostered their growth in their careers. The Eucharistic celebration was presided over by His Eminence Cardinal John Njue (Archbishop of Nairobi) and seven other bishops. The occasion was also graced by the president of Kenya, His Excellency Mwai Kibaki, who, in his speech reminded all the people gathered to work for the betterment of their brothers and sisters following the example and spirit of the missionaries.
This day of joy and gladness indicated the potentiality of growth in the faith as a reality lived among the Meru people, and an invitation to the people to become heralds of good news to the others. By Sr Anne Kiragu, fsp