From 26 November to 14 December, the Assistant General for Africa, Fr Edward Daleng, together with the Bursar of the General Curia, Fr Franz Klein, made a canonical visit to the friars of the Vicariate of St Rita in Kenya
It was a moment of renewal, a time of encounter with the religious of the seven communities of the Vicariate and also of St. Augustine's International Friary, as well as with all the students of the houses of formation.
Both Frs. Edward Daleng and Franz Klein were able to see first hand the various apostolic activities, such as the parish ministry, the nursery and the primary school, or the social works and the formation of students, in which the members of the vicariate are engaged and exercise as part of their service to the Order and the Church in this African country.
Situation of the Vicariate
The Vicariate is a rapidly developing and expanding circumscription with thirty-three solemnly professed, thirteen simply professed, three novices and fourteen postulants. Vocations are abundant and growing. The Brothers hope to diversify and become more involved in the educational sector, where the need is greatest.
Progress in the parish and the primary school
According to Fr Daleng himself, the Baba Dogo community is continuing its efforts to improve the pace of development of the parish. The parishioners have embarked on the construction of an administrative block, mobilising resources within the community and internally, which gives hope for the next steps to be taken.
Meanwhile, in Kisumu, the friars have launched a campaign to collect donations in order to build a new church, the foundations of which have already been laid, and work is underway to set up a kindergarten/school on land acquired by the Order. The Denis Mason kindergarten is currently only a "makeshift tent" that is waiting to be set up, as it is the only existing educational project in the area.
As Father Daleng says, "the aim of this initiative of the brothers of the community is none other than to be able to contribute to the growth of the children. It is a strategic point".
The Order in Kenya: side by side with the local Church
The brothers in Kebenet are involved in agriculture and tea plantations while at the same time helping the local Church with the administration of a school. As in Mbwiru, the main apostolate is parish work, visiting the sick and elderly in the homes and outposts of the towns and villages. Close accompaniment is also offered to the Augustinian Missionary Nuns of Mariani and the contemplative nuns of Kitale, through a chaplaincy service to attend to the spiritual needs of the nuns.
For their part, the confreres of the community of Ishiara, besides their pastoral activities, are involved in a programme of social development thanks to the support of the Irish missionaries Misean Cara, specialised in working in areas of great instability and precariousness, which is precisely what Ishiara suffers from, where, due to its arid nature, the village suffers from a serious shortage of water.
The Trocaire university students carried out an irrigation project, which was later taken over by Misean Cara, and expanded it to cover areas of capacity building by training the villagers in modern agricultural techniques, planting, animal husbandry, beekeeping, etc.
This, as the Augustinians in the area and the general council itself could see during this canonical visitation, has had a positive impact on the welfare of the people and has improved the living conditions of communities to which the Order offers its full support, especially in the administration of the sacraments and spiritual accompaniment.
Daleng, now back in Rome, wanted to thank in a special way "the brothers and sisters of the Vicariate for all the good work of witness and evangelisation they are doing on behalf of the Order, and also for the warm hospitality they have shown us during this fraternal exercise".
This is the Church. This is the Order of St. Augustine, which walks hand in hand with its brothers with a firm step and two clear objectives: to improve the life and safeguard the dignity of the people who live there, and to bring them closer, in freedom, to an encounter with the love of Christ.