Listening, Consoling Priorities in Christ’s Mission: Nuncio in Kenya to PMS Officials

Archbishop Hubertus van Megen, Apostolic Nuncio in Kenya poses for a photo with PMS Coordinators drawn from Kenyan Catholic Dioceses alongside officials of the Commission for Missions and PMS Operations of the Kenya Conference of Catholic Bishops (KCCB). Credit ACI Africa.

The mission of Jesus Christ prioritizes closeness to the people of God, paying attention to their needs with compassion and servant attitude, the Apostolic Nuncio in Kenya has said.

In his keynote address at the Annual General Meeting (AGM) of the Pontifical Mission Societies (PMS) Coordinators drawn from Kenyan Catholic Dioceses alongside officials of the Commission for Missions and PMS Operations of the Kenya Conference of Catholic Bishops on Wednesday, February 7, Archbishop Hubertus van Megen encouraged the “listening to the movement of the Spirit”.

“True mission is not in the first place a matter of teaching and preaching, but rather of listening and consoling,” Archbishop van Megen said.

The Apostolic Nuncio in Kenya who also represents the Holy Father in South Sudan emphasized the missionary nature of the Church, saying, “God calls us to missionize, to go out of ourselves, to announce the good news at the thoroughfares of our societies.”

Archbishop Hubertus van Megen. Credit: ACI Africa


He added, God needs us to missionize “not by pressuring, coercing or proselytizing, but with closeness, compassion and tenderness, and in this way reflecting God’s own way of being and acting.”

The Church, understood as the people of God, is “essentially missionary”, he said, adding that the Church “has to go out of itself, to be like Christ who became a servant to all.”

“The church includes everyone, that is, inside, the synodal Church, but also those who are outside, called by the missionary church,” he told the PMS and the Pontifical Missionary Children (PMC) officials at JJ McCarthy Centre of the Assumption Sisters of Nairobi (ASN).

The Dutch-born Vatican diplomat went on to describe the missionary Church as “that centrifugal power of the Holy Spirit, represented by the Apostle Paul, while the synodal Church is the centripetal Church, the power of the Holy Spirit that maintains and guarantees the unity of the Church.”

He underscored the need to balance the synodal and missionary aspects of the Church to foster unity expressed in the celebration of Holy Mass.

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He explained, “The Eucharistic Church is missionary and synodal; it is outgoing, inviting while gathering around the Eucharist, being one in synodality, listening to the movement of the Spirit which manifests itself in the speaking of its members.”

Archbishop van Megen acknowledged the vital role of the PMS and PMC officials, saying that the missionary Church “takes on flesh in the Pontifical Mission Societies,” which helps it to develop that “truly missionary outlook”.

He went on to implore, “May the Pontifical Societies help us in our missionary outreach by contributing money and by our personal effective commitment in being missionary near and far.”

The 62-year-old Nairobi-based Vatican diplomat, who started his service as Apostolic Nuncio in Sudan in 2014 used his years of diplomatic experience to emphasize the need for detachment.

Credit: ACI Africa


The transfers he has had as a Vatican diplomat, he said, “helped me to come out of myself. Sometimes it is painful, but it teaches you not to cling to people or acquired privileges, commodities, securities.”

“The vocation of each Priest and Religious, living celibacy and the vow of chastity in virginity, is exactly this: to let go of my desires and satisfaction and to be available for the people, the people of God, the Church.”

The representative of the Holy Father in Kenya and South Sudan also cautioned against dishonesty and hypocrisy, saying, “We are ready to give, but we keep something for ourselves. I do give, but surely not everything. That is the way we are, even we, priests and religious, though we should know so much better.”

“I might be very much aware of my shortcomings, but that shouldn’t stop me from getting on the journey, into the world, as representatives of Christ,” he said on February 7.

The Apostolic Nuncio called upon women and men Religious to be available for missionary service, and added, “Many times, it is by going and doing that slowly but surely, we can leave our luggage behind, to leave behind everything that slows us down.”

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Silas Mwale Isenjia is a Kenyan journalist with a great zeal and interest for Catholic Church related communication. He holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Linguistics, Media and Communication from Moi University in Kenya. Silas has vast experience in the Media production industry. He currently works as a Journalist for ACI Africa.