, 25 September, 2019 / 2:47 AM
Catholic families from Kenya living in the United Kingdom (UK) are seeking to continue practicing their faith the same way their African counterparts do, being part of Small Christian Communities (SCCs) and forming relevant associations, Alice Muchiri who recently addressed members of Catholic Women Association (CWA) UK branch testified to ACI Africa.
“The first gathering that I joined was a Small Christian Community Mass,” Ms. Muchiri told ACI Africa in an exclusive interview Tuesday.
“I was so impressed because to them (Kenyans in UK) a Small Christian Community is a gathering of Kenyan families with the unique attendance of all family members including spouses and children both young and teenagers,” Ms. Muchiri explained, appreciating the inclusive nature of SCCs formed by Kenyan Catholics living in the UK.
A parishioner of St. Michael the Archangel Parish, Langata in Nairobi and a commissioned member of CWA, Ms. Muchiri was invited to the UK to give a talk to already commissioned members of CWA UK branch and 48 others who would be commissioned on September 21.
The one-day seminar, which took place in the city of Coventry focused on the origin of CWA and its evolution, the character of a Catholic woman, her role in the Church, in the family and in the society.
The mother of two young adults recalled her input on “the Exhortation of St. John Paul II in 1980 when he defined the role and responsibility of the lay in the Church, which led to the founding of the CWA.”
“I also spoke about St. Monica as the Patron saint of CWA,” Ms. Muchiri who is a volunteer Coordinator of the African Catholic Legislators Network (ACLN) told ACI Africa and acknowledged Archbishop emeritus Peter Kairu as “the patron of CWA-UK who has done so much to give them (members of CWA-UK) ongoing formation.”
She explained the genesis of CWA UK saying, “Besides SCCs, a group of Kenyan women found it better to come together as an association to have an identity of CWA, and through their social networks they were able to attract other (Kenyan) women to join the association.”
“They (CWA) insist on remaining Catholics with the Catholic faith they received when back at home in Africa,” Ms. Muchiri said and added in reference to Catholic African living in the UK, “They have carried the African Catholic faith and inspirations to the UK.”
Ms. Muchiri who is also a social entrepreneur and serves at the Nairobi-based Secretariat of Catholic Members of Parliament on voluntary terms expressed her appreciation for the efforts Kenyan Catholics in western countries are making to keep their Christian faith.
“It is important to see our Kenyans in the West bringing up their children in the faith,” she said.
“While in UK I also attended a thanksgiving Mass for the Ugandan Community (for one of the African Priest's Silver Jubilee of priesthood) in London which was celebrated by our own Archbishop Peter Kairu,” Ms. Muchiri recalled.
“Again, this brought out the beauty the Ugandans too have carried to the UK from an African Catholic cultural perspective,” she said and added, “It reminded me on the inculturation of our faith that came with the African Synod.”
According to a variety of reports, there are well over 200,000 Kenyans living in the UK.
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ACI Africa was officially inaugurated on August 17, 2019 as a continental Catholic news agency at the service of the Church in Africa. Headquartered in Kenya’s capital, Nairobi, this media apostolate will strive to facilitate the telling of Africa’s story by providing media coverage of Catholic events on the African continent, giving visibility to the activities of the Church across Africa where statistics show significant growth in numbers and the continent gradually becoming the axis of Catholicism. This is expected to contribute to an awareness of and appreciation for the significant role of the Church in Africa and over time, the realization of a realistic image of Africa that often receives negative media framing.
Father Don Bosco Onyalla
Editor-in-Chief, ACI Africa