, 11 October, 2019 / 5:22 PM
Calls for collaboration and the realization of synergies between Catholic Church institutions in Kenya ranging from entities under Bishops and those in the hands of religious orders characterized the Tuesday October 8 celebration to mark the golden jubilee of the Religious Superiors’ Conference of Kenya (RSCK).
“There is need for mutual collaboration between religious men and women and our dioceses. There is need for a link, a dialogue and this can only come through an honest partnership, honest dialogue,” Fr. Bonaventure Luchidio said in his address to the delegates and guests who gathered in Karen, Nairobi, to mark 50 years of RSCK.
Speaking on behalf of the Kenya Conference of Catholic Bishops (KCCB), the National Director of the Pontifical Mission Societies (PMS) in Kenya emphasized the need for a collaborative ministry in the evangelization process saying, “We need to stop and see where can we synergize our energies so that we can reach to the ends of the earth.”
“We want to extend our invitation as KCCB to you; let us dialogue, let us talk about the mission, what we are doing,” Fr. Luchidio said, addressing RSCK in general and their delegates present at their jubilee event.
Taking further KCCB’s call for collaboration and providing the context for the call, the representative of the Association of Member Episcopal Conferences in Eastern Africa (AMECEA) at the celebration, Fr. Andrew Kaufa emphasized solidarity in Christ’s mission.
“Sometimes I hear people saying that the religious and the Bishops … really don't work together, which may not be true, but I know it is true; sometimes in planning of our activities we don't make reference to what our Bishops outline,” Malawian-born Fr. Kaufa said.
“Sometimes you find the religious going in one direction and the Bishops are going in the other direction and sometimes we are just repeating apostolates without consultation among ourselves,” Fr. Kaufa, a Montfort Missionary continued, justifying the need for what he described as “journeying together, working together, collaboration and solidarity.”
“AMECEA stands for the solidarity of all bishops in the entire region. I want to believe also RSCK stands for solidarity and collaboration,” the Montfort Missionary who heads the AMECEA Social Communications department said and added, “When we work together and journey together, our witness is strong.”
He underscored the need to be prophetic in Africa through authentic witnessing saying, “We can only be prophetic by being witnesses of love and unity; we can only be prophetic if we stand together each of us by his or her charism but journeying together as one family of God.”
In an earlier interview with ACI Africa, RSCK Chairman, Fr. Paul Sila OFM Cap. confirmed the solidarity between his conference and KCCB saying, "We collaborate with the Bishops to continue the work of evangelization. We see ourselves as an arm of the Church and KCCB is the overall, with the bishops whom we are under."
"We collaborate with them (Bishops) where they need the help of the religious, we are there to fill the gap," Fr. Sila reiterated.
On his part, the Apostolic Nuncio in Kenya and South Sudan Archbishop Hubertus van Megen highlighted the “great independence” that Canon law gives to religious orders and societies of apostolic life.
“Many religious congregations are very protective of that independence towards the diocese,” Archbishop van Megen told ACI Africa in an interview at the RSCK jubilee celebration and added, “This at times complicates cooperation between the two.”
“It would be good if religious congregations who are within the diocese would have a free and spontaneous cooperation with the Bishop of that place,” the Dutch Prelate concluded.
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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