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How Community of Sisters in Kenya Facilitated “enthronement of Bible” at Three Parishes

Members of the Daughters of St. Paul (FSP) ministering in Kenya’s Archdiocese of Nairobi facilitated the enthronement of the Bible at three parishes on the Sunday of the Word of God marked 24 January 2021.

Members of the Daughters of St. Paul (FSP) ministering in Kenya’s Archdiocese of Nairobi have, in a report availed to ACI Africa, highlighted their initiative at three Parishes on the occasion of the Sunday of the Word of God January 24.

In the Tuesday, January 26 report, Sr. Olga Massango says the event coincided with her Congregation’s celebration of “the Pauline Biblical Year.”

“To mark this Sunday of the Word of God, the Daughters of St. Paul – who are celebrating the Pauline Biblical Year – promoted and animated the Enthronement of the Bible during the Eucharistic Celebration in three Parishes of the Archdiocese of Nairobi, namely, St Austin, Holy Trinity Kileleshwa and St. Catherine of Siena in Kitusuri,” Sr. Massango says.

She explains, “The Ritual of Enthronement of the Bible in those three parishes was left to the creativity of the proclaimers – the main protagonists of this day due to their ministry in the Church.”

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In the report, the Mozambican Pauline Sister recounts how the event took place in the three Parishes of Nairobi Archdiocese saying the event “had a common sketch: Procession of the Bible at the beginning of the Liturgy of the Word and Enthronement in a place decorated beforehand; Invitatory Litany; Blessing of the Proclaimers; (and) Prayer of the Commitment to the Word of God.”

“The Priests of these different Parishes underlined the importance (of proclaiming) the Word of God for the faithful, highlighting the relationship between the Risen Lord, the community of believers and sacred Scripture as essential to our identity as Christians,” the Nairobi-based FSP recounts in her report to ACI Africa.

Pope Francis instituted Sunday of the Word of God in his 30 September 2019 Apostolic Letter “Aperuit illis”, intending it to be a day dedicated to the celebration, reflection and dissemination of the Word by Catholics across the globe.

In his message for the Sunday of the Word of God, the Chairman of the Commission for Pastoral and Lay Apostolate of the Kenya Conference of Catholic Bishops (KCCB), Archbishop Anthony Muheria stated, “This is a great opportunity to catechize on knowing and listening to the Word of God.”

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“We are still within the COVID-19 pandemic times and we may not be able to fully celebrate the Word of God. Nevertheless, following the invitation of the Holy Father, Pope Francis, we can still live some aspects to highlight the importance of the Word of God on this Third Sunday of Ordinary Time,” Archbishop Muheria noted in his message dated January 20.

In the message, the Kenyan Archbishop encouraged the people of God in the East African nation to “read every day a passage of the Scripture especially the New Testament; form and participate in Bible study groups, using good guides and commentaries to Scripture.” 

He further invited the faithful to “pay attention and benefit from Scriptural reflection while encouraging the Clergy to anchor preaching on Scripture and to give assistance to those who lead the Liturgy in the absence of the Priest, by preparing good guides that help people to understand Scripture; and to buy good Catholic Bibles and promote the acquisition of good Catholic Bibles by many more Christians.”

In the January 26 report to ACI Africa, Sr. Massango notes that Priests in the three Parishes “used the biblical icons proposed by in Aperuit illis such as the disciples of Emaus, the public reading of the book of the Law by the people of Israel who returned to their homeland after the Babylonian exile, the Transfiguration, among others.” 

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“They encouraged the Christians to grow in knowledge and love of the Scriptures and of Jesus, who continues to speak his word and to break bread in the community of believers,” the member of FSP adds in reference to the Priests who presided over Eucharistic celebration in the three Parishes of Nairobi Archdiocese.

She continues, “Since faith comes from hearing, and what is heard is based on the word of Christ, believers are bound to listen attentively to the word of the Lord, both in the celebration of the liturgy and in their personal prayer and reflection.”

Making reference to Parish Priest of Holy Trinity Parish, Fr. Fredrick Ndirang’u, Sr. Massango says that the Consolata Missionary Cleric “found a way to involve the children in the Eucharistic Celebration by providing some Bibles and New Testaments as a way to underline how it is important to put the Word of God in the hands of young children.”

“In their animations, the three groups of the Daughters of St. Paul joyfully sowed the Word of God also by displaying to the Christians the New African Bible,” She adds.

The Mozambican-born Sister cites the founder of FSP, Blessed James Alberione, saying, “If the Bible is a divine book, then let us make sure it remains such.”

“Let us not simply place the Word of God on a bookshelf, as if it were just any other book. Let us give it the place of honor in our house, alongside the crucifix, where everyone can see it, read it and kiss it,” Sr. Massango further says making reference to Blessed James Alberione.

She continues, “How wonderful it is to see the Book of the Gospel on the altar.”