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Kenyan Parish Launches Data Gathering Exercise to Boost Participation in Church Activities

St. Anthony’s Cathedral Parish of the Catholic Diocese of Malindi in Kenya/ Credit: Public Domain

St. Anthony’s Cathedral Parish of the Catholic Diocese of Malindi in Kenya has embarked on a data generation exercise aimed at improving the Pastoral and Social programs of the Parish. 

In an interview with ACI Africa, Bishop Willybard Lagho of Malindi Diocese said that the exercise at the Cathedral Parish would be evaluated, improved and applied to other Parishes of the Diocese.

“We are experimenting on a tool to collect accurate data of various institutions of our Diocese which is partly rural and partly urban. The data will help us in decision making at the Diocese level,” Bishop Lagho said during the Monday, May 31 interview.

Some of the short-term decisions that would be made based on the data are the number of Catechists needed in various outstations of the Parish and the number of Chaplains required based on the number of youths in the Parish.

In the long term, say in ten years, the data will be used to determine the number of Parishes and outstations required in the Diocese to serve the people of God better.

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About 1,500 people were registered in the exercise that was launched by the St. Anthony’s Cathedral Parish Family Day Planning Committee on Saturday, May, 29.

The exercise, which is being done in conjunction with the Clergy and Religious serving in the Parish, is expected to run until Sunday, June 6. The outcome of the drive will be announced during St. Anthony’s Cathedral Family Day Celebrations set for Sunday, June 13.

The exercise involves two phases, according to Priscillah Oluoch, the Chairperson of St. Anthony’s Cathedral Parish Family Day Planning Committee.

The first phase entails collecting basic information from Parishioners including their names, their phone numbers and where they live. In the second phase, registered Parishioners will be contacted and visits in their homes organized.

“It is in the home visits that finer details of family members will be gathered,” Ms. Priscilla says, and adds, “This will include the Sacramental lives of family members and even their careers.”

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It is important that the Diocese gets the career information of the people under its jurisdiction, the Church official says, adding that the people in various professions will be brought on board to support the Church in their various capacities.

“We have already discovered that we have 40 Catholic medics,” Bishop Lagho tells ACI Africa, adding that a section of the medics has been included in the Diocesan medical board while the rest have been included in the COVID-19 response team within the Diocese.

Finding out the number of Catholic teachers in the Diocese will also help the Diocese to plan on the Pastoral instruction across Catholic schools in the Diocese, Bishop Lagho says.

He explains, “It is possible in a Diocese such as ours to have schools that are at more advantage than the rest given. Where we have, say, 100 teachers, you may find that 70 are concentrated in a Parish where there is more security while places that are less secure are left to share the 30 teachers. Knowing the number of our teachers and exactly where they teach will help us in this regard.”

The Local Ordinary of Malindi said that the data collected during the exercise will also enable the Parish leadership to submit accurate Parish statistics to the Holy See as is annually required.

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