, 11 January, 2020 / 2:45 AM
A section of clergy, religious men and women, and the laity who have been taking part in the just concluded four-day workshop in Kenya’s capital, Nairobi, aimed at creating awareness about effective and professional ways of managing parishes have expressed their enthusiasm regarding the initiative, promising to roll out programs in parishes in their respective dioceses based on knowledge and skills acquired during the training.
“From what I have learnt, I am going to create straight away steering committees (and) finance council to help me in evangelization and faith formation of the Christians,” Fr. Kevin Ochong Owino from Kenya’s Kisumu Archdiocese who participated in the workshop told ACI Africa Friday, January 10.
Fr. Owino disclosed his priorities as he returns to his Parish in Western Kenya saying, “Very importantly, I am going to practice servant leadership principle thus promoting stewardship, (and) improve my relationship with parish employees and staff.”
Ordained a couple of years ago, the Kenyan cleric described the training as “ongoing formation” and that he found “all the themes of the workshop/seminar very interesting” as they were aimed at improving “clergy's relationship with his parishioners” that “can help move the parish forward.”
Convened under the theme, “Pastoral leadership and pastoral management,” the workshop had the purpose of equipping participants with knowledge and skills to manage parishes effectively and professionally.
Another participant who shared with ACI Africa about the workshop, Fr. Hillary Kieng, said the training has given him knowledge and skills “to better manage and handle the activities in the parish like running of schools, parish councils and committees.”
A clergy of Kenya’s Eldoret diocese, Fr. Kieng added that knowledge acquired during the training will enhance his “communications, networking and how to handle and manage parish personnel and employees.”
“Through the training the Church will be properly managed, effective evangelization will be achieved, the parish developers, agents and the entire team will handle emerging issues in the society with ease” Fr. Kieng told ACI Africa Friday, January 10 and added, “the Church will grow.”
A self-sponsored trainee, Fr. Kieng said that he intends to “establish proper committees and other organs of administration of the parish, disseminate information through communication channels in the diocese and parish (and) act as a trainer of trainees.”
He wishes that “the program can be taken to various dioceses or metropolitans, the Bishops to be given the information of the program so as to send more of the clergy and the personnel.”
Although the workshop envisaged 100 participants and had 110 in attendance, Fr. Kieng appealed for wider publicity so as to “have more participants annually.”
On his part, Fr. Peter Kiguru Kuria of Nairobi Archdiocese told ACI Africa, “I will enlighten others both clergy and laity through periodical seminars and workshops (and) I will improve my approach to parish administration especially the area of communication.”
“This training is important because it empowers us in our Church's management especially human resources and enlightens us how to recognize and use the intangible resources within and without our parishes,” Fr. Kiguru who has been a priest for 13 years said.
The training, the third since the maiden one in 2018, was organized by the Congregation of the Mission the Vincentian Fathers and Brothers, Vincentian center for Church and Society from St. John’s University in New York, and Tangaza University College’s (TUC) Institute of Centre for Leadership Management (CLM).
Topics covered during the training included human resource management, pastoral ministry and planning, organization committee, development and fundraising, parish parishioner’s needs parish pastoral council and servant leadership, among others.
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