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Kenya’s PMS Strategizes on the Yearlong Celebration of “the Word of God in our families”

Logo for the Year of the Word of God.

At the Annual General Meeting (AGM) of the Pontifical Mission Societies (PMS) that brought together diocesan directors and Pontifical Missionary Childhood (PMC) coordinators in Kenya’s capital, Nairobi, ways of sharing the Word of God at the grassroots were deliberated, participants underlining the need to own and read the Bible individually and collectively.

 “As PMS, we were looking at a way in which we can communicate this word of God as a means of evangelization,” PMS national director in Kenya, Fr. Bonaventure Luchidio told ACI Africa on the sidelines of their AGM Thursday, February 13.

“We are strategizing on how to bring the Word of God in our families through Bible days, Bible enthronement and encouraging that each family has a Bible and going further, each family should carry a Bible and read it,” Fr. Luchidio said.

He added, “we want to encourage Priests to bring out the Bible and teach people what is in the Bible.”

Inspired by the celebration of the Sunday of the Word of God, which Pope Francis established through his Apostolic Letter “Aperuit illis” to be marked by Catholics across the globe every third Sunday in Ordinary Time, Bishops in Kenya decreed that the year 2020 be celebrated based on the theme “Word of God in our Families.”

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According to Fr. Luchidio, celebrating this year is essential to Catholics who are “very good at meditation, at adoration, at prayer but very poor with the word of God.”

“We need to change that,” the Priest emphasized.

Fr Luchidio also stressed on the importance of the Scripture saying, “in the Holy Eucharist we receive Him (Jesus) spiritually but with reading the Word of God He is there with us and there (in the Bible) we can even create pictures.”

It is for this reason, Fr. Luchidio stated that Priests should bring out the Bible and teach people what is in the Bible.

He explained, “So we are saying in the month of March Priests should teach people, outside mass, about the Torah. In April, about the historical books. Let people know, when I read 1Kings why? In May, wisdom books.”

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Further, the Cleric who is based at KCCB stated that the Word of God should be embraced within the families where they should gather around the Bible and read it, reflect on the readings, share the stories of faith and do some acts of charity.

“On a daily basis, as a family you gather around the Bible, somebody reads, we reflect, we study and then we look at what witness we can we do the next day,” the Kenyan Priest explained and added, “We are encouraging people to read the texts of the next day. So, each family should have a Bible and a Liturgical calendar so that they can follow.”

After reading Biblical text, Fr. Luchidio said, the families should find out what the text is talking about.

He said, “Let us now be animated. Let us find out what this text is talking about. How is it relevant to my life? I go back to my catechism. I go back to my Bible, I go back to my understanding of scripture and spirituality. What kind of spirituality am I developing from these texts?”

After this, Fr. Luchidio said that the households should share stories of faith because, “faith is strengthened when shared.” 

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“When I listen to your story, I am encouraged in my faith and that is why the stories of Saints are always sweet, they give you impedance that if they did it, why not me?” the PMS national director said.

Insisting on the importance of the Word of God in the family, the Priest of Kakamega diocese said, “With the Word of God in the family, our hearts will always burn with joy.”

Highlighting some of the ways that the celebration of the year of the Word of God will be actualized in her diocese, the PMC coordinator in Kenya’s Meru diocese explained to ACI Africa that through children and the Bible apostolate, Christians will be reached by this message.

In the month of April, the PMC children leaders will be brought together for a training, Sr. Anne Tasila Wanja said during the Thursday interview.

“When they come in April, we are going to train them on the Word of God,” Sr. Wanja said and added, “We will equip them so they go and train their fellow children.”

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Further, the nun of the Nazareth Sisters of the Annunciation of Meru said that children will be asked to pass the message of sharing the Word of God to their families.

“We will insist to the children that when they go home, they should insist to their parents that they should have Bibles, Sr. Wanja said and continued, “by insisting to them that they should tell their parents to have Bibles in their families, they will make a better chance of making this word penetrate in the families.”

She continued, “when you tell them (children) something, they will do exactly what you to them so when we use these kids, I am very sure this Word of God is going to sink deeper.”

For the PMS director and executive secretary of the Bishop of Kenya’s Kitui diocese, Fr. John Wambua Kivosyo, “Ministers should be at the forefront of showing the impact of the word of God in people’s lives.”

“We (Priests) should be answering the needs of the people through the Scripture because the Scripture itself is the Word of God who speaks to the people in all ages,” Fr, Kivosyo said.

Further, he urged his brother Priest to “be conversant not only with the Lectionary but going through the Bible itself” in addition to enriching “their homilies with Biblical quotations.”

“In all the forums that we have, we talk about the word of God for the day,” he said and added, “let us also enrich any talk that we are giving, with the Word of God.”

Fr. Kivosyo also expressed concern that “Protestant Churches thrive in quoting these verses and our Christians because they don’t have access to Bibles, they tend to be convinced by these others.”

Therefore, the Priest of Kitui recommended that Bibles be availed in the local languages too so as to ensure families have it in languages that they can understand.