Credit: ACI Africa
Some of those who had been previously commissioned renewed their commitment as Lay Spiritan Associates during the May 28 Eucharistic celebration.
In an interview with ACI Africa on the sidelines of the commissioning, the Chaplain of the Lay Spiritan Associates in Kenya congratulated the new members “for the efforts and courage they have taken to become Lay Spiritans.”
Preparing the new Lay Spiritan Associates “was not easy” considering they came from different Parishes, Fr. George Omondi said, adding that in order to reach out to them, he had to move from “one Parish to the another”.
Fr. George Omondi, Chaplain of the Lay Spiritan Associates in Kenya. Credit: ACI Africa
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During his encounters with the Lay Spiritan candidates in their respective Parishes, Fr. Omondi who serves as the Parish Priest of St. Austin’s Msongari Parish said he oriented them in the “history, spirituality and mission” of the Spiritans.
The encounters also included reflections on the “mission they can participate in considering that they are people who are in families and they already have other engagements,” he told ACI Africa on the sidelines of the May 28 event.
Credit: ACI Africa
He added, “The new Lay Spiritans are expected to participate in our ministry according to their situations in life and their abilities. For example, when we have occasions, celebrations, they participate. We also involve them in our fundraising activities.”
“I pray that they remain committed to this new way of life,” Fr. Omondi said about the 39 newly commissioned Lay Spiritan Associates in Kenya.
He appealed to the Laity to “come forth and join us so that we don't only grow as ordained ministers by vows but also that the part of the Laity as Spiritan family should grow.”
Also speaking to ACI Africa, the Chairman of the Lay Spiritan Associates in Kenya expressed his joy at the commissioning of new members.
Raphael Mutisya Kitavi, Chairman of the Lay Spiritan Associates in Kenya. Credit: ACI Africa
“We used to be 166 and now we will be more than 200,” Raphael Mutisya Kitavi said, and added, “From what we have been doing in our Parishes I think we will do more because we have more members who have been trained well.”
Some of the newly commissioned Lay Spiritan Associates shared their sentiments with ACI Africa.
“We have been sent out to go and evangelize,” Reuben Macharia Ngamiya said, and implored, “May the Holy Spirit give us guidance so that we may do God’s work well.”
Reuben Macharia Ngamiya. Credit: ACI Africa
Mr. Macharia who serves as a Catechist at St. Mary’s Mukuru Parish of Nairobi Archdiocese further said, “I have to bring the good news to my family, my friends and those whom I work with.”
He recognized the context of his service as a slum Parish promising to strive to grow the Lay Spiritan Associates group, and to “help those who are in need.”
Josephat Namu Jero, another newly commissioned Lay Spiritan Associate, said, “We have to work in the light and allow the Spirit of God to blow us to wherever it wants us to live a good life, to be happy serving God with joy.”
Josephat Namu Jero. Credit: ACI Africa
As a Lay Spiritan Associate, Mr. Namu told ACI Africa that he would strive to live the Christian calling, specifically striving to “be a good family, to build a good church and to build a good society”.
He also pledged to “help other people to experience the life of Christ and the love of God.”
Prof. Rachel Gesami, who renewed his commitment as a Lay Spiritan Associate during the May 28 event urged the new members “to continue the evangelization mission by being a right Christian in their respective communities, their homes, families and workplace.”
Prof. Rachel Gesami. Credit: ACI Africa
The inaugural group of Lay Spiritan Associates that comprised 140-lay faithful drawn from various Spiritan-run Parishes in Kenya was commissioned on 29 February 2020 at St. John the Evangelist Holy Ghost Parish of Nairobi Archdiocese.
In 1703, Claude Poullart des Places, a native of France who gave up the practice of law to study for the Priesthood founded a community for those who desired to become Priests; he dedicated the community to the Holy Spirit, calling it the Congregation of the Holy Spirit.
Some 150 years later, Francis Libermann, a converted Jew, established another religious family also in France, bearing the name, the Congregation of the Immaculate Heart of Mary.
Earlier this month, a delegation of Spiritans had an audience with Pope Francis to mark 175 years since the des Places-founded Congregation of the Holy Spirit merged with the Congregation of the Immaculate Heart of Mary that Venerable Libermann had founded, to become, in 1848, the Congregation of the Holy Spirit under the protection of the Immaculate Heart of Mary.
Credit: ACI Africa
“You are present in sixty countries on five continents, with some 2,600 religious and the involvement of many lay people," Pope Francis, who lauded the rich history of the Spiritans said in his May 8 address.
Considering the rich history of the Spiritans in the last 175 years, the Holy Father said, "we see that Providence has rewarded their generous and courageous docility to the Spirit.”
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