The Annual Convention of our SVD Lay Associates, known here as FRIENDS OF SVD, was held from 26 – 28th October 2018, at St. Barnabas Parish, Eldoret. This parish is situated in Kimumu area and administered by the Divine Word Missionaries. The SVD Lay Associates meet once a year to share their experiences during the year.
They bring a report of their activities, achievements, challenges during the year and future plans during the convention. This convention brought together 90 members from six parishes in Kenya. Three of them are in the Archdiocese of Nairobi namely Divine Word Parish, Kayole, Sts. Joachim and Ann Parish, Soweto and Mary Immaculate Parish, Mihango and three are in the Diocese of Eldoret namely, Holy Spirit Parish, Langas, St. Barnabas Parish, Kimumu and St.
Mary’s Parish, Yamumbi. This convention brought out the great SVD spirit of hospitality, sharing and solidarity as our parishes contributed over seventy percent of food stuff needed for the convention. All the members contributed little amount to cover the cost of other food-stuff during the convention. This reduced the burden on the Mission Office which has been contributing a lot for the conventions in the past. The members from Nairobi were accommodated in the homes of our members in Eldoret easing the expenses of accommodation of members. The Mission Office chipped in with stationery materials for the members. The Provincial Superior of Kenya – Tanzania province, Fr. Tony Amissah SVD made the first presentation of the convention on the topic, ‘ROLE OF SVD LAY ASSOCIATES IN THE FORMATION OF SEMINARIANS’. He invited the Lay Associates to take an active part in visiting, encouraging, contributing financially and praying for the seminarians in our formation houses in the province. He also urged them to promote vocations for the three congregations of the Arnoldus Family.
Fr. Joseph Kallanchira SVD, the AFRAM Zonal Coordinator made two presentations during the convention. His first presentation focused on the recently held SVD GENERAL CHAPTER, sharing with the members about the topics discussed during the General Chapter. His second talk was on a very important topic, ‘FRIENDS OF SVD (AS OUR LAY ASSOCIATES ARE CALLED HERE IN THE PROVINCE) ROOTED IN “THE WORD”. He invited the members to be rooted in THE WORD in order to assist the DIVINE WORD MISSIONARIES in their various missionary endeavours. Our LAY ASSOCIATES Representative from AFRAM at the General Chapter, MR. PATRICE RONO, made a presentation as well during the convention. He shared about his experience as a Lay Associates representative during the General Chapter. He reminded the members that the Lay Associates have a major role to play in the missionary work of our congregation. He told the members that he was well treated, listened to and actively participated in the General Chapter. Deacon Francis Bakilatob SVD in his presentation led the members to reflect on the proposed draft of the Constitution of Lay Associates in Kenya – Tanzania province as the Lay Associates are in the process of seeking official recognition from the Generalate through the provincial council.
The Mission Secretary of the Province, FR. AMALDOSS RETHINASAMY, S.V.D and Deacon. Francis Bakilatob S.V.D chaired and coordinated different sessions of the convention. Frt. Borice Randrianirina S.V.D one of our fratres from the Common Formation Centre, (CFC), Nairobi and Bro. Anthony Nguyen Van KHOAT SVD were actively involved in the preparation and organization of the convention. An occasion like this convention brings members closer to one another as they share a lot about their experiences as members of our group of Lay Associates and in the process enrich one another. The Mission Office is grateful to the provincial council, all the priests and the lay leaders of our six parishes in Kenya and others who assisted in one way or the other for the success of the convention.
By: Fr Amaldoss Rethinasamy, SVD