20th July 2022
From personal reflections to observe breakfast, all delegation joined at the official opening of the Assembly with a Holy Mass celebration conducted at the Retreat Center Chapel. The Chief Celebrant – Fr Stephen Omondi CM, Parish Priest at Regina Coeli Parish, Karen, and the Dean of Western Deanery of the Archbishop of Nairobi also doubled as the Representative of the Archbishop in the day’s opening Mass. He officiated the Holy Eucharistic celebration at 9am with Frs. Humpreys Makokha CM (National Spiritual Adviser SSVP National Council of Kenya), David Mwaura (Spiritual Adviser SSVP Nairobi Area Council) and Flavio Jose Pereira (Vincentian Family Office –VFO Assistant Coordinator. The homily was drawn from the Holy Gospel according to Matthew 13, 1 – 9.
The chief celebrant overjoyed welcomed the congregants and extended the archbishops’ greeting that were in absentia due to exigencies of duty. He began the sermon by drawing a connotation from the readings and the theme of the years Assembly; this he lauded the Vincentian Charism and the thoughtfulness in crafting the theme Transformative Advocacy: Serving a Changing Africa”. It is the practical gateway which requires passion and total readiness to achieve a goal. Each one of us has been designed in a way that sets us apart to do the work of God just like God called Prophet Jeremiah in the first reading.
Fr Stephen elaborated his teachings with the quotes of St. Vincent de Paul and Mother Theresa on Prayer to strengthen us in the Faith thus prayer is very essential to our call to service. It invokes the Spirit of God to lead especially in difficult moments. The call to the comfort zone to the unknown is a preparation to receive many difficult tasks done to the Glory of God for whomever God calls he equips for the task ahead and guides on the journey.
The two hours was well with the Choir (Ngong Area Council) rendition electrifying the Mass with its melodic hymns. Afterwards a choir took a group photograph with President General International to close the morning session at 11 am.
The mid-session began behind schedule at 11:50 am with introduction of high table –16th PGI Renato Lima de Oliveira, Vice President General Joseph Pandian, 1st Vice President General Deputy Joseph Makwinja, 2nd Vice President General Deputy brother Sebastian Gramajo, and Fr Humpreys Makokha CM National Spiritual Adviser SSVP National Council of Kenya.
Welcome address by the SSVP National President of Kenya
The Council President – Urbanus Kinuthai thanked everyone who have graced the occasion and appreciated the PGI for finding his council competent to host this auspicious event: it was a moment to embrace the African heritage he noted. He maintained that the forum brought about moment of reflection, celebration of achievements and devising ways to exchange ideas that will strengthen the African norms in social advocacy, regional twining, learning and Vincentian exchanges programs among youths. To buttress, the Kenyan president re-iterated the need to promote youths’ involvement in the society as they bring new energy and future leaders. To this end, he encouraged membership across countries and conferences to help transform lives of the marginalized.
Address of the Assembly by the 1st Vice President General Deputy
Presenting his address on Serving in a Changing World, Brother Joseph Makwinja recognized everyone maximum participation and thanked the Daughters of Charity for their supportive roles. A one-minute silence was observed for the victims during the period of pandemic. He affirmed that the theme calls for opportunities to interact for better service despite the difficulties engulfed the world after the post pandemic with the initiatives of the founders; our service must strive with new ways to serve and mitigate the sufferings of people. He moved for possible solution ideas to effect this change such as waste management on reuse, recycle and reduce plastics into income generation in an ecosystem approach.
Brother Renato Lima de Oliveira was delightful to be with all representatives. He thanked members of CGI, Local Organizing Committees (LOC), Vincentian Kenyans as well as ITVPs, Zonal Coordinators for their cooperation to make the Assembly a successful one. He presented the Holy See Pope Francis gift on papal blessing to the council president on behalf of Kenya Council. (Click here to read brother Renato’s speech)
Fr Humpreys Makokha CM spoke on the title “Coming together to share and experience our Vincentian Spirituality”. Spirituality is one of the bedrocks to serve; this coming together leaves the impression to act in unity to celebrate Vincentian Spirituality. To give a clearer understanding, his talk was divided into two (2) subheadings: a) Spirituality of empowerment vs spiritual of dependence (advocacy); and b) Spirituality of solidarity and communion. To conclude, he motioned that our spirituality needs the word of God as its foundation, and the church is the foundation in which the work springs from and pray fervently to remain in the faith.
Report on the concluded report of AAA held in 2015
The 1st Vice President General Deputy took members through the activities of AAA 2015. These activities include expansion of the society presence, revival of conference, creation of new conferences, and president General visit to countries, trainings, etc. He equally enumerated challenges met as well as impact the meeting made.
Experiences of ITVPs
The experiences faced by the ITVPs were carefully conducted by the 2nd Vice President General Deputy, brother Sebastian Gramajo. In addition, he outlined the structural roles of 12 ITVPs for effective workflow while listing its challenges such include financial constraints, membership – aging problems, communication, inadequate formation among others.
ITVPs Report Presentation
The ITVP Africa 1- Brother Godwin Patrick Ebhojie and ITVP 3 – brother Lievin Muamba presented the house with activity report under their jurisdiction. Each of these officers marshalled improvement and challenges met while discharging their work and recommended ways to implement. Brother Ilídio Manhique (Africa 2) will make his presentation on the second day of the event.
Ending of the first day
Drawing the close of the day’s exercise came with networking among delegates sharing ideas, and experiences on the lessons learnt today and discussing avenues to put effective work into action so that fruitful results are gotten.
Synthesis prepared by sister Patricia Oluchi ONUOHA
International Communication Team
Council General International