KCCB - PONTIFICAL MISSIONARY SOCIETIES NATIONAL OFFICE. WAUMINI HOUSE, WESTLANDS 3RD FLOOR EASTERN WING TEL; 0714 27 15 21 E MAIL pmskenya@catholicchurch.or.ke PRESENTATION TO MEMBERS OF KENYA ASSOCIATION OF VOCATION ANIMATORS AT DIMESSE SISTERS ON 21ST OCTOBER 2013. THEME: REFLECTION ON VOCATIONS AS A SIGN OF HOPE FOUNDED IN FAITH Good Morning my brothers and sisters in Christ. Receive cordial greetings from Pontifical Mission Societies National Office in Kenya which is your office. I thank your leaders for inviting our office to come and share with you. It is a moment of knowing each other and calling for greater collaboration. PMS deals with promotion of the work of Evangelization ( Propagation of Faith - Mission Sunday), promotion of work of formation of priests and Religious and accompaniment while in formation ( St. Peter the Apostle - Vocations Sunday), Formation of Holy Childhood children ( Epiphany ) and Spirit of prayers and reading the Word of God ( through missionary Union. It gives me great joy to join you on this occasion of your Annual General Meeting as Kenya Association of Vocation Animators. It is a special time to share our missionary animation experiences, challenges, encourage each other, discuss emerging issues affecting vocations in our Church, and evaluate our current situation of Vocations in light of Year of Faith. Indeed, Vocation is a gift from God for service of humanity and promotion of God’s glory here on earth as we continue witnessing and building his Kingdom. missionary animation is a process of creating awareness, promoting and creating a conducive environment for suitable discernment We thank all Missionary Congregations, Institutes of Apostolic Life and Dioceses represented here for it is a sign of communion and solidarity. We are One Family in Mission. Our primary duty is to Evangelize, promote human dignity and deepen peoples Faith. We appreciate this realization that we need One another and that work of animation is an Ecclesial activity. Let us learn from each other how best to cooperate, support, inspire and partner. to become effective missionary Animators Recognizing the importance of your role, the Church places great trust in your ability to recruit suitable candidates who are well motivated and well intentioned to become future ministers of the word and sacraments as well as witnesses of God’s unconditional love to the world, with special attention to the poor, marginalized and oppressed. Thanks to the sacrifice and witness of missionaries. The Catholic Church is growing, and a big part of our Church still needs our help to survive and grow to Self Sufficiency. Even more challenging is the fact that more than 50% of the world population has never heard of Jesus Christ. Truly you are relevant and needed in your vocation animation work. Formation has been and continues to be a main challenge in our Church due to secularism, globalization, media influence, and socio economic factors. This has affected our formation environment, disposition of our candidates and we the elder members of the Family of God has Role Models to the Young. Though personal formation is of paramount importance it can only be realized in a well prepared and guarded environment. This means good conscience formation, proper understanding of our roles in our communities as agents of Evangelization and voice to challenge evils affecting growth in Faith and Morals.. I fully do agree that the individual has the main responsibility for his /her own formation. Our communities should provide that suitable environment that inspire holistic formation. Today, in particular, the pressing pastoral task of the New Evangelization calls for the involvement of the entire people of God and requires new zeal, new methods, and guided participatory engagement for the proclaiming and witnessing of the Gospel. This is why we need missionary animators like you who are deeply immersed in the mystery of Christ and capable of embodying a new style of pastoral Life. Pope emeritus Benedict XVI in his Vocation Sunday message of this year 21st April 2013 “ Vocation as a sign of Hope founded in Faith. Invites us to reflect on suitability of candidates to priesthood and Religious Life, their commitment to prayer, their openness to be gifts to the world and the community’s involvement in supporting work of formation. Vocation is a gift from God founded in Faith. However, we need many Elis to walk with our Samuel of today to differentiate the voice of God from normal human voice. We need inspirational role models to touch the hearts of our young people and challenge them to respond. This means visit to schools, being close to Holy Childhood children, being available to the Youth etc. Recently, a old Consolata Missionary aged 85 years explained to me why we have few vocations today. He felt we are not witnessing enough, sisters are not available for catechism and home visits, they are found in offices as secretaries, schools as teachers and really in the pastoral field with women, SCC and children. For priests we are not available to youth, to Christians and to ourselves. We are too busy and we have lost our priestly identity… No priestly dress in the parish. We are celebrating masses and not available for consultation after mass due to our tight schedules. Not available to share and interact with our young people in the afternoon. The young people long to learn from us to be and inspired to be like us. We need to evaluate our pain for loosing vocations from our seminaries and houses of formation or even from the pastoral field. We need good and Holy priests, brothers and sisters. We need quality and not numbers. In the words of Cardinal Newman, when he learnt Br. Frederic had changed his mind to marry he wrote:’ I am exceedingly displeased to find that Frederic has actually made a proposal to a young woman being in our house, and having our habit on’. Cardinal Newman sought to safeguard the identity and integrity of priestly vocation has a gift from God. This is our duty. The media is damaging our image but we need to remain strong. Never fear to do the right thing. Friends, we need to invite many young men and women to respond to this divine call. However, times are difficult due to many media reports of child abuse, our poor mutual relationship in our communities and parishes and alleged moral issues which question our credibility. This should invite us to examine our way of life without being discouraged. The need for vocations is growing greater with opening of doors to the formerly communist countries in Eastern Europe and Asia as well as some African countries. The number of pastoral agents is far much less compared to the need in the field. The ratio of priest / sisters / brothers to Christians served is still very big. However, let us remain hopeful that the Lord of Missions will provide labourers in his vineyard. To respond to this gap Kenya Conference of Catholic Bishops has began an initiative of Fidei Donum sharing. Dioceses with many priests are offering some of their sons on contract to work in most hit dioceses. I am happy to inform you we have currently 14 fidei Donum priests from Meru, Murang’a, Kakamega, Nakuru Embu and Kitui working in Isiolo, Malindi, Marsabit, Ngong and Kitale. Aware that lack of sufficient priests and Religious affects our work of Evangelization, the vitality of Faith as well as life of Christian Families, parish and Diocesan Communities let us join hands a build a strong recruitment, and formation Teams. May God bless you and your work. Thanks Rev. Fr. Celestino Bundi PMS NATIONAL DIRECTOR


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