Fr Francis Makuba mhm, currenty in charge of the parish of Shauri Moyo, Nairobi, report of the East African Assembly of the Mill Hill missionaries
The East African Mill Hill region covers Kenya and Uganda. We had our meeting from 3rd to 6th January 2018. This took place at the Bishop Nicholas Stam Pastoral Centre in Kakamega. This time round, the region extended to cover the newly ‘reopened’ South Sudan area. It was represented by our Brother Emmanuel Omollo mhm. The Centre itself is very historical because it remembers the Mill Hill missionaries who shepherded the Diocese as Bishops and the Mill Hill founder Cardinal Herbert Vaughan. Their names are carefully and beautifully written on each of the hostels. We were meeting at this Centre after a two year absence.
The meeting was well attended by members from across the region and of all ages. Jacinta van Luijk made sure by her presence that the gender balance was corrected. This time round the students were many, unlike in the past few years. They are now present in all areas served by the Mill Hills and beyond such as the diocese of Ngong where currently no Mill Hill missionary is working. The students, like the senior members, were from diverse countries. It was a lively and inspiring encounter.
We started off with a recollection led by Fr. Jakob Kichler mhm who is a great admirer of Pope Francis. He inspired us with the writings of Pope Francis and taking his line from the Pope’s Christmas message of God becoming man, he challenged us to think of how the incarnation is a reality in our own lives and mission. Then we had a talk on mission from Fr. Bernard Phelan mhm. The talk focused on a number of areas that were meant to help us, especially young members, appreciate mission. It ended with a number of questions that were discussed in groups.
One thing that was different at this assembly was the amount of time spent in group discussion. Young members, through these groups, mixed and interacted freely with older members. Another area of interaction was the report of the Society Representative, Fr Philip Adede mhm who presented his report touching on areas ranging from members affairs to future plans for the region. We all had had time to react to the report and seek clarifications. It was good hearing from our members who are re-settling in South Sudan, a country recovering from civil war at a snail’s pace. Fr. Omollo mhm assured us of the great potential the country offers for mission.
There was a lively exchange during the concluding open forum as members showed how ready and eager they are for mission. This was especially in view of the missionary outreach the society is planning in the dioceses of Ngong and Malindi, as well as Tororo and Kampala. We had an opportunity to remember our deceased members, relatives, benefactors and friends in one of the evening prayers that proved very powerful. Thanks to the group who prepared the liturgy for that day.
We also had the opportunity to celebrate the Golden jubilee of Fr. Gerry Kraakman mhm and were addressed by the Bishop of Kakamega, Rt. Rev. Joseph Obanyi. The assembly was very active and lively and provided a good opportunity for our students to learn about the work of Mill Hill in East Africa and where they may be called to serve in the near future. The majority of the students are in the region for the very first time. May the year 2018 be a fruitful one in the mission of Mill Hill in East Africa and the world at large!
Francis Makuba mhm