It is with much joy and gratitude that we present before you this historical document of our CMI Mission in Kenya. It marks and celebrates twenty nine years of our presence on this second largest continent on earth where we, the Carmelites of Mary Immaculate (CMI) priests are called and privileged to serve.
Africa with its beautiful and rich cultural heritage, its long history of agonies and ecstasies welcomed us to join in her quest for true liberation and empowerment. It is a story of entering into transforming relationship with our African sisters and brothers and walking together with them into the future of God’s dreams for them. In these pages we find amazing stories of relentless trust and tireless efforts in sowing and nurturing the seeds of the Good News.
“The kingdom of heaven is like a mustard seed that a person took and sowed in a field. It is the smallest of all seeds, when full grown it is the largest of all plants. It becomes a large bush, and the birds of the sky come and dwell in its branches,” (Mt.13: 31, 32). We stand in wonder as we trace the marvels of God’s goodness and provident care in bringing the missionary efforts of our fathers and brothers to search remarkable fruition in these few short years.
We hope, by the presentation of this historical book, we may all come to a deeper appreciation of our common mission and global interdependence as members of the body of Christ. The African pastures may be geographically distant, but the work of our brothers in Africa is shared by all of us called to be in the mission of Jesus. May our response to this call be made visible in our total commitment to God’s people, especially the poorest and the most needy.
Land of rapid growth, expansive vistas, magnificent mountains, cerulean skies, exotic flora and fauna and an incredible potpourri of peoples, cultures, and climates, Africa stands as one of the most colourful and fascinating places on earth. Only in the 20th century its glories began to yield harvest, not least of which has been the amazing growth of the catholic church within its borders. According to John Allen Jr., Africa’s catholic population has multiplied 6.708 percent since 1900!
As to their lives, generations of African people have drawn their existence from the land. Whether moving from place to place with their cattle in search of grazing grounds, or tending fields of their own, Africans are almost totally dependent on the soil where the miracle of life and growth springs from seed to harvest. Kenya is one of the beautiful countries in this rich soil of Africa.
The planting and miraculous growth of some of the CMI mission stations in Kenya traces back to 1981. From tiny seeds embedded in Mbiuni, Kenya, the missionary outreach of the fathers of CMI has proliferated in four dioceses and promises to continue expanding. Even more impressive is the more mysterious flowering of grace in schools and parishes especially in the lives of the young men called to join CMI’s in their labours in God’s vineyards in Africa.
As abundant as the harvest is seen to be in these short 29 years since the first mission opened, its full measure can not be taken in our time. The fruit will be known only in eternity.
CARMELITES OF MARY IMMACULATE (CMI)
The Carmelites of Mary immaculate (CMI) is an International Congregation of men religious. Our congregation originated in Kerala, India, in 1831. It is the first indigenous religious congregation in the Catholic Church of India. The first community got its roots in Kerala by the initiative of the zealous founders Bl. Cyriac Elias Chavara, Fr. Thomas Palackal, and Fr. Thomas Porukara.
The Congregation from its beginning exercised itself in such activities as the Church in Kerala was in need of at the particular times. It started with preaching retreats and conducting seminaries for the training of local clergy; met the challenge of educating the youth and disseminating Christian literature; laboured for the propagation of the faith and for the reunion of separated brethren; undertook works of mercy and started charitable institutions.
The mission work of the CMI Congregation gathered new dimension and momentum as mission areas were entrusted to it beyond the boundaries of Kerala. Our members at present serve the church in 23 countries in all the five continents. The current strength of the members is 2823.
Our vision is ‘Christ praying on the mountain and proclaiming God’s kingdom to the multitudes, identifying himself with poor and always obeying the will of the Father’. The members are trying to carry on these apostolic and mission activities in the same spirit as the founding Fathers were guided by their fervent and recollected life.
We participate in the mission of Jesus as CMI religious priests and brothers. A good number of CMI missionaries are working in Africa, Australia, Europe, Latin America, and U.S.A. In Africa, our priests are working in Kenya, Madagascar, Ghana, Namibia, South Africa and Tanzania.
God’s people through:
• Pastoral ministry
• Social work
• Youth ministry
• Medical care
• Inter-religious dialogue
• Mass media & communication
Africa, the second largest continent, occupies about one-fifth of the earth’s land. The continent is an immense plateau, a region of striking contrasts. Less than one-fifth of land is covered by great forests, most of them tropical rain forests. Although much of the continent is grassland, the world’s largest desert, the Sahara, lies across 9 million square kilometres of the northern region. The world’s longest river, the Nile, flows through Africa’s north-eastern section.
The equator passes through almost the exact middle of the continent. Thus 90 per cent of Africa is in the tropic zones. Many different kinds of people inhabit Africa. All these people make up hundreds of different ethnic groups, each with its own language or dialect.
In Africa a great many people still live in rural areas in exactly the same way that their ancestors lived for hundreds of years. However, some Africans lead very modern lives in large cities that are similar in many ways to ones in North America and Europe. Most urban dwellers have a higher standard of living than rural people. Better schools and medical facilities, as well as other attractions, lead more and more rural people to move into the cities.
Kenya is located in Eastern Africa on the eastern seacoast with more than 38 million people. It is bordered by Sudan, Ethiopia, Somalia, Tanzania, and Uganda. Formerly ruled by the British, Kenya gained its independence in 1963 after a long fight.
Almost all of Kenya’s people are black Africans. Corn is the basic food, and beer is a popular beverage. Dancing is a favourite form of recreation throughout the country, and Kenyans have created highly artistic dances that are performed during ceremonies such as Holy Masses, celebrations, marriages, and funerals.
Catholicism in Kenya is 100 years old in 1990. According to the official estimates there are 20.4% Catholics, 7% Muslim, 36% Traditional religions, and 37 % others in Kenya. Kenya has many priests, Religious, involved laity, foreign and national missionaries.
CMI FATHERS IN KENYA
“Put your sickle in and cut all the bunches off the vine of the earth; all its grapes are ripe,” (Rev. 14:18, Jerusalem Bible). “You have not only a glorious history to remember and to recount, but also a great history still to be accomplished! Look to the future, where the spirit is sending you in order to do even greater things.”
It was Fr. Edward Padickala CMI who is the first CMI missionary to come to Kenya to spread the good news through pastoral and educational apostolate. On 11th November, 1981, he came to Machakos Diocese, Kenya. He stayed in the Cathedral Church. Later he was transferred to Kabaa High School where he was the Pastor and Teacher for 11 years. Then he was appointed as an acting parish priest at Mitaboni parish for six months. Then the Bishop transferred him to Kola parish where he served for six years. During the period of ministry in Kola parish our fathers constructed six Churches and a polytechnic school for girls for the development of the society. People over there still remember him with immense love and respect.
In 1983 Fr. Jose Kallely CMI came to Kenya and was appointed as the parish priest of Mbiuni Catholic parish. It is the first parish entrusted to CMI fathers. Even after putting in 27 years of service, he continues to be a vibrant parish priest and a source of inspiration for all the CMI Fathers. More than that, for the people, he is a caring pastor whom they can approach for their any need.
The next year, in 1984, the third CMI missionary, Fr. Joy Kalaparambath, stepped on this land. He is a dedicated and respected CMI missionary who is always available to the people. He is a living example of who a missionary priest should be. Indeed, he continues to inspire us even after 26 years of his service in this land.
We firmly believe they are the three pillars on which the CMI mission effort is built in Kenya. We are highly proud of them and are highly inspired by them. All the priests who were, who are, and who will be here can only remember them with respect and love. Of course, Kenya is blessed to be served by many zealous and spirited CMI missionaries.
CATHOLIC MISSION MBIUNI
The history of Catholic Mission Mbiuni begins with the arrival of the first Catholic missionaries in Ukambani – the land of Kamba. In 1913, Fr. Lcoute and Fr. Blais, two French Holy Ghost missionaries, came to live at Kombe, a small village at the foot of Kanzalu hills, two miles north east of Mbiuni. They built a simple house and a grass thatched church and spent a year there trying to establish the first catholic mission in Ukambani.
The chief and some of the councillors were in favour of the Catholic mission. There were others who were opposed to it. However, the District Commissioner who came to see the place considered that the new Catholic mission was too near to the African Inland Church (AIC) mission at Kangundo. Therefore, the Fathers were told to move to a hill near Athi River, about four miles away, “Ni Kavaa”, they were told, “Is a better place”. Hence the new mission was called Kabaa.
In 1915, the two priests built the first Catholic Church in Ukambani using sun-baked bricks. They also built a small house for the priest. They started classes for catechumens. They used the school as a means of spreading the Gospel. Rev. Fr. Horber and a Holy Ghost brother succeeded the pioneers in 1918. But they left for Kilungu to begin a new mission.
In 1924, Rev. Fr. Joseph Witte and Rev. Br. Josephat came to Kabaa. They began a central training school at Kabaa. A Catholic High School was also started with Rev. Fr. Murreu as the head teacher. As the number of the Christians around Kabaa increased, it was felt necessary to separate the mission from educational institutions. Therefore while the fathers stationed at Kabaa took care of the spiritual needs of local Christians, the mission offices were transferred to Mwala. Rev. Fr. Timmius built the church and presbytery at Mwala in 1961.
As the out-stations and the number of Christians increased, it was found good to divide the parish. Hence a new church and mission was built in Mbiuni, six kilometres away from Kabaa, in 1977. Rev. Fr. Michael Cuniffe was the first priest in charge of the mission. He was succeeded by Rev. Fr. Boran in 1979.
THE COMING OF DAWN
11th April 1983 will always be a magnificent day in the minds of Mbiuni people. This the natives may not have anticipated to be the time when the wave of deliverance would eventually sweep the region bringing along the rain of hope and the wind of salvation – a plan that had been unfurled by Rt. Rev. Urbanus Joseph Kioko, the Bishop of Machakos Diocese through what we can term better as guidance of the holy – spirit.
This was the day when a young zealous man bulging out of ambition and overflowing with dreams first set in his foot in Kenya all the way from India. He is none other than Fr Jose Kallely of the CMI congregation who like the biblical Joseph was unexpectedly sent all the way from his home in Asia to Kenya in Africa and particularly to Mbiuni to sow the seeds of hope and to set spiritual fire in their dark hearts. This was very much part of God’s calculated plan for him and for the people of Mbiuni Parish.
In June Rev. Fr. Jose Kallely CMI was appointed as the parish priest of Mbiuni. It was the dawn of a new era in the history of Mbiuni parish. He began his work slowly but steadily. He committed himself to the all round development of the parish. He was successful in getting the whole-hearted co-operation of the parishioners. Impressed by the hard work and zeal of Fr. Jose Kallely CMI, the Bishop of Machakos, His Excellency Urbanus J. Kioko invited more priests from India, belonging to the same congregation.
On 12th December 1984, Rev. Fr. Joy Kalaparambath CMI came to assist Fr. Jose Kallely CMI and to serve Mbiuni parish. Fr. Joy was true to his name, always spreading joy and happiness together with the Gospel. Fr. Jose and Fr. Joy are great friends and they worked hand in hand for the development of Mbiuni parish.
Both of them are men of good will, courage, and are full of missionary zeal. They were together destined to start their visionary work in Mbiuni Mission. They are shepherds after the model of the Good Shepherd. They spent everything they had for the benefit of their flock. They believe and practised what their founder Blessed Kuriakose Elias Chavara told to them: “a day without charity is a waste”.
During their initial days at Mbiuni, CMI fathers had come to fall in love with the place. Then, their urgent desire was to do just the essential things of bringing Light into the region with the Bible as their main lodestar in all sectors. So far good the CMI fathers have proved themselves able by successfully changing the face of this local environment from the barren desert to a green vineyard where happiness and peace prevail.
It is however notable that the priests have selflessly dedicated a lot of their time and energy for the sheer benefit of Mbiuni residents and also across the borders. Presently, the Mbiuni community may not be having just everything to itself but it has enormous facility that other regions just dream of having and all that is owing to the go-getting efforts of this genuine men, their loving CMI fathers.
Being accountable seems to be just what these men believe counts much in life and their social responsibility is a living proof for that. Truly, they are “men for the people”. Of course, their giving of hope and encouragement and also spiritual and academic levels have really remained the symbols of their immense love and concern for the humanity.
DEVELOPMENT AND PROJECTS
Ever since their coming to Mbiuni, over two decades ago, CMI fathers have never been idle either physically or even mentally but have proved themselves to be busy both in mind and soul as dedicated fathers. They, however, have surely excelled where many have failed by taking a road less travelled in life. Never at any one time have they been selfish but have always been supportive and concerned to the people’s welfare. As a matter of fact, the CMI fathers have been visionary not only in Christian values but also in other life sustaining projects.
Over those dedicated years they have been in this region, they have managed to initiate many projects aiming at improving the living standards of Mbiuni residents. With the considerable diversity, CMI fathers have been so keen to ensure that their long arm of grace is extended to all spheres of life and this was realized when they went ahead in initiating projects of various standards and necessities depending on the environmental hazards of various parts of the region.
For instance, many schools, the rehabilitation centre, the dispensary and probably the churches, all these are different sectors with the general objective of improving people’s lives. Immediately on their settling in the region, the priests were more than eager to unveil many beneficial projects apart from the church activities. For instance, in the year 1997, they volunteered themselves to build the Kavoke River drift for the benefit of the whole Mbiuni residents after it had been dismantled by the el-Niño rains.
A plan to start a technical school in Kabaa was foremost to visit their visionary sight and within months of hatching out this decision, the institution’s foundation was out- laid. That was way back in 1986, barely four years of their existence in the region.
It may be recalled with appreciation that CMI fathers were also instrumentals to the resolution of a mid-perennial water shortage that existed in Mbiuni. It was very noble and humane of them when they welcomed a plea from the natives to assist in bringing into compound the most rare of all the commodities in the region those days i.e., ‘ water’. This project was however not easy to achieve but the CMI fathers were willing to pay the whole price it would cost together with others for the inauguration of the Kanzalu Hills Water Project to alleviate the severe water shortage in the region those days. CMI fathers had committed themselves tirelessly to the efforts of bringing into reality this fabulous dream and in 1993 clean water was running in taps.
Significantly, the water project played a strategic role in changing the lives of the natives. Many people were rested of the stressful and wearily task of searching for the commodity from and wide just where they could be certain of getting it. CMI fathers, however, are not yet settled on their laurels and every dawn they seem to having a plan particularly for Mbiuni community behind their far-sighted brains.
Within a very close range of time, they could smell other facilities being inaugurated in the region by the same visionaries, CMI fathers. These other facilities included, St. Joseph’s Boarding Primary School in Mbiuni, Carmel Girls Secondary School, St. Joseph’s Secondary School in Katheka, Mt. Sinai CMI School in Athi River and finally, St. Mary’s Primary School in Miseleni.
ST. JOSEPH BOARDING PRIMARY SCHOOL
It was in 1990 when Fr. Jose Kallely CMI had a dream of starting a boarding school in Mbiuni. He was quite determined to start the school and with full support and cooperation of some of Mbiuni leaders and then zonal educational officers, the school’s foundation stone was laid on 6th September, 1990 by the late Hon. Mulu Mutisya, then District Kanu Chairman for Machakos assisted by the late Mr. Antony Ngotho.
The first phase was completed by December and the school received its first intake on 21st Jan, 1991. The school started its operations from the same day onwards with classes 4 and 5 and with an enrolment of 65 pupils.
Sr. Jovita FCC piloted the school as the first Headmistress and was assisted by Sr. Mello and a group of dedicated staff. The school began with the motto ‘From Darkness to Light’. St. Joseph’s Boarding School aims to lead the pupils to light dispelling every form of darkness in them and to transform them into true light bearers.
It is a well noted institution countrywide for its academic excellence and more for its ability to offer spiritual, moral, and psychological lessons to students. The school’s academic triumph countrywide over the years has contributed at improving the living standards of the locals in terms of social interactions, economical, and in political fields as well.
CARMEL GIRLS’ SECONDARY SCHOOL
Carmel is a girls’ boarding secondary school that offers peak educational facilities to children from all spheres of life, country wide. The school was founded back in the year 1996 by Rev. Fr. Jose Kallely CMI. It situates in the outskirts of Mbiuni market within Mbiuni location of Mwala division in Machakos District. The school’s location in a rural setting allows the students a serene academic environment.
Sr. Austin was the first principal of the school. She was assisted by Sr. Agnes. The motto behind the school is “Be a Flagship of Success” and truly the school is a flagship of success. Carmel school draws students from different geographical and socio-economic backgrounds all over the country thus contributing to the school’s solid national reputation and outlook. Presently, the school has a student population of about 400 pupils.
ST.MARY’S REHABILITATION CENTRE
The founders of the Rehabilitation Centre understood that many disabled children (mentally or physically) were staying at home without education, food, treatment, and care. Thus, Mbiuni Catholic Mission under Sr. Mary Thomas FCC as the first co-ordinator established a centre for them. This institution is basically for the welfare of the abandoned and the unfortunate children in the society. Through the centre, Sr. Mary Thomas had shown great heart and dedication in the voluntary role of serving the needy of all sorts.
In the year 1991 the Lillian Fonds of Netherlands appointed her as a mediator for the disabled. The national co-ordinator and her team came forward to assist Sr. Mary Thomas in the education, treatment, operation and income generating activities. Then, her attention turned to start a home for the disabled at Mbiuni. On 28th july, 2002 a piece of land was donated by Fr. Jose Kallely CMI. On August 15th in the year 2002, the foundation stone was blessed and laid by Fr. Jose Kallely CMI.
On 31st January, 2003, the orphanage started its operations opening its doors to the children with special needs. It was on June 15th of the same year, the school was officially opened by the Minister for Health Hon. Charity Kaluki Ngilu. The first year, the institution had 18 physically handicapped and 45 mentally handicapped children.
The school is run by a management committee headed by CMI fathers and FCC sisters. Presently, Fr. Jose Kallely CMI as the Manager, Fr. Biju Chathely CMI as the Director, Sr. Vineethmaria FCC as the Co-ordinator, and Sr. Winfred as the Asst. Co-ordinator serve the needs of these children.
The institution provides proper education, medical care like physiotherapy and occupational therapy, protection, food and accommodation to the physically and the mentally disabled children. It also provides schooling facilities to the physically handicapped children from the nearby Mbiuni Primary School while they reside in the centre. For the mentally disabled children the school provides special classes and gives them vocational trainings like stitching, netting, herding, agriculture, etc. The institution also conducts awareness programme to the parents on how to take care of their mentally and physically disabled children.
The objectives of the institution were to provide opportunity rather than just sympathy to the children with disabilities, to offer proper education, medical care, protection, food and accommodation, to send them back home when they reach the range of 25 years enabling them with self employment, to give the community a chance to do their responsibilities, etc.
KATHYOLI KIVEETYO WATER PROJECT
Water is precious because it is very scarce and Mbiuni people also suffered to get water. Rivers and dams were the only seasonal sources those times but that could never sustain people’s water requirements for a whole seasonal year. Those days the commodity was as rare as money and as treasured as gold and therefore the natives were left to struggle their best level it they were to get it. Sometimes it would be survival of only the fittest.
Lining up for water at wells and in rivers was the major part of the game those days and this would really be a big drawback to the citizens who would be yearning for time of other things and not only water. No wonder people would travel wide and large up hills and down valleys in search of this basic necessity of life.
All this challenges, however, were not to continue for ever. It was realized that unity and collaboration were the only certain things that could ever set man free from this bondage. And eventually, it was more than just promising when the Catholic Diocese of Machakos decided to assist a committee group that was chaired by a Mr. Nzioka Nthiwa to dropping the water from up Kanzalu hill to the lower regions below.
Nzioka Nthiwa who was the project’s chair person together with some other committee members finally went to see Fr. Jose Kallely CMI concerning the issue in 1992. Fr. Jose welcomed them with great enthusiasm and offered his support. This was actually a timely move that he responded with utmost speed towards the charity call that was to benefit every soul at Mbiuni region.
Fr. Jose Kallwely CMI had, therefore, enquired of the premises and was taken there to see for himself rather than just hearing and surely there was water and plenty of it anyway. He then agreed to sponsor the project through finance, supply of the pipeline, and also ferrying of the necessary materials to those hilly destinations where they would be required, using his own vehicle.
After a successful work together with the others, water was first seen reaching Kyamboo School and from here the natives could also benefit greatly. From here it proved easier to ferry the water to Mbiuni market which is not very far away and here it was received joyously by the residents who over the time had felt the real idea of what is water scarcity.
Later, water was connected to Mbiuni DEB Primary school, St. Joseph’s Boarding Primary, the parish church etc. Another network from the same source was connected directly from Kathyoli to Mbiuni Secondary School. From here we saw water going to Mbiuni General Hospital and to the CCF centre. By the end of the year 1995 water was flowing in almost every part of the region.
All this big relief was owing to the to the notable efforts CMI fathers esp. Fr. Jose Kallely CMI who is ever keen to lend his ears and to understand as well as to act where possible. Others to be recognized for their contribution towards this worthwhile project according to history are the likes of the Mbiuni CCF centre for the part they played.
Later on, CMI fathers made note-worthy efforts in the inauguration of the Mbika Water Project, another reliable water plan that was drawn from river Athi to add to the abundant supply of water in the all region of Mbiuni.
FRANCISCAN CLARIST CONGREGATION (FCC) SISTERS
Mbiuni catholic mission is the first parish entrusted to CMI fathers. Now it became a big tree where a plenty of varieties of birds rest. Right from its beginning Fr. Jose Kallely CMI with his fellow CMIs led the people to faith. CMI fathers also started many institutions for the benefit of the people.
Ofcourse, we cannot deny the support and co-operation of many people who helped us in different ways to the nurturing of Mbiuni Catholic Mission. The local community leaders like church officials supported us in many ways. We remember them with gratitude. Last but not least, we remember with gratitude the works of Franciscan Clarist Congregation sisters.
Rt. Rev. Urbanus J. Kioko, the emeritus bishop of Machakos Diocese was very much pleased and interested by the missionary activities of CMI fathers in Mbiuni. He, therefore, wished to get more missionaries from India including religious nuns. Then, following this invitation of him, the CMI General Superior approached the FCC Provincial Superior of Chalakudy Alvernia province in Kerala, India, Sr. Mello to get some sisters to Kenya. She had welcomed the invitation with joyful heart and after a successful plan, she sent 4 sisters to Africa and particularly to Kenya.
The Franciscan Clarist Congregation (FCC) was started on 4th July 1888 in Kerala, India. The missionary activities of them started first in North India in 1960. Now it has spread to all the continents.12th November in 1989 is a remarkable day in the history of FCC Congregarion. For the first time, the FCC tree was planted in Kenya when the pioneer group which consisted of Sr. Jovita, Sr. Casavan, Sr. Mary Thomas, and Sr. Vinaya Bastian landed on the soil of Kenya.
In Kenya, they are engaged in apostolic activities in various regions like Mbiuni, Katangi, Donyo Sabuk, Meru, Nairobi, Machakos, and Kasinga. They focus their activities in education, vocational training, health care, pastoral and social work. The CMI Congregation thank them for their support and co-operation in our missionary work in Kenya.
NGUNGA: HOLY SPIRIT PARISH
Ngunga Parish consists of 29 churches. It was started by Fr. Heeran a Holy Ghost Priest from Ireland in the year 1984. In the beginning there were only 16 churches. The distance from one church to another is approximately 5km. The farthest one is 22km from the parish centre. The catholic population is about fifteen thousand.
Our congregation took charge of this parish on 22nd April, 1991. Fr. Joy Kalaparambath CMI and Fr. Andrews Athappilly CMI were appointed as the Fathers in charge. Fr. John Parokaran CMI, Fr. Paulose CMI, Fr. Antony Kuttikat CMI, Fr. John O’carm also worked with Fr. Joy. Now Fr. Jacob Achandy assist Fr. Joy in the parish. When we started the Aspirants House at Donyo Sabuk, 2 more Fathers started staying there and they were also involved in pastoral work mainly in 10 out stations.
The Catholic Men Association (CMA) and Catholic Women Association (CWA), Legion of Mary, Parish Council, Youth, Sunday Catechism Association, Altar Boys Association, Charismatic Prayer Groups etc. are very active in the Parish. Small Christians Communities are the basic units of the church hierarchy. They are very dynamic in the Church. They make the liturgy very devotional and active. The choir is the other element in the church that helps the people to participate closely in the church in liturgy. All churches have catechists and even some churches have two catechists. They meet on the 1st Monday of every month and share the readings of the Sundays of the month to guide people in liturgy especially when there is no mass. There will be special classes for them in that day.
The Small Christian Communities meet one day in every week. The Parish council meets once in every month. They help the priests in the running of the parish in both material and spiritual developments. The priests visit the Small Christian Communities and have mass very often.
The sick are cared for and visited and given communion very often. Once in a year especially in August there will be retreats on zonal basis. For the youth there are cultural competitions and games programmes in every vacation. The same way competitions are arranged for Sunday Catechism Children in zones and in parishes level in vacation.
There are various charitable programmes for the people of this area. About 100 old people are cared for by the help of Help Age International (UK). About 50 poor children are being helped every year for their primary and higher school –education.
PEOPLE OF THE AREA
In this area 80% of the people are Christians and out of that 35% is Catholic. Ngunga is semi arid and consists of hills and valleys with several coffee plantations. One of the biggest coffee plantations in Kenya belongs to this area. But it is almost ruined because of the lack of efficient management and corruption. Only one plantation out of five is operative now.
Here the primary education is free and compulsory. Lack of food and starvation causes the children to leave the school before completing their education. The population mainly depends on agriculture for their survival. Many of them also work in pineapple plantation that belongs to “Delmonte”. Most of the farming depends on rain so when the rain fails there is no food and other necessities of life.
It is a beautiful place surrounded by many small and big mountains. Hence we can call it as a city in a valley. In 1960, the government made use of these mountains for wild life sanctuary. Now this national wild life park inhabits thousands of buffalos, antelopes and hyenas. Formerly this place was used by the ‘Masai’ for grazing their cattle.
These Masai gave the name ‘Ol Donyo Sabuk’ meaning the hills. Later Holy Ghost Fathers came to this land as missionaries. They constructed a church here which can accommodate around 50 people on those times. The whole land was owned by a single British man called MacMillan. It was a land of sisals. And in 1990, the Catholic Church of this area was included in the diocese on Machakos. Formerly it was the part of Nairobi Arch Diocese. And in the year 2000 the then Bishop of Machakos gave permission to the CMI fathers to build the Aspirant House and to use the land.
The same year itself we built a house for priests and started a formation house. Rev. Fr. Edward Padikala CMI and Fr. Jacob Achandy CMI were the members who came to this place first. Indeed it was Fr. Joy Kalaparambath CMI who took initiative to have a house here who was the parish priest then and now. At present here we have a formation house, Carmel Nursery school and a parish which consist of nine out stations with 2250 families. In 2009, Fr. Anto Thekkoodan CMI together with other fathers planned to build a new church in Donyo Sabuk. By the grace of God the new church’s construction is progressing.
The starting of the seminary in 2001 at Donyo Sabuk was like a great dream come true. It was the Second Pan African Conference in Madagascar in 2000 that took the challenging decision to start the formation programme in Kenya. The late Fr. Alex Ukken was the Prior General and Fr. Sebastian Athappilly was the provincial of Devamatha Province. The Carmel Seminary was built in 2000 and was blessed by the late Urbanos Kioko, the bishop of Machakos Diocese on 14th July, 2001.
It was in July 16, 2001 that Carmel Seminary was officially opened by the then Prior General, the late Fr. Alex Ukken. During the Holy Mass four candidates were received into the aspirants’ house by the Prior General. They are Michael, Peter, Julius, and Christopher. Fr. Jacob Achandy was appointed the first rector of the Carmel Seminary. Fr. Sebastian Parayil was the assistant rector and Fr. Edward Padikala CMI was the superior.
With the starting of the formation, Kenya-Madagascar Mission took a different outlook and the CMI Congregation is rooted in the soil of Kenya. It is an important milestone in the growth of the St. Thomas Kenya-Madagascar Region. When Fr. Edward left for India Fr. John Karuttikkaran became the superior and Fr. Sebastian went back to Magmony to continue his service in the mission area of the Coimbatore Province. Fr. Jacob Achandy continued as the rector till 2007 when Fr. Anto Thekkudan was appointed as the Rector. Now Fr. Paul Muringathery is the superior and Fr. Shaju Chiramel is the rector.
In the year 2008, the Parish started for the first time in the Diocese of Machakos a special Marian Devotion. Every Friday the Parishioners gather in the church and take the statue of Mother Mary in procession and they recite Rosary. At the end of the rosary we offer the Holy Mass and recite special healing prayers. People come to make confession during this devotion. Many young people also use to participate in the Rosary Devotion and people witness that they receive healing and spiritual growth. And this devotion is extended even to the families which helps them to renew themselves. Also this great devotion prevents people going to other sects and denominations.
In every out station we conduct Sunday Catechism and the teachers are instructed to take the classes. Generally they teach the basic prayers and prepare them for the first Holy Communion. Catechism of the Catholic Church is the basic text and we also follow ‘Kamba Catechism’. In total we have about seven hundred students and twenty five teachers.
The liturgy in Kenya is the centre of their faith. All actively take part in the liturgical celebrations. Choir gives life to the liturgical celebration. Each out station has a choir group and they practice twice a week.
CATHOLIC MEN/WOMEN ASSOCIATION (CMA/CWA)
Almost all the parents belong to this association. They take care of the parish activities like visiting the sick, taking care of the weak families and the needy. Once in a month they have a Mass and meeting. They also involve in the welfare activities of the whole parish.
SMALL CHRISTIAN COMMUNITIES
The whole church is divided into ten groups of small Christian Communities. They are the basic cells of the church. They alternatively give leadership for the Sunday liturgy and for cleaning the church, decorating the church and other activities. Once in a week they gather in one of their families and read bible and conduct prayer services. They discuss matters pertaining to their growth of their families. Periodically they use to have a Holy Mass in the units. Brothers from Carmel Seminary also visit their communities.
LEGION OF MARY
They are the soldiers of Marian Army. They have their special devotion to Mary and prayer. Every Sunday after Mass, they come together and recite rosary and intercede for the parish and a church as a whole. At the end of the prayer the priest in charge blesses them with a small message.
FCC SISTERS IN NGUNGA PARISH
It was in 1997 that the Franciscan Clarist Sisters who were serving in Mbiuni Parish, Machakos Diocese were invited by Rev. Fr. Joy Kalapparambath CMI to Ngunga Parish to extend their missionary activities. He recommended them to Muka-Mukuu Farmers Co-operative Society and they donated them 40 acres of sisal bush, where they are now, on condition that they have to work for the Socio-Economic Development of the people of this under-developed area through various projects. In fact, they started a plenty of projects for the people.
1. San Damiano FCC Convent and Formation House (1998)
2. San Damiano Vocational Training Centre (1998)
3. San Damiano Boarding Primary School (1999)
4. Peace Home for the physically challenged (2000)
5. Laverna FCC Convent (2005)
6. Laverna Children’s Home for the orphans and the less privileged ones. (2005)
7. Laverna Primary School for the orphans (2005)
8. Laverna Home for the Aged (2007)
They have also drilled two bore holes in the Campus.
THE HISTORY OF CATHOLIC CHURCH AMONG THE AGIKUYU
Early Christianity in Kenya was restricted in the coastal region; starting with the Portuguese and marked by the death of the Mombasa martyrs in 1631. In the 19th century the Holy Ghost missionaries revived the mission work. The expansion of Christianity was very slow due to strong Islamic presence. This led the missionaries to enter into the interior parts of the country.
The Establishment of Catholic Mission in Kikuyu Land
When the railway reached Nairobi, the Missionaries shifted their work into the interior Kikuyu land. At the time of the shift of Mission, the Kikuyu land which was very much fertile had fallen under the British administration. Hence the missionaries were held with coldness and suspicion. But, at the same time, a prominent chief in the name of Karuri Gakure of Tuthu near Murang’a entered into a friendly relationship with missionaries and requested through Dr. Hinde, the then Sub. Commissioner, to establish a mission station at his territory. The request was given to the Holy Ghost fathers who, in turn, invited Consolata fathers.
The Consolata fathers, burning with missionary zeal, worked tirelessly to learn the Kikuyu language and the ways of Kikuyus in order to engage in pastoral care and evangelization in depth. The Consolata fathers who loved to work in Kikuyu land and whose mission zeal was tremendous requested the Roman authority in 1909 to assign them Kenyan field of work with full Rule, and the request was soon granted. This saw the separation of Kikuyu land from Zanzibar-Mombasa Vicariate and declaration of its administration to Consolata fathers. On 26th June 1909 it was raised to the status of an Apostlic Vicariate. Almost at the same time, the Consolata Chief founder Fr. Allamano founded the sister’s congregation who, by 1913, arrived in Kenya and replaced Cottolengo sisters.
Development of Nyeri-Muranga Diocese
With the full administration authority of the Kikuyu land, whose population was highest in the entire Kenya, it was just for the Consolata fathers to venture in pastoral works in the race for Kenyan souls. For this reason Consolata missionaries did much of pastoral care, and health care programmes. This approach, however, was much welcomed by the natives as they enjoyed listening to the missionaries struggling to speak their language and got amazed by their so called English Medicinal magic in nature to majority.
The pastoral care approach of the Consolata missionaries though was welcomed by the natives proved very slow in as much as a fruitful Christian mission work was concerned. Then they started to concentrate in the field of education especially of the youth.
The Period of Turmoil
The Second World War and the Mau-Mau uprising was a great turmoil in the development of Nyeri-Muranga Diocese. When the Italians joined the Germans fighting against the British, seventy five Italian missionaries were declared war prisoners here in Kenya. The Nairobi Apostolic Delegate’s trial to intervene was in vain hence they had to be deported in concentration camps in South Africa. This made the Holy Ghost fathers becoming once again the care-takers of Nyeri. In 1943 Consolata fathers and brothers returned back to continue their mission, however, the government detained them in Kabete for another year.
The emergence of Mau-Mau Movement of 1950 at Kiandu, only 10 miles away from Episcopal residence, was another blow to Consolata mission work. They heavily criticized the movement whose pledge involved traditional cultism and lack of respect for human lives. The members though stood on their ground and readily denounced Christianity and fully supported the new movement without any turning back. The Nyeri-Muranga mission really collapsed as majority of converts joined the freedom movement to fight and to get back their rich land and their rights from the inhuman British colonial rule.
The war led to the murder of catechists, Consolata missionaries, both fathers and sisters. When the war slowed down between 1956 to 1958, the Consolata missionaries made a come back by orienting their mission on charitable crusades to bring back the mass faithful who had joined the movement. The crusades did great in attracting majority and by 1958, the number of catholic faithful had highly increased.
Nyeri-Muranga Diocese under African Bishop.
In 1960, September at a diocesan conference, the missionaries came to the conclusion that a change of mentality was needed to do justice to the new age of independence, specifically the change to hand over leadership to Africans. This saw Bishop Cavellera spear heading the appointment as the first black bishop in the name of Ceasar Gatimu as auxiliary bishop of the larger Nyeri in 1961. Bishop Cavellera was keen on handing over the full shepherdship to Bishop Caesar invested full authority as possible to him giving him an opportunity to take part in 2nd Vatican Council and leaving him to pastoral care of the whole Diocese as much as he wished. In 1064 when the Roman authority created Marsabit Diocese, Bishop Cavellera obediently accepted the new mission among the nomads and handend over to Nyeri Bishop Gatimu who was officially enthroned as the first African Bishop of the larger Nyeri Diocese on 28th February, 1965.
The Creation of Muranga Diocese
In 1983, we see Nyeri with a population of 6,00,000 catholic faithful, the greatest in Kenya, a subdivision for the sake of better pastoral care. Hence the creation of the new Muranga Diocese took place on 28th March 1983. Msgr. Peter Kairo was appointed as its first Bishop and ordained for the same course on 21st May 1983.
ST. TERESA’S PARISH AND ST. TERESA’S CMI NOVITIATE.
St. Teresa’s Catholic Parish situates in the Murang’a Diocese. The parish has about 50 acres of land. This plot of land belonged to the Government. During the period of freedom fight a prison was opened here in 1953. After the independence in 1963, this plot was given to catholic mission on 17th may, 1968. First priest for this mission reached on 22nd June, 1968. The parish was established in 1973 under the Diocese of Nyeri and in 1983came under Murang’a Diocese.
This parish was entrusted to CMI fathers by Rt. Rev. Bp. Peter Kihara in 2003. Fr. Paulos Pazhoonkaran is the first CMI parish priest. Most of the parishioners are rice farmers. On Sundays parishioners actively take part in the Holy Eucharist and all other activities. There are nine out-stations. Each out-station has more than 150 families. Each year more than 1000 people receive baptism. There are various pious associations like CMA, CWA, PMC, Choir, Altar Boys etc. The parish also runs a dispensary. A primary school was started for the people in 2007.
We started CMI Novitiate in the parish premises in 2003 with the due permission from the bishop. Fr. Paul Arackal is the first Novice Master. Our first recruited novices from Kenya were Bro. Christopher Makau, Bro. Peter Mutinda, and Bro. Julius Kamuti. They made their first Religious Profession on 8th September, 2005. Our novices are actively involved in pastoral activities of the parish.
MAKUTANO – A NEW MISSION WITH A NEW VISION
20th Dec. 2004 We bought 8.3 hectares land at Makutano for the cost of Kshs.110,000 per acre from Mrs. Juliah Macharia.
7th Mar. 2006 Fr. John Thottappilly and Fr. Jijo Theethai together with three workers came to this land, started clearing the land and making a temporary mabati house.
18th April 200 The work began for the fencing of the plot.
6th Jan. 2007 We got Rural Water Connection from water authority.
8th Jan. 2007 The blessing and laying of the foundation stone of CMI Christ Primary school at Makutano, Muranga Diocese was done by Rev. Bishop Peter Kihara – Bishop of Muranga of Muranga.
19th April 2007 We bought a plot of 11 hectares adjacent to the old plot at Kshs. 120,000 per acre from Macharia.
11th Dec. 2007 Blessing of CMI Christ Primary School by Rev. Bishop David Kamau – Bishop of Nairobi. Fr. Mathew Kaniamparambil CMI, the then Vicar General of CMI congregation, opened the school.
6th Jan. 2008 Fr. John Thottappilly and Br. Christopher began to stay in the school.
15th Jan. 2008 the school was opened and classes were started with 45 students in class 4, 5, and 6.
22nd Jan. 2008 Drilling of a borehole was done.
14th Sep. 2008 Devamatha Provincial Fr. George Pius Ukken CMI laid the foundation stone. Fr. John Neelankavil CMI, Councillor for Evangelization and Pastoral Ministry were also present there.
21st Sept. 2009 Two CMC Sisters came here and began to stay in the school. They administrate and run the school in collaboration with the CMI Mission.
6th Jan 2009 CMI Christ Primary School reopened with 115 students.
19th Jan 2009 Fr. Shaju CMI landed here and began to stay at school.
23rd March 2009 Golden Jubilee of the religious commitment of Fr. John Thottappilly CMI was conducted at Makutano.
11th May 2009 Rev. James Thoomkushy, the retired Archbishop of Trichur, Kerala, India, visited here.
4th Sept. 2009 The day we got electricity.
9th Sept. 2009 Fr. Shaju went to Donyo Sabuk and Br. Godfrey came here.
MOUNT SINAI CMI SCHOOL, MLOLONGO
It was a dream of all the CMI fathers in Kenya and the superiors of Devamatha Province, Trichur, Kerala, India to have a house of our own in Nairobi city, the headquarters of Kenya. The dream was realized in the year 2002 when Bishop of Machakos offered us a plot of land near the Nairobi city in Mlolongo. Fr. Davy Kavungal CMI was the mastermind behind the Mt. Sinai School. The school started functioning in the year 2002 and the Rev. Sisters of Notre Dame are in charge of the administration.
The Mt. Sinai School is one of the known Mixed Boarding Schools in the Nairobi city today. It is a School with a Vision for the People. In the year 2002, when Mt. Sinai C.M.I School took its roots, there must have been such a vision backed by a mission of hope no matter the difficulties. This year is the ninth Birthday of the school and has overcome many obstacles and crossed many mile stones. We have to agree that both academically and in co-curricular activities the school has progressed much.
The school has a population of around 500 pupils from class four to eight. For the past four years, our candidates have made the school proud by getting position three in Athiriver division. We want every child to use their full potential and become one day a university graduate and a good leader. Side by side we emphasize the value of recreation and development of the co-curriculum. The fresher’s day gives ample opportunity initially to get rid of fear, shyness and the ability to act, sing, recite verses, poems, and take part in all activities either in group or individually. We emphasize that everyone must get a chance to do something when there is a public function.
The aim of our institution is to train young people for unselfish leadership. The students we educate are our hope in the change of oppressive structures of society in the future. The teachers are well trained. They always burn the midnight oil preparing for the lessons of the following day. The main aim is to situate us in the success corner. Truly, Mt. Sinai CMI School is an institution ready to assist students and prepare them for future life.
MT. SINAI CMI FAMILY…………..
FORMATION IN KENYA
“The harvest is rich but the labourers are few, so ask the Lord of harvest to send out labourers to his harvest” (Matthew 9: 37). Following this mission mandate of Jesus and following the footsteps of our Founding Father Bl. Chavara we, the CMIs decided to recruit candidates from Kenya. The main formation centers in Kenya are: (i) Carmel Seminary at Donyo Sabuk where we have aspirancy, (ii) St. Theresa’s Novitiate at Karaba, and (iii) Study House at St Thomas CMI Regional House, Syokimau. During their various formation periods, they are provided with human, Christian, religious, spiritual, pastoral, philosophical and theological training.
Study House at St. Thomas CMI Regional House, Syokimau
After Novitiate, the formees are provided with philosophical and theological training. They do their philosophy and theology while staying at St. Thomas CMI regional house, Syokimau, which started in the year 2005. The rector is responsible for their religious and priestly formation. The former Rectors are Fr. John Elevathingal, Fr. Jijo Thethai and Fr. Jacob Achandy. For the moment Fr. Johny Thachuparanban is in charge of them.
The students in Philosophy do their studies at Consolata Philosophical Institute where they get integral vision of reality: the nature of the world, man and God with an African perspective. After two/three years of Philosophy, they go for one year regency so that they can get concrete experience with the people before they start theological studies. For theology, they go to Hekima College run by the Jesuit Fathers. During three years of theological training they get a holistic orientation of education that promotes a holistic formation inclusive of spiritual values based on multi cultural environment without neglecting the specific context in Africa (inculturation).
Moreover, they go for regular apostolate on weekends, like teaching catechism, visiting the sick in the hospitals and at homes, pastoral helps in the neighbouring parishes, homes for disabled, prisons etc.