Wednesday, September 21, 2011

With the Missionaries of Charity in Nairobi

Br. Juan Pablo Rodriguez, MC with prisoners.

One of the surprise blessings of this trip to Africa is the chance to reconnect with Br. Juan Pablo Rodriguez, MC. Juan Pablo was one of the early Missioners of Christ long term volunteers in Comayagua, Honduras. From there he went on to join the Missionary of Charity Fathers, being first assigned to Tijuana, Mexico, then on to Rome for priestly studies and now in Nairobi for a pastoral year between his second and third years of theological studies.

Huruma slums,  Nairobi.

I was with Br. Juan Pablo and his community last weekend. On Saturday I had the privilege of celebrating Mass for more than 100 Missionary of Charity Sisters at their regional house in the Huruma slums of Nairobi. There were postulants, novices, professed sisters and a group of formators beginning a retreat. We returned the next afternoon to visit with the many abandoned poor the sisters shelter: infants, handicapped children and disabled adult women. The entire experience was deeply moving.

Adult women (above), an infant and handicapped children (below) 
housed at the Missionary of Charity Sisters compound in Huruma.

On Sunday Morning I was able to join Fr. Ray, MC and Br. Juan Pablo for Mass at Kimati Prison on the outskirts of Nairobi. Fr. Ray allowed me to preach and the catechist translated the homily into Kiswahili. Mass was followed by Eucharistic adoration and Confessions. The men sang vigorously and participated reverently and attentively at Mass and Adoration.

Catholic choir at Kimati prison.

A group photo of the Catholic congregation with Fr. Ray (right rear) and myself.

Following Mass we caught up with Fr. Julius, MC and the MC Sisters who were in the process of distributing sandals to some of the inmates, particularly foreigners (Ethiopians and Somalis) who have no family nearby to assist them. The presence of the sisters has profoundly transformed the atmosphere of the prison and deeply impacted the inmates and staff alike.

Prisoners with MC Sisters, Fr. Ray, Br. Juan Pablo and the catechist in prison yard.

Fr. Julius, MC and MC Sisters distributing sandals.

We ask for your prayers as we plan a chastity-focused youth encounter for October 8 and look forward to other possibilities for collaboration in the future.

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