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We all have an experience of thirst, physical thirst that pushes us to have or look for a glass of water, juice or a cup of coffee, tea or milk. Somehow we manage to quench our physical thirst for a while.
How can one quench the longing, or thirst in one’s heart or soul?
The Religious of the Assumption in Iguguno, (Tanzania) give seminars and catechism classes to students at Tumaini Secondary School, at Kinampanda, an outstation of Iguguno Parish.
The Sisters with the zeal of educating the young, support the thirsting souls of the students by preparing them for baptism and first Holy Communion. We had fifty students for baptism and a hundred and four for first Holy Communion. The thirsty souls of these students could not be quenched or be satisfied by any worldly things. The soul is satisfied only by accepting and allowing yourself to drink from Jesus, who is the fountain of living water.
It was a wonderful experience for the students to receive the sacraments of Baptism and First Holy Communion. Their faces radiated joy that proved St. Augustine true, “Our hearts are restless until they rest in God”.
Three trees were planted to symbolize the growth of their spiritual life. We advised them to take care of their spiritual life just as will take care of those trees by watering, adding manure and weeding. They were told to nourish their spiritual life by group and personal prayers, regular reading and sharing the Word of God and to be renewed by receiving the sacrament of reconciliation. It was a joy to bring these young thirsting souls to Christ. This event has encouraged more students to register for catechesis instruction so that they can receive baptism, and first Holy Communion.
After a few weeks the second group of students received the sacrament of Confirmation. Their believe in receiving the outpouring of the Holy Spirit with the seven gifts (wisdom, understanding, knowledge, counsel, fortitude, piety and fear of the Lord). They were reminded that the Holy Spirit increases their ability to practice their Catholic faith and to witness Christ in school and at home when go for their holidays.
Their experience of the day was, “The seven gifts are now in me and not in the catechism book, I now feel responsible for my faith, I have the weapons to defend my faith, my relationship with God is now deeper, I am a soldier of Jesus till death, I love my Church, I will encourage others to follow catechesis instruction to the end”.
As the Religious of the Assumption, we felt called to go an extra mile to support the thirsty souls by teaching catechism and accompanying the young in their spiritual journey.
By Assumption Sisters
Jesus mentions in the Gospel of Luke that few people are willing to evangelize, “The harvest is plentiful but the labourers are few, pray therefore to the Lord of the harvest to send out labourers into his harvest”. (Lk.10:2). This became a reality when I was sent to my pastoral mission in Maluga, Singida Diocese, Tanzania.
I grew up in places that people go to worship in church buildings. It never dawned on me that in our 21st century that there are people, especially of the Catholic faith who still celebrate the Eucharist in temporal tents. Tents that are fixed on Sunday when the priest comes to celebrate the Holy Mass at least twice a month in our outstation of Kitusha. Shortage of priests and Catechists in the Diocese, geographical challenges and vast areas without a church presence are some of the reasons as to why spiritual services are not rendered for months.
The presence and pastoral mission of the Religious of the Assumption in Maluga has already made a great impact on the lives of the people. The sisters are involved in teaching catechism to the nearby primary school, work with the association of Catholic women and attend the small Christian communities. The two years of our presence has brought into a relationship with Jesus. We feel encouraged because we have created friendship that brings us together in times of joys and sorrows. Families are gradually accepting the proclamation of the Good News, they are participative when sharing their faith, active in the small Christian community and reflect the love of Christ by sharing with the poor. We feel invited to find new ways of evangelization so that more people may have the experience of encountering Christ in their lives and welcome the lapsed Catholics back to the faith.
We thank God for this mission that is entrusted to us in sharing and witnessing the love of Jesus and making him known, loved and served. Like a mustard seed sown in the fertile ground of Kitusha outstation, will spring up and become the largest plant that birds will dwell in its branches.
With God’s blessings and through the power of the Holy Spirit, the people will gradually discover faith anew because we are, “Disciples called to Witness” for the Risen Lord will work with us.
Sr. Magdalena Oliva Ngoja
The term peace is understood and defined in different ways. Peace is all about living harmoniously with yourself and the society around you in spite of our many differences in cultures, religion, colour, language, nationality, gender and ideology. The list is endless. As human beings, we need true friendship and harmony in our families, communities, countries and in our world not hostility and violence of any kind.
The 16th SDG (Sustainable Development Goals) of the United Nations, states of Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions. We are all called to participate and promote peace in our small spheres so that justice may be for all.
The Religious of the Assumption through the commission of JPICS (Justice, Peace, Integrity of Creation and Solidarity) commits itself in the service of life. Our world today is faced with many challenges like wars, conflicts, political affiliation, economy crises, greed, hunger, migrants, poverty and bribes. By loving our times, we are engaged in building and making our world a better place to live in as our Foundress, St. Marie Eugenie put it so well, “The earth is a place for glory of God.”
One of the six objectives of the AOSK (Association of Sisterhoods of Kenya) is to be Advocates of Justice and Peace. It was on 6th May 2022, when a meeting was conducted at AOSK center. Assembled were people from the very difficult slum areas situated within Nairobi, Kenya. The topic was Civic Education and mainly how to maintain peace before elections and after the general elections in August 2022. Kenya encounters violence that continues after elections.
The Association of Sisterhood in Kenya sponsored by CRS (Catholic Relief Services) came together with the Peace Champions to make peace campaigns country-wide. As the Religious of the Assumption, we have not been left behind as two of us, Srs Nancy and Virginia, are among the group of Peace Champion in Nairobi, to promote peace to our own people. Mostly, we gather the young people, aged between 18- 40 years in our slums who are always the target of the politicians. They use the youth, by giving them money for their own political gains and thus buy their votes.
The Peace Champions have been divided into localities and in our locality, Dagoretti North we are four members, a lay woman and three sisters. We have been planning together and thus managed to meet different groups in our locality to promote peace.
Some of the topics discussed are:
The above topics have been our channel to promote Peace. During the Peace meetings many shared their past experiences that left them traumatized and in great poverty and thus pray and hope that this past experience will never be repeated. We are also grateful to the many N.G.O’s (Non-Governmental Organizations) that are helping the Kenyan Government to preach peace in the whole country.
Each one of us, me and you, are responsible to act in a peaceful manner. Avoid making harm to anyone or anything by all means, whether in thought, word or action.
It’s our prayer that our struggles for peaceful elections will not be watered down by violence.
Srs Virginia &Nancy