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Province of East Africa: We rise by lifting others

P eventMonday, 27 May 2024

Ubuntu, an African word refers to, “I am because who we are”.

As human beings, we need each other and in gradual ways, we develop a greater sense of community. Whether rich or poor, we have something to give for the good of others; a touch, a smile, a listening ear, presence, a kind word, time, gesture and sharing experiences. Living Ubuntu enriches both the giver and the receiver by being one, thus being appreciative not only to your own life but the life of the other.  All this caring and concern for each other enables us to be witnesses of the Golden Rule, “Do to others as you wish them to do to you”. This is the universal ethic power that crosses the boundaries of nationality, gender, age, culture, religion, colour, learned, illiterate, traditions, faith……. The list is endless.

In our Holy Spirit Parish, an old man of seventy six years, Joseph Kiilu, has been a source of a life transformed by faith. This old man lives far from the Parish. Due to his age and poor sight, it takes him two hours of walk to reach the Parish to attend the daily Eucharistic celebration. “What make him take the risk of coming to the Church that early morning with his poor sight? A question one would ask.

The old man gives us the answer. “My Christian life is strengthened by the Holy Eucharist where I draw the energy that enables me to wake up each morning and praise the Lord”. He says this with a smile and deep conviction.

One early morning, at 5.00am while coming to the Parish Church and reciting his Rosary, he came across thieves who asked him for money. He showed them his Rosary and said, “This is my only treasure”. The thieves asked him to pray for their conversion.

Our community is a few minutes’ walk to the Parish Church and we are touched by the strong faith of this old man which makes him persevere the rain, cold and whatever he meets on the way to the Church. He never complains, instead he thanks God for everything. His faith and thirst for God has been a source of strength to the community in their mission.

During the Lenten season, we resolved to walk to the old man’s home and journey with him in the Lenten activities and readings. Some youths in the Parish have joined us, visited him, cut his nails, washed his clothes and gave him some clothes. His joy and happiness made him exclaim, “The Holy Spirit has visited me today”.

The old man has been a model of one transformed by faith to his family, neighbours and Parish. His faith in action enables him to face challenges not alone, but with God

The Lenten Season 2024, left  us with a mark of this old man as we rediscovered that faith turns worry, fear, anxiety and complains to prayer, confidence, freedom, new hope and gratitude.

Faith is a deeply personal journey and it starts to blossom from the heart. Despair is avoidable if only we follow and trust in Jesus’ words, “Do not be afraid, just have faith”. (Mark 5: 35-36).