Approximately 300 people gathered on our provincial house compound one fine day for the Silver Jubilee celebration of the SVD’s missionary presence in Kenya. This ‘One Fine Day’ needs emphasizing primarily in reference to the weather. Days before and after the appointed day, downpour offered no letup. Yet, somehow, the sky was clear and the ground was dry on 7 April 2010.
Nothing could be more appropriate in celebrating the beginning of something (even if it took place a long time ago or maybe because it happened 25 years back) than holding it within the octave season of Easter. The Lord’s resurrection ushers in a new beginning in everything that we do. Theologically we can say that Jesus, the New Adam has brought about the founding of the New Creation and New Life through His incarnation, passion, death and resurrection.
Thus, referring now to our Silver Jubilee, it could very well be understood as the marking of a new beginning, a new creation, a new life. It was indeed a fitting occasion, more so because Easter season coloured it with greater significance and meaning.
And so on that day, confreres set aside their pastoral and ministerial activities to assemble in Nairobi. On that day also, the Archbishop of Arusha, Tanzania Josaphat Lebulu shared his time with us as he presided over the Eucharistic celebration and was made the guest of honour. Moreover, on that day, parishioners, lay-partners, mission collaborators, and friends from other religious orders and congregations joined us in thanking the Lord with prayers, in fun and merriment. On that day, SVD confreres looked back with a sigh of relief for having survived and gone through a significant chapter of its missionary journey in Kenya, and , by extension, in Tanzania. On that day, we also looked ahead with a sense of great hope for the future.
As planned, we started the day with the Eucharist, and then went on with the presentation of cultural numbers and entertainment. Being a day of sharing, almost everyone participated and all had a great time.
Several confreres were acknowledged and given recognition for having done something special for the province. They were the following:
Bro. Karl Schaarschmidt — Missionary Service Award
Fr. Tom Leyden (in absentia; on home leave) — Leadership Award
Fr. James Mailady — Leadership Award
Fr. John Serrao (in absentia; now at INM) — Leadership Award
Fr. Eusebio Manangbao — Leadership Award
Bro. Karl was a member of the pioneering SVD-Kenya team. He came to the country in January of 1985, and has been here since. Frs. Tom, James, and John served the province as regional or provincial heads. Fr. Eusebio is our current provincial superior.
The four provincial house employees, namely Cecilia, Jimmy, Fred, and Francis, were also given Loyalty Award for their many years of dedicated and faithful service. Their having worked in the provincial house gave them unique opportunities to interact with and serve all confreres in the province.
In actual, 7 April 2010 was nothing but the culmination of the province’s year-long celebration. It is to be recalled that parishes and communities marked the occasion in different ways and at different times throughout of last year.
For more photos, please follow the link below: http://soysi.multiply.com/photos/album/37/SVD_Kenya-Tanzania_Silver_Anniversary_Celebration