Former Regional Superior in Nairobi, Kenya
How I make Jesus known through my words and actions as a Vincentian Priest.
I came to Kenya about 20 years ago and have found that the Vincentian charism is very important to the African continent in this moment of its history. We have begun to make Jesus known by teaching sacred theology to diocesan seminarians, creating opportunities for ongoing education and support for diocesan clergy, by direct, material service to the poor in the slums, and by creating programs for the poor to lift them out of poverty.
Being a Vincentian priest means to have three things stand at the center of our lives: the Eucharist, the priesthood, and the poor. First, the Eucharist is the source and summit of the Church’s life and through daily celebration of the Eucharist, the Divine Office and Adoration, we strive to keep Jesus always enthroned in our hearts. Second, living priesthood means to take on the image of Christ and make Christ available through the sacraments. As Vincentians, we are constantly going out to the faithful, especially the poor to accompany them, pray with them, and celebrate the sacraments with them. Finally, the poor are our Lords and Masters and we encounter Christ when we encounter them. We go out to serve the poor and do everything that we can to help the poor and alleviate their suffering. St. Vincent tells us that we are priests of the poor and that God has chosen us for them. These three things together make a Vincentian priest.
Of the five virtues that a Vincentian strives to live, zeal is perhaps the most important. Zeal is not the desire to accomplish many things with great energy, but the desire to love God intensely and wanting to help others love God just as much. For the Vincentian, we believe the poor are not simply objects of charity. St. Vincent tells us that they have the “true faith”. We go out to the poor as their chaplains to help grow in the love of God and, as much as possible, move any spiritual or material obstacle out of the way that hinders their faith and devotion to God.