Mervin John Noronha, SVD
Nairobi, Jul 11: On 7th July the tiny Konkani Catholic community in Nairobi was in for a pleasant surprise as their shepherd Rt Dr Bishop Aloysius Paul DíSouza paid them a brief visit. The Bishop, who was on his way back to Mangalore, after visiting SAME Diocese in neighboring Tanzania on a fact finding mission in view of exploring possibilities of entering into a missionary collaboration, took time to celebrate Holy Mass with the community and join in a fellowship meal hosted in his honor.
It could be recalled here that the Bishop of SAME had earlier this year paid a visit to the diocese of Mangalore and had placed a formal request for missionary collaboration.
Having learnt that there was a vibrant catholic community from the western coast in Nairobi as well as a good number of Missionaries, both men and women, rendering missionary service in Kenya, the Bishop devoted 2 days amidst his busy schedule to visiting his flock in the Kenyan Diaspora.
In his homily during the Holy Mass celebrated in the open air at the Shrine of our Lady Consolata, where the Konkani catholic community earlier this June had donated a Mangalore-made Statue of Mother Mary, encouraged the tiny community to love Mother Mary deeply as she watches over her children and wipes their tears out in moments of trails and suffering. He further exhorted them to live their faith by emulating Mary, who is an icon of undivided love for God and humanity.
Four priests, who formed the delegation that accompanied the Bishop in the mission expedition, expressed in unison that the time spent in Nairobi was the most memorable part of their first ever African experience and regretted for having reserved such a brief time for the visit.
At the fellowship meal hosted at a family, the Bishop, as a true good shepherd and pastor, interacted freely with all and expressed his deep gratitude for the warm welcome and hospitality accorded to him. He further invited the members to remain united and be the keepers of each other.
For the community members this day will remain as a special day whereby the shepherd chose to come to his flock and share Godís love generously. A true shepherd is one who creates time for his flock and doesnít miss an opportunity to interact with them. That is exactly what the Bishop did by his visit.
Fr. Mervin, an SVD missionary working in Nairobi, took responsibility for the stay and other necessary arrangements while the entourage was in the city. He thanked the Bishop and his team for their visit. He further thanked the community for their generosity and active participation.