Archbishop Rony Lazo of Jaro meets children from Holy Family Parish in Kaaleng, Kenya. (Photo supplied)
A Philippine diocese has adopted a parish in Kenya, Africa, by sending clergymen to administer the sacraments and propagate the faith among Kenyan churchgoers.
Archbishop Rony Lazo and Father Peter John Guarin of Jaro Archdiocese in the Western Visayas region arrived in Kenya last week for the canonical erection of the Holy Family Parish in Kaaleng, Turkana County, according to an announcement by the archdiocese’s Commission on Social Communication on social media.
In 2019, Jaro Archdiocese sent two other clergymen to Kenya to prepare the parish in Lodwar Diocese for the adoption program.
“This [Holy Family Parish] will be the first adopted mission parish of the archdiocese in Africa. Last year Fathers Arthur Flores and Alfone Berbegal were sent to Kaaleng for the mission … and to prepare for the erection of the new parish under the pastoral care of Jaro Archdiocese,” the archdiocese’s announcement said.
The adoption ceremony was attended by Gary O. Auxilian, the consul at the Philippine embassy in Kenya, Bishop Dominic Kimengich, the apostolic administrator of Lodwar Diocese, and Archbishop Lazo.
Clergymen from Jaro Archdiocese will work with nuns from Missionary Sisters of the Lord’s Table congregation in the parish.
The congregation is known in the Philippines for its catechism and parish work.
“The apostolates of our congregation include catechetic and religious education and parish work in urban communities and barangays. We also enjoy providing liturgical renewal, forming basic ecclesial community, assisting with formal religious education, family and life instructions, and training and formation of lay leaders,” Sister Evangeline Camano told UCA News.
Sister Camano said their contribution would help the Filipino clergymen propagate the faith among African families.
“We look forward to working and creating a partnership with the fathers from Jaro Archdiocese. The parish is not only a mission but a gift from God to discover him amid people who come from a very different culture,” Sister Camano added.
There are around 50 Filipino missionaries in Kenya who are assigned to remote and impoverished areas.
Filipino churchgoers said the African mission was an opportunity for Filipino Catholics to help and reach out to the “peripheries” according to the call of Pope Francis.
“Going or supporting a mission in Kenya is indeed a response to the call of the pope to reach out and to go to the peripheries in the world. Supporting this kind of mission makes us [Filipino churchgoers] think that the Church is not only confined to our parish or community. It is universal,” churchgoer Carla Magtanong said.