Some months back when I had just arrived in Nairobi, I happened to celebrate Kiswahili Mass in the parish of Our Lady of Guadalupe in Adams Arcade. Before the final blessing, I introduced myself to the Christians and I told them how happy I felt to have celebrated the first Mass in my land of mission in their parish.
After Mass, a number of Christians came to greet me and wished me all the best in my new adventure in Kenya. What caught my attention is that among the Christians that I spoke to, one of them told me that he is from Nakuru. He told me how beautiful Nakuru County is especially its lake. He also narrated to me the story of Solai Dam burst. Believe me I could not get anything from his chat, but I promised him that one day I would visit Nakuru to confirm whether his speech was true or false.
I can affirm that covering the Catholic Diocese of Nakuru has been the best experience I have ever had. I was impressed to see the efforts of the Church in equipping the youth with self-employment skills through agriculture, masonry, plumbing, carpentry, electrical installation, fashion and design, hair dressing and so on.
Through this diocese, I have learned that a religious sister can also become a lawyer. Something that I could have not imagined to be possible few months back.
The chat with one of the Christians of Our Lady of Guadalupe opened a door for me not only to see the villages of Nyandarua, Energy, and Nyakinyua where a dam burst that destroyed everything on its path took place, but also to discover more about Nakuru as a diocese.
Today many Christians still fear or hesitate to approach their priests. Most of the Christians only go to their priests when they need confession or a blessing. Parishioners as well as priests should be close to each other with affection and with prayers.
In fact, when speaking about the Seven Pillars of Priesthood, Pope Francis underlined that priests must be shepherds living with the smell of the sheep. In other words, a priest must be close to the people he serves. For Pope Francis, an authentic pastor is the one who chats with his parishioners and not the one who is always behind his computer.
An appeal to my fellow priests and Christians to be more open to each other. The more open we are, the more we learn new things and find ways to connect with others.
Fr André Nzuzi, imc