Dear Christians of St. Catherine of Siena Parish Kitisuru-Nairobi and all who worship with us, we wish to continue celebrating the Sunday Mass with you. However, because of the precautions given by the government and supported by the bishops for our good, we cannot meet in our church for the time being. As a result, we shall be streaming mass live on all Sundays that these measures are in place beginning tomorrow Sunday 29th March, 2020 at 9 am from our chapel. We request you to follow through the following link. This will help us pray together despite the physical distance. May God bless and protect you all.
Fr. Mulu, OP.
Announcements for 24th May, 2020
Good Morning Christians!
Today is the Ascension Sunday
St. Teresa Small Christian Community and the Lay Dominicans are on duty. Thank you for your service.
1. Next Sunday 31st May, 2020 we shall be celebrating the Pentecost.
Unless otherwise advised, we shall have one mass at 11 am live streamed from our chapel which we encourage all the Christians to join and subscribe to our YouTube link.
St. Jude SCC and CWA will be on duty.
2. Acknowledgement- We wish to acknowledge and appreciate donations from individuals and groups who have donated for our needy this week. We have so far received donations from the Lay Dominicans. May God bless you all for your generosity!
3. Reminder-We remind the Christians to continue praying the Novena to the Holy Spirit as we prepare for the Pentecost.
4. Caution-We urge the Christians to be cautious both at home and outside because cases of robbery with violence and other forms of crime have increased in our area. This past week, our secretary was robbed of cash and phones (including the office mobile phone) at gun point in a Matatu along Peponi Road during the day. We thank God she was not injured. Some thieves are hacking phones to track their targets for the same reason. We call upon the security agencies to beef up security in the area as we pray for the situation to normalize.
a. Today, Sunday 24th May, 2020 we shall have the Glorious mysteries of the rosary with men at 8pm. All men are welcome
b. On Thursday 28th May, 2020 at 8 pm we shall have a PPC meeting. All members of the parish pastoral council are requested to prepare.
The meeting link will be shared on What Sapp pages of the above named groups.
Find these announcements on our website
We wish you a blessed week ahead
Good Shepherd Sunday
(4th Sunday in Easter, May 3rd, 2020)
Good morning all!
Today is St. Catherine of Siena Day which we were supposed to celebrate together on 29th April but happened to be a week day. She is Dominican who was known for her holiness, asceticism, and spiritual visions. She was born in 1347 and died in 1380 when she was 33 years old like Jesus Christ. At the time of her birth, there was a plague in Siena, Italy. Being the patron Saint of our parish, let us ask for her intercession that God may heal us from Covid 19 and other illnesses.
It is also a new month, May. It is the month when God’s people express a particular intensity in love and devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary. It is traditional in this month to pray the Rosary at home within the family and so we encourage all of you to pray the rosary daily.
Today is the Good Shepherd Sunday. It is also the 57th Annual World Day of prayer for Vocations. On this day, we are invited to promote vocations to priestly, religious and holy matrimony and to offer special prayers for those nurturing such desires. This annual event was first introduced in 1963 by Pope St. Paul VI.
In view of this year’s observance, Pope Francis published a message on March 8th or 9th, 2020 where he invited the Church to reflect on four key vocational words-pain, gratitude, encouragement and praise. He had also used these four words in his Letter to Priests in August last year.
Vocation is a painful journey and those who assume it is smooth are mistaken. It has a lot of challenges including confusion especially when discerning ones vocation. Even after discerning, the devil is always around to threaten the seed of vocation in us.
It is a gift from God which we ought to always appreciate and that is why the pope singles the word gratitude. Anyone who claims to own his/her vocation as its originator is a liar. Vocation which is itself a call-vocare ‘to call’ is from God. We should embrace it with hearts full of gratitude and hold it as such. We ought to encourage each other especially those who are despairing because of the challenges involved. It is a call to praise the Lord, initiator of this call but not praising ourselves.
The Lord’s call makes us bearers of a promise and at the same time, asks of us the courage to take a risk, with him and for him. The Pope reflects on the call of Simon, Andrew, James and John (Luke 5:1-11 and its equivalent in Gospels of Matthew and Mark) who had a mixed fortune in their catch of fish saying ‘much of life is like that’. Sometimes we enjoy a good catch, sometimes we need the courage to keep our boat from being tossed by the waves and at times we are frustrated with empty nets. It is at this moment that Jesus approaches the fisher men, breaks through the ‘paralysis of routine’ and promises to make them fishers of men.
We too were surprised of the promise of a joy that is capable of bringing fulfilment to our lives, when we met the person to marry or when we felt the call to consecrated life. For this matter, more than ever before, that we require each other to nurture the vocation.
And in today’s readings Jesus presents himself as the Good Shepherd.
In the first reading from the Acts of the Apostles, Peter demonstrates to the world that Christ has been accepted by people of different cultures and that this acceptance will continue because Jesus is the Lord. He is the one who has risen from the dead and so many received him. The number that was baptized increased by 3000 people. The Word of God moved these people to their conversion. This means that the Word of God should disturb us from our comfort zones and form our near normal lives. It should compel us to make a decision for Him who has saved us. Once we meet Christ we cannot be the same again! If we do not accept the Word to disturb us, then the word becomes a story book or a fiction novel which may not transform us.
In the second reading from the first letter of Peter, is an encouragement to completely trust in God even in suffering following the example of Christ who although he had no sin, he suffered humiliation, beating, crucifixion like a robber and was killed…innocently. Suffering therefore should not wear out our trust in God but rather help us cling more unto him.
Peter discourages the attempt to fix conflicts in our society through conflicts warning that this would breed more conflicts in the society. Conflicts can only be resolved in a peaceful manner, a different way from that which caused the conflict.
In the gospel, Jesus is the Good Shepherd. He is different from those who came before him as he says, "I tell you most solemnly, I am the gate of the sheepfold. All others who have come are thieves and brigands; but the sheep took no notice of them. I am the gate. Anyone who enters through me will be safe: he will go freely in and out and be sure of finding pasture. The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I have come so that they may have life and have it to the full."
He is not looking for his own selfish interest. He is not seeking to mislead the flock but to feed the sheep in better or greener pastures. Actually the greenest pastures.
This good shepherd is the door to the sheepfold that assures the sheep of protection and life in abundance.
And why the door?
In the time of prophet Nehemiah (Nehemiah 3: 1-32), there was a door named Sheep Gate in the temple. This gate led to the Holy of Holies (this is where the Jews believed God dwelt) and was the door though which the sheep and all animals meant for sacrifice would enter the temple. By claiming to be the Sheep Gate, Jesus is presenting himself as the door to God. For us to be with God, we have to pass through Jesus Christ. I am the way (John 6:44). And for one to come to Jesus, the Father has to call him/her (John 6:44). He came to open this door for our relationship with God.
We are called to listen to him because we are the sheep of his flock (Psalm 100:3).
I wish to reflect on one quality of this good shepherd, Jesus Christ which we are called to imitate.
This quality is deep listening
The good shepherd calls the sheep and the sheep listens. He commands respect and that is why the sheep listen. For them to listen and follow, the shepherd communicates to them with love and care. He is reassuring.
During this time of Covid-19, we find ourselves at home almost 24 hours per day throughout the week. This is the time to be closer to each other and practice this quality of a good shepherd. Many people consider this continual time together a punishment and rightly it may be so because many other aspects of life seem to have come to a halt. However, we can take advantage of this time to listen deeply to each other.
As we nurture our different vocations, we can listen to each other, understand each other and forgive each other. Deep listening can be referred to as compassionate listening because it aims at helping the other suffer less. It helps to go deep to the meaning of what one says and feels. Jesus is this kind of shepherd who does not judge us when we come to him (John 8:1-11). He calls us to come to him with our sins and that he will forgive us. It is through deep listening that we are able to forgive others. On the contrary, a bad shepherd is judgmental, misleads and may bring death to the sheep. As parents, we are shepherd to our children. What sort of shepherds are we? Do we listen without judging? Are we open to listen to the frustrations, fears and the pain of others?
In one of the audio books of Buddhism (The Art of Communicating-an audio online book-Thich, Nhat, Hahn), a story is given of a young soldier who went for war leaving his wife with a baby boy of about two years old. The young soldier stayed in war for quite long until the boy forgot him. When he came back, the boy was about five years old but could not address him as his father. One day, the wife went to market leaving the boy with his father. The father wanted to know why the boy does not call him father. The boy told him “you are not my father. My father comes at night and talks to my mother’ at these words, the father became furious thinking that the mother has been cheating on him. When the mother came for the market, he found a changed husband. He was angry and not talking. He started frequenting the village liquor dens and always came home late very moody. The wife tried asking but the husband did not reveal the reason why he changed. As a result, the wife became depressed and not long after, she committed suicide by throwing herself into a river.
After the burial, one night in a dimly lit bedroom, the son saw the shadow of his dad and told him ‘this is my father. This is the one my mother always talked to’. The mother had been telling him that his dad is the shadow because she lacked words of explain to him where the dad was. This made the man to think deeply and come to conclusion that he was wrong to judge his wife when he thought that she was adulterous. But it was too late…she was dead. Had he had a mindful compassion he would have listened to the wife. He would have talked to the wife to establish the truth. She suffered and died because the husband could not to listen to her. The husband was not a good shepherd. This is what many people are going through. To mitigate this, we have to drop our pride and bitterness and listen to each other.
Turning to addictions like alcohol is not a solution. Avoidance is not a solution. We ought to face each other with compassion. This compassionate listening has to follow four very important elements.
May God give us the grace to follow the Good Shepherd and courage to imitate Him…Amen.
By Fr. Emmanuel Mulu, OP
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