During my visit to Kenya, September 10-17, 2022, I learned a Swahili word: “harambee,” which expresses the importance of everyone pulling together to make the world we live in a better place. Pope Francis speaks of this concept using the Franciscan phrases “fratelli tutti” and “culture of encounter.”
“To speak of a ‘culture of encounter’ means that we, as a people, should be passionate about meeting others, seeking points of contact, building bridges, planning a project that includes everyone. This becomes an aspiration and a style of life. The subject of this culture is the people.” (Fratelli Tutti, 216)
In Ruiri, Kenya, during workshops on Justice, Peace, and Integrity of Creation (GPIC) and Franciscan Ethics for a “0-5” group of friars, we were able to discuss how to use St. Francis’ Canticle of Creation and Canticle of Minority [the Admonitions] to seek points of contact in fraternity and ministry… HARAMBEE!
It was a privilege to have been asked to preach at the Mass of Welcoming for the new postulants in Ruiri. That same day, I was able to explore with the postulants Franciscan GPIC through the lens of St. Clare’s method of Franciscan Prayer, to Gaze, Consider, Contemplate, and Imitate… HARAMBEE!
Our Lady Queen of the Apostles Church in Gaturi is a new ministry for the Province of Kenya. The friars have only been there for six months! The parish includes twenty other chapels in the region. Friar Boniface Nzioki MUIA gathered catechists from all the communities for a day of training. Together, we discussed the importance of seeing ourselves as part of God’s creation, brothers and sisters to all that lives… HARAMBEE!
In Nairobi, Friar James KABATA welcomed me to the Consolata Institute of Philosophy where I was able to discuss with members of the Drama Club the work of Franciscan Social Theatre in Ukraine and Poland… HARAMBEE!
I am especially grateful for Friar Obed Muriungi KAROBIA, who was forever introducing me to the people of God, as Friar Mike “Murithi” LASKY. I quickly learned that “Murithi” means shepherd, which immediately made me feel at home in the community, since the people gave a little laugh and welcomed me with open arms… HARAMBEE!
Friar Michael LASKY, General Delegate for Justice, Peace and Integrity of Creation