For the last few years, the Conventual Franciscan Mission Secretariat in Gdynia, Poland, an entity of the Province of St. Maximilian M. Kolbe in Poland (Gdańsk) has collaborated with the State High School of Visual Arts in Gdynia to present various conferences and missionary animation events. Young people are given an opportunity to meet the friars of Poland and Kenya and propose projects to benefit the needy.
On June 7, 2023, students and teachers held a charity event on the Gdynia pier called the “African Dance Picnic.” The goal of this event was to demonstrate how to share joy and love with others. It was intended to attract students from other schools, residents and tourists visiting the three neighboring cities of Gdańsk, Sopot and Gdynia. During the event, the Conventual Franciscan Creating with Love Foundation conducted a public fundraiser to benefit an elementary school in Ruiri, Kenya, which is trying to purchase a school bus in collaboration with the Missionary Secretariat.
For many years, the High School of Visual Arts in Gdynia has been remotely adopting children in various African countries in order to help them get an adequate education and to develop their passions and talents. One of the adopted children turned out to be a talented painter. In February of 2024, he will show his works at an exhibition in Gdynia. The African Dance Picnic wanted to highlight the validity and value of this kind of charitable assistance, which produces tangible results and offers real opportunities for life. While outside on the pier, the young people learned African dances and rhythms and took part in drumming and painting workshops, as well as numerous skill competitions.
Among the invited guests were the Econom of the Province of St. Francis of Assisi in Kenya, Friar Raymond Owinda OGUTU; the post-novices from Kenya and Tanzania who are studying theology at the seminary in Łódź Łagiewniki; representatives of municipal and local authorities; and friars from the neighboring friaries in Gdynia and Gdańsk.
Friar Robert KOZIELSKI, Provincial Secretary for the Missions