On September 9th the Christian Brothers’ 4thOrientation Programme at St. Joseph’s Retreat Centre, Nairobi was officially launched. Over a hundred people joined the Brothers to mark this important moment in the life of the Congregation. As people gathered the choir from Br Beausang School sang I Have no Hands but Yours a song attributed to St Teresa of Avila.
Br Sunil Britto briefly introduced the ceremony outlining the various elements of the programme. He welcomed Br Tony Shanahan, Leader of the East Africa District The opening song Enda Nasi, translated into English means ‘Go with us’ inviting all the people to support the Brothers as they were about to undertake this three-month programme of formation.
Br Tony welcomed the people and thanks the Transition Support Team for their work in preparing the Orientation Programme and wishe the participants every success for the programme.
Br Simon Kiswahili read a passage on the Exodus experience, and Br Jerry Ekka shared a reflection on what it means to be a pilgrim. The people then began to process to the main hall accompanies by the choir as they sing Companions on the Journey.
Br David Gibson, a member of the Transition Support Team (the TST) offered an explanation of Our Way into the Future, highlighting the three elements of the process: the spiritual search, the formation of vibrant and cohesive communities and outreach to those who have been made poor. He explained that from this vision, the Transition Support Team created the project Journeying Together whose aim is to establish clusters of Christian Brother communities in Zambia and India. Members of the TST then call the participants forward as then enter into the circle for those beginning the programme. They inquire, ‘Are you ready?’ and invite the Brothers to respond. When they respond, each Brother in presented with a candle and shawl to symbolise the Kenyan culture into which the Brothers will insert themselves. Local drummers accompany the journey of the Brothers into the circle.
Br Sunil invited the congregation to applaud the Brothers who have generously left their Districts and Provinces to join this new venture.
Br John Casey, a member of the Congregation Leadership Team from Rome offered words of encouragement to the Brothers who have volunteered to join this fourth Orientation Programme.
Br Amandi Mboya, a member of the East Africa Leadership Team led the blessing prayer and as the congregation responded to the blessing, those Brothers who are attending the ceremony and the resource people for the programme circled around the participants as an act of solidarity to those who are on this new journey.
Br Sunil invited some of the invitees to take a small candle with the name of one of the participants on it, and to bring it home and occasionally light it and pray for the intention of that Brother.
Br Donal Kirk, a member of the TST and one of the presenters of the programme offered a vote of thanks and the choir broke into song with the final hymn: I Say Yes, Lord.
Everyone then was invited to partake of light refreshments and to mingle.