Monday, July 15, 2019

A Kenyan Priest's Experience with the Children's Rosary

While we were in Kenya, we were able to sit down and talk to Fr. Wachira about his experiences with the Children's Rosary. He had introduced the prayer group movement in his parish in Rombo,Kenya. After seeing the results, when he was assigned to a new parish in Sultan Hamud, he likewise started the Children's Rosary. He began in the main parish and then began introducing it in the outstations. He is also now working toward implementation of the Children's Rosary in the schools in his parish. 

The main goal of the Children's Rosary is to support the prayer lives of children. This is done through the children leading the Rosary in prayer groups. These groups exist in schools, parishes and orphanages.Through supporting the children's prayer lives, this encourages them along the path of holiness. When children grow in holiness, many other changes begin to be seen in the families, parishes and the community.

While we were in Kenya we had an opportunity to talk to Fr. Wachira about his experiences with the Children's Rosary first in Rombo and then in Sultan Hamud, Kenya.  Fr. Wachira explained that, "when we started no one thought that the Children's Rosary was going to spread like a bush fire." It began very small with just 20 children and then spread later to include thousands of children in the parish. Fr. Wachira shared, "It ended up to be very powerful and a strong prayer and project in our parish". He explained that, "we started with very few animators, after that everybody wanted to become one of us because of what the Rosary had done around Rombo parish. We started with like 20 kids but later when I was being transferred from Rombo we had like 2,000 children from different parts of our parish. Everyone wanted to become part of us. We were praying the Rosary and we saw how Our Mother Mary is so powerful and cannot let you down when you pray through her."

Fr. Wachira shared some of the fruits he has seen with the Children's Rosary:
"When we started we had so many broken families". After beginning the Children's Rosary there was a change.  "We saw some of those parents ... coming back to the Church and changing from the former way of life and becoming good Christians. And this was so encouraging and especially when the kid comes and tells you, my father is now in the Church, my father has come back now into the Church and it was so encouraging. We saw parents who were fighting coming back again because of the prayer of the Rosary. I saw parents who had separated coming back to the Church and coming together and vowing to become one in that family". The Children's Rosary brought so many back to the Church that Fr. Wachira recounted, "we saw Churches mushrooming." Given the increased numbers of those wanting to attend Church three outstations were started. 

Fr. Wachira recounted, "When we had some problems in a certain Parish where a person could not see face to face with each other. The Rosary became uniting factor. Children prayed for their leaders, they prayed for their Church and Church members who were there and they came back united and ready to work together. It was amazing."

Fr. Wachira also found that the Children's Rosary brought peace to the region. "When there is no peace it brings a lot of disunity in the Church", Fr. Wachira explained. "When there is peace everybody wants to come back again." 

One of the challenges for Pastors in Kenya is that they have many outstations of the main parish. In Fr. Wachira's parish there were 24 outstations and only 2 priests so it was impossible to visit each one every week. Yet Fr. Wachira shared how the prayer groups were helping. "The Church was moving it was moving even when I am not there.  The Church was moving because prayer was there and it was making every person move in faith."

Fr. Wachira found it very simple to implement the Children's Rosary. He explained, "kids only need small things and then you make them happy.... Giving them a rosary that was enough. Showing them the way that was enough." He found children were even teachers in their own homes, encouraging their parents to pray. He found this changed the parish and families. "Instead of the parents leading now, it was the kids that were leading the parents." 

We are grateful to Fr. Wachira for sharing his experiences with the Children's Rosary. 

Other Posts You May Enjoy:


Don't forget to unify prayers with the children during their meetings. A schedule of meetings is present on our website. By clicking "Join in Prayer" you can add your gold flashing light to our View from Heaven map.
CLICK HERE TO WATCH OUR NEW VIDEO:

For more information about the Children's Rosary visit our website: www.childrensrosary.org
Visite nuestro sitio web en español para obtener más información: www.rosariodeninos.org
Pour plus d'informations sur le Rosaire des Enfants, visitez notre site Web:www.rosairedesenfants.org

Saturday, July 13, 2019

Holy Spirit: the Great Unifier

We had the tremendous blessing to spend Pentecost in Africa. In the planning stage of the trip the Feast of Pentecost was a shining light on the schedule. Like most of the trip we generally knew the region we would be in each day but the details of what we would do each day were in many ways a surprise. Pentecost fell on our 6th day in Africa and was to be our last full day in Kenya before leaving for Tanzania the following day. As it turned out, we were not only to experience one Mass on Pentecost but two! 

One of the beautiful things about Mass in Kenya is the music which is woven throughout the liturgy. There is also dance. The Mass in Sultan Hamud began with a group of the children singing and dancing in procession up the main aisle of the Church. After Mass in Sultan Hamud we were off to an outstation of the parish. This Church is named after St. Peter and is in a more rural area and is attended by members of the Maasai tribe. 

The congregants were waiting for Fr. Wachira to begin Mass and we quickly took are place for Mass with this the families of St. Peter Church. The Church was much smaller. The songs sung in Maasai were fantastic. We had no idea what they meant but they had a great beat and engaged everyone. At St. Peter's there was also dance and some of the adults and children had interesting large stiff necklaces that were placed one on top of the other and as they danced they moved their bodies in such a way that the necklaces flopped forward and back. This was clearly part of the dance to create a movement that sent the necklaces up and down in such a way. It was all new to us and one of the members of the congregation took our son Asher's hand and brought him out with the others dancing. 
The Apostles experienced Pentecost as a time when people of many different tribes came together and understood each other and heard the message of Christ clearly. We too felt unified in faith despite our different backgrounds. The Holy Spirit is indeed the unifier and we felt in a powerful way unified through the Mystical Body of Christ. After Holy Mass, we spent time with the families. They had prepared an African tea for us. A photo of some of the women sharing this tea with our group is at the top of the post.
There was a group preparing food as well for us which was a surprise. We had not expected lunch and yet it seemed at each turn we were experiencing African hospitality. 
We did bring some gifts to share with the children. We brought handmade rosaries, scapulars and miraculous medals. We saw lots of smiles as each child took a miraculous medal.

The Children's Rosary at St. Peter's Church meets each week on Saturday. The children shared with us that they like to pray the Rosary and have now begun praying the Rosary more at home, too.
We were so grateful for the warm welcome we received from the children at St. Peter's Church. Today, as it is Saturday, the children would have met in their Children's Rosary prayer group. We too held a Children's Rosary in West Hartford, Connecticut USA. Through prayer we feel in a special way connected to them. 

Other Posts You May Enjoy:


Don't forget to unify prayers with the children during their meetings. A schedule of meetings is present on our website. By clicking "Join in Prayer" you can add your gold flashing light to our View from Heaven map.
CLICK HERE TO WATCH OUR NEW VIDEO:

For more information about the Children's Rosary visit our website: www.childrensrosary.org
Visite nuestro sitio web en español para obtener más información: www.rosariodeninos.org
Pour plus d'informations sur le Rosaire des Enfants, visitez notre site Web:www.rosairedesenfants.org

Saturday, July 6, 2019

Praying with Confidence - Day 5 of Africa Trip

June 8th we began by going with Br. Cleophus to the town of Simba, Kenya. We spent the morning visiting families whose children have attended the Children's Rosary. We shared lunch with one family(see photo below). 
In the afternoon, we visited Thithi school where a Children's Rosary has been meeting for three months. We had a wonderful welcome from the school. We gathered together for a Rosary led by members of the Children's Rosary. I was impressed with the power of their voices. They prayed with confidence and reverence. They surprised us by praying in English. Later I found out that they had only learned the prayers in English one week earlier. The members of the Children's Rosary in this school include both the Catholic, Protestant and Muslim students. It is a boarding school and each Saturday and Sunday the group meets to pray. No children are turned away who want to join.  

After we prayed the Rosary with the children, they prepared some entertainment of poems and songs. One child spoke very well about the values of previous generations. She spoke about the importance of modesty of dress and not using bad language. I was very impressed that the children had been reflecting in this way. When I asked the children if they knew how to pray the Rosary before joining the Children's  Rosary about 7 hands went up among the group. When I asked if any had prayed the Rosary in the preceding month before joining the Children's Rosary no hands went up. When I asked the children if any had prayed the Rosary in the prior year before joining the Children's Rosary no hands went up. This was a shock to me as the children prayed so well and with great confidence. It was amazing how quickly they had become a powerful prayer group and the prayers had started to shape how they were looking at the world.  This impression was repeated in other locations. We saw other schools as well where the teachers reported changes in the children after only holding weekly Children's Rosary meetings for 2 months. 

Thursday, July 4, 2019

Visit to St. Stephen School in Tsavo, Kenya

On June 7th we traveled to St. Stephen school in Tsavo Kenya. There is no running water, no electricity and no roads in this location. This school was recently opened along the border of Tsavo National park in Kenya. The school is attended by children of the Maasai tribe. Their families exist living with animals such as goats and cows they heard. They live in peace with the wild animals only killing when they are in danger. The children that attend St. Stephen are young in the age range of 4 to 5 years old. There is a Children's Rosary at the school. Although the remote location we very much wanted to visit the children. We were only able to reach this location because the weather conditions were ideal. Thank you God. It had rained recently which kept the dust to a minimum. We were told when it is very dry the dust can make travel impossible. If it had been raining reaching this location would also not have been possible. Many children met us at the school accompanied by their parents. There was an increase activity of elephants so travel for the children alone was not advised. One person had been killed in the prior week from an elephant attack.
The Maasai people welcomed us warmly. We shared rosaries, miraculous medals, pencils and green scapulars that had been donated to the Children's Rosary. They surprised us with necklaces and bracelets they had made. 

We were invited to visit their homes. 

This was a wonderful experience. Homes were made of cow dung and mud. The entrance is a hairpin turn to prevent wild animals from entering.

Water is scarce in this region with a long dry season. Often they must walk miles to find water and when the river is dry they must dig along the bottom of the dry river bed to find water for the animals. Water is carried by hand back to their homes. Water is critical to their life so finding it often takes up a great amount of their day.
After visiting with some of the families, we found Kostin surrounded by kids. He has a real gift for working with young children. We made wonderful friends among the Maasai tribe. We are so happy they are part of the Children's Rosary.

Wednesday, July 3, 2019

Africa Journey Update

We are home in the USA. Thank you to those who prayed for us. We arrived on June 30th at JFK airport in New York City. I got sick for the last third of the trip but was spared any major injuries. Praise God!!  Asher was very sick for several days in Uganda with a fever but he made a recovery and Alina did very well save for having a car door closed on her finger. This was very painful but she pushed through like a trooper. We wished we could have done posts along the way but the days were so long and most of the time internet was not available or spotty. We hope to share some of the experiences from the journey in the coming days.

We will pick up here with Day 3 which was the one day of the trip where we visited a National Park. We figured we could not go to Africa without seeing the some of the beauty of the animals that inhabit this vast land. We set out very early on June 6th for Amboseli Park: a reserve known for large elephants. The road to the park was rough and washed out from earlier rains. Our goal was to arrive by 6AM when the park opened. In the dark as we headed down the dirt road we had our first glimpse of the wildlife. Asher spotted a giraffe along the road. With our van lights, the glimpse  was brief but exciting to all of us.  We arrived at the gate just before sunrise. The park employees had not even come yet.

As the light started to peek along the horizon the sky began to change moment by moment. It was breathtaking. The sounds of the birds and all those around created a majestic atmosphere that we tried to drink in. One of the highlights of the day was following a pair of cheetahs. We were able to see many animals some up close and some a bit farther away.
We got up close to many monkeys and baboons. One had a newborn baby. Next to the baboons was a lake full of flamingos.
The kids had a great time. The roof of the vehicle lifted up so when the van was stationary we could stand and have a great view while still being protected from the heat of the sun.

Sunday, June 9, 2019

Day Two in Africa

Day two began with a meeting with Cardinal Njue at the Basilica of the Holy Family in Nairobi. We then went to Mass at the Basilica. At the conclusion of Mass we had arranged a meeting with Jeremiah Mumo (shown above). He works with some of the poorest children in Nairobi in Kibera slum. We were able to give him 120 handmade rosaries and some Children's Rosary books.

The weather in Nairobi surprised us as it was relatively cool and in the morning it rained. In the afternoon we began our journey to Sultan Hamud. This is a rural area several hours outside of Nairobi. There we met Fr. Wachira who is the Pastor of St. Martin of Tours Parish in the Ngong Diocese. He shared with us over dinner many stories from his prior parish in Rombo Kenya where he had initiated the Children's Rosary in the main parish of St. Charles Lwanga and 21 of its outposts. He spoke of how the first group began small with only 20 children but over time it grew in the main parish and then began spreading like a brush fire in the outposts. More and more people wanted to be involved with the Children's Rosary. Peace came over the outstations where there had been conflict. Children shared with him how they had prayed for their parents. Some parents suffered drinking problems and did not attend Church. But after some time he had children who came back and shared that things in their family had improved and their parents were coming to Church. When Fr. Wachira was transferred to the Parish in Sultan Hamud he wanted to again initiate the Children's Rosary. He has already begun to begin groups and hopes to initiate more.

We thank all of you who are praying for us on this trip. We can feel those prayers. These first days we had very little sleep. In some cases less than 3 hours since we had not adjusted to the time change. We have also had limited access to internet so we will try whenever possible to provide updates.

Thank you again.

-Blythe

(note: second photo was taken in Sultan Hamud on the walk to St. Martin of Tours Parish)

Meeting with Cardinal Njue

On our second day in Africa we were able to meet with Cardinal Njue of the Archdiocese of Nairobi to discuss the Children's Rosary. Despite the fact that offices were closed that day, he made a special trip to the Basilica of the Holy Family to meet with us. We are so grateful to him for his hospitality. He also introduced us to Fr. Moses Kago and Sr. Rose Mwangi. We presented him with a Children's Rosary banner for the Archdiocese of Nairobi. At the conclusion of our meeting he gave us a blessing for which we are most thankful. This was a wonderful beginning to our visit to Kenya.