Friday, February 5, 2010

Kenyan Bishop visits St. Paul-Mpls Archdiocese this week


Bishop Anthony Muheria from the Diocese of Kitui, Kenya, will visit Archbishop John Nienstedt and parishes in the St. Paul-Minneapolis archdiocese this week, including St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Catholic Church.

“The visit will strengthen the bonds of the partnership between the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis, and the Diocese of Kitui – a partnership that began in 2004 with their respective predecessors, Bishop Boniface Lele from Kitui and Archbishop Harry Flynn from the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis,” said Fidelis Linder, member of Seton's charity and justice council and Kitui partnership committee member.

Bishop Muheria will visit parishes who hosted members of his flock last September. He will spend time in discussion with Archdiocesan staff, as well as with seminarians at the St. Paul Seminary.

Kitui is located about 100 miles southeast of Nairobi, the capital of Kenya. As part of the partnership, the Archdiocese is committed to helping provide resources to build water dams in the area. Getting clean drinking water to the people has been a need for many years.

As part of the partnership, the Archdiocese is committed to helping provide resources to build water dams in the area. The other major objective is building on the faith and friendship between the two groups.

“Schools in our archdiocese will benefit from Bishop Muheria's belief that the youth of the world are its future,” Linder said. “He believes in relationship-building at all levels.” He will visit St. Pius X school in White Bear Lake and St. Thomas Academy. Both are involved in new initiatives to establish school-to-school partnerships.

The bishop will visit Hastings and St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Church and School Monday, Feb. 8.

“He will be greeted with music at SEAS School Monday,” Linder said. “He will recognize their on-going involvement in the ‘H2O Project’ which supports sustainable food security in Kitui.”

The SEAS Faith Formation classes and SEAS School students will both be doing the H2O Project during Lent. Students drink only tap water for two weeks and give up sodas, chocolate milk, malts, and juices – an exercise in building solidarity. The money saved is donated to the H2O Project.

“By drinking tap water, our students set a great example of sacrificing the luxuries so children in Kitui might have the necessities,” Linder said.

Bishop Muheria will talk with supporters during a parish staff meeting to learn about SEAS' Foods Resource Bank “Harvest of Hope” project. The Archdiocesan Harvest of Hope effort has completed four dams, each holding up to five million liters of water for drinking, livestock, and irrigating food crops.

Roger Fox, FRB co-chair at Seton Church, and Dave Belongia, a 2008 delegate to Kitui, will be part of this discussion. They will be visiting Kenya later this month as part of a FRB-sponsored visit to the development site in Nuu.

Mass will be celebrated at 6 p.m., followed by a potluck dinner.

To build on the faith and friendship, Seton Church has sent its own delegation to Kitui and, most recently in September, four people from Kitui visited Seton Church and the Hastings community. They visited medical care facilities, area farms and schools.

The evening with the bishop is open to the community. Hastings Star Gazette

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