A Journey of Joy
In the back-seat of a small Toyota SUV, Fr. Paul Golden, C.M., rode white-knuckled to visit a Vincentian parish outside Nairobi. “Driving in Kenya is a nightmare,” Fr. Paul chuckled. “The roads are rough and, in the Nairobi area, there is so much traffic – cars, trucks, motorbikes, taxis and bicycles. It’s quite an experience!”
But Fr. Paul did not travel more than 6,000 miles from Denver, Colorado, to Kenya, East Africa, to survey road conditions. He was there to visit Vincentian parishes and outstations, and to lead strategic planning meetings for the growing Region of Kenya.
The program attracts college students and young adults, ready for a life of community, prayer and service. Participants serve for one year in a variety of agencies, ministries and outreach settings. For many, the CVV program challenges them to discover what God is asking of them.
“Our mission in Kenya is vibrant,” Fr. Paul explains. “We are ordaining many priests, educating and training many seminarians, and more men enter formation every year.”
After a 20-kilometer trek from Nairobi to Thigio, Fr. Paul visited parishioners, volunteers, the Daughters of Charity and others at Holy Cross Parish. Fr. Nicholas Kaloki, C.M., the pastor, drove him down the Rift Valley to visit one of the mission churches of the parish. It is a large, half-finished structure made with simple cement blocks. When more funds are available, the church will be completed.
“The Vincentians and Daughters are doing incredible work with the local poor and sick.” – Fr. Paul Golden, C.M.
“The Vincentians and Daughters are doing incredible work with the local poor and sick,” Fr. Paul says. “I was amazed by the joyful spirit of everyone I encountered – the teachers and cooks in the nursery school, patients in hospice care, the elderly, handicapped children and others who come for a hot meal.”
On another excursion, Fr. Paul visited a parish in Katali on the west side of Kenya. There he experienced a community on fire with faith in Jesus. “Mass takes hours and is filled with singing, dancing, preaching and prayer,” Fr. Paul recalls. “The liturgy is a beautiful expression of joy for Christians and non-Christians alike.”
After Mass, Fr. Paul was greeted by hundreds of people walking by as they returned to their homes. “Everyone was so welcoming and their faith is vibrant,” says Fr. Paul. “You cannot sing the way they do without really believing in Jesus deep in your heart.”