Kenya:The Carmelites and Jesuits celebrated their friendship

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By Honore Onana Olah, SJ

We played fairly well, but we paid for having started the game not prepared,” said Mr. Wass Rajitha, SJ, a member of the Jesuits’ basketball team last Saturday after the basketball encounter with the Carmelites of Mary Immaculate in their compound at Machakos Diocese.

It was around 3pm on 17th October 2017 when the Jesuits from the community of Hekima College arrived for a basketball game at the Carmelite Community in Syokimau (Mlolongo), about 30 kilometres from Nairobi, the capital of Kenya. This is also the Regional House of the CMI.

Carmelites and Jesuits during the basketball game
Carmelites and Jesuits during the basketball game

The game for the visiting side begins favourably given that they were leading the first part of the match with 5 baskets points of difference. Mr. Mark Ngwenya, SJ, the captain of the visiting side led the game. According to Mr. Sebastian Varkey, CMI, one of the members of the Carmelite basketball team “the game was too tough but they finally managed to win it. Jesuits are always welcome in Carmelites’ place and our home is their home”. At the end of the game there was a joyful as well as friendly atmosphere; a gesture that later led both groups to visit the site of the St. Veronica’s Church that is being built by the Carmelites, situated on the diocese of Machakos.

Finally, it is also interesting to know that the Carmelites of Immaculate Mary (CMI), an International Congregation was born in Kerala, India, in 1831. Fr. Johny Thachuparamban is the Regional Superior for the CMIs in the Eastern Africa. More importantly, this Congregation is also known as the first indigenous religious congregation in the Catholic Church of India. The first community was established in Kerala with the initiative of the Father founders such as Saint Kuriakose Elias Chavara and Carmelites’ Fathers Thomas Palackal and Thomas Porukara. The Carmelites of Immaculate Mary are currently serving in about 30 countries on all five continents. Their vision is to follow Christ in prayer and proclaim the kingdom of God to multitudes, identifying themselves with the poor and obeying the Father’s will.

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