Catholic Diocese of Nakuru Mission plans Mass and benefit

By Claudia Mathis
SUN staff writer

“Whatever you do to the least of these, you do to me.”
— Jesus in Matthew 25:40

MATTYDALE — The Catholic Diocese of Nakuru Mission (CDNM), in continuing its effort to fund programs aimed at helping those suffering from poverty in Nakuru, Kenya, has planned a special Mass and benefit on Friday, Oct. 9 at 6 p.m. at St. Margaret’s Church in Mattydale.

Before Mass, a multimedia presentation featuring Kenyan choir music, an overview of Kenya and the work that has been done by the CDNM mission to date will be shown.

During the Mass, St. Margaret’s choir will sing several songs in Swahili. Barry Vaughn, a St. Margaret’s choir member and CDNM volunteer, is looking forward to the event and believes that everyone who attends will enjoy it. “There is a spirit of love and respect that pervades this ministry which is very special,” Vaughn said.

Following the Mass, a benefit will be held in St. Margaret’s auditorium and will feature African entertainment, food and a market bazaar. Unique handmade items will be offered through raffles and a silent auction.

With the money that is raised, CDNM wants to provide immediate food aid to those in dire need, treat children who are suffering from acute malnutrition and provide them with immediate therapeutic care. The mission would also like to provide urgently needed seeds to families in time for planting season to ensure a food supply for the next harvest.

“The support we receive will help us to bring the Gospel message of love and hope to the people of Nakuru, Kenya,” said Father Cleophas Oseso-Tuka, CDNM director and parochial vicar at St. Margaret’s. “The people of Kenya would also benefit from the generosity of everyone’s prayers.”

In the last 25 years, weather patterns in Kenya have changed drastically, causing communities living in arid and semi-arid regions to move in search of food, water and pasture. Since Kenya is overwhelmingly dependent on agriculture and 80 percent of its crops depend on rainfall, famine or a lack of rain has created a disastrous situation.

“We want to share our ministry, especially now,” said Father Tuka. “With the drought, nothing will grow.”

Besides the troublesome environmental conditions, Nakuru’s people are also plagued by political unrest, poverty and the prevalence of HIV/AIDS.

Father Tuka knows first-hand what the conditions are like in Nakuru. He is a native of the area. Father Tuka said that in Kenya the common problem is poverty, which touches every dimension of life. The Diocese of Nakuru is working to bring hope to many people by trying to alleviate poverty in the area.

The Syracuse Diocese, through CDNM, is also helping those who suffer in the Nakuru Diocese.

The CDNM was incorporated July 2000. Its mission is to promote pastoral and human development through evangelization and community mobilization. The CDNM office is located in Canastota and the organization has eight board members. Father Tuka said that CDNM provides educational and intercultural opportunities to learn about Kenya throughout the diocese. The mission has sponsored events at Holy Family in Syracuse, St. Margaret’s in Mattydale, Transfiguration of Our Lord in Syracuse and St. Agatha’s in Canastota in recent years.

Father Tuka said that the Catholic Church is the only hope for the many poor and displaced who are suffering in Nakuru.

CDNM’s annual fundraiser provides for their basic needs — housing, food and water, clothing, medicine/health care, cooking oil and blankets. There are 100,000 people in the Nakuru Diocese.

CDNM has suggested some ways to assist their mission: pray for the Nakuru Diocese and Kenya, give generously at the Mass, purchase raffle and 50/50 tickets at the benefit, encourage others to get involved, make monthly donations and join the annual fundraising committee.

“Together, I believe we can make a difference in the life of a needy person,” said Father Tuka. “Assisting a brother or sister in need is working for a society where all have an opportunity to live their lives fully.”

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