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Pastor helps speed up ANCOP’s charity work in Kenya

The story of how a priest in Kenya got involved in Couples for Christ’s work with the poor (ANCOP) is a journey of discovery and of God’s grace. Fr. James Kairu first came to know of CFC from a young student from Holy Cross HS in Surrey, Canada who campaigned in his parish for financial support so she could join a mission trip to the Philippines.


Then, he was introduced to ANCOP when Jun and Malou Clarito of CFC ANCOP Canada who are assigned as missionaries to Kenya, sought his help in coordinating with the clergy in Kenya for ANCOP’s child sponsorship program. This was April 2015. He facilitated the meetings of the ANCOP mission team with the Kenyan clergy especially the bishops: Bishop Cornelius Korir of Eldoret, Archbishop Kivuvu of Mombasa, Bishop David Kamau of Nairobi, Bishop Philip Anyolo of Homabay, and his former classmate Bishop Maurice Muhatya of Nakuru.


When he himself visited Kenya in 2015, he personally introduced the ANCOP team to the other clergy including his brother in Eldoret, Fr. Frederick Kairu. Soon after, ANCOP Canada entered into an agreement with various parishes and schools in Kenya for children to be under ANCOP’s Child Sponsorship Program (CSP). The program benefits the children under the care of St. Clare Sisters in Homabay, those in the school managed by the Franciscan Capuchins, and the seminarians in Nakuru.


The pastor first came to Canada as a visiting priest. Originally from Eldoret, a principal city in West Kenya, 300 km from Nairobi the capital city of Kenya, one of his early assignments was as vocation director at the diocese of Eldoret. He says, “However, this changed when I was called for a different assignment. First, I was sent by our bishop to the US to study and to help in the Kenyan mission. From there I was sent to Canada.”


His assignments in Canada included St. Monica Parish and St. Joseph Parish in Richmond, St. Francis de Sales Parish in Burnaby, and other parishes in Greater Vancouver, British Columbia. It did not take long for the parishioners to warm up to this charismatic priest whose homilies are simple, yet full of wisdom and life’s lessons, and conveyed with great sense of humor.


Now, as assistant pastor in St. Joseph Parish in Langley, he is turning out to be an avid leader of his flock helping Fr. Lawrence Donnelly in the day-today affairs of the parish.


His journey has now taken him to involvement with ANCOP. “ANCOP has an enormous potential to help the poor in Kenya especially the children,” said Fr. Kairu. “With its program for children’s education and community involvement, it will have a huge impact in Kenya especially in the villages where more than 50% of the people live in dire poverty.


Most kids do not get education and are forced to be in the streets or do manual labor even at a very young age. Many, especially girls, find themselves in dangerous situations such as sexual exploitation and eventually teenage prostitution.”


Aware that ANCOP’s support program also includes helping seminarians complete their studies, he enthuses” “Helping the seminarians means helping the Church and the people, and ensuring a continuing line of clergy for the Catholic Church in this part of the world. Many boys are interested to become a priest, although traditionally, Kenyan families don’t want their children to enter priesthood.”


The pastor shared that the Kenyan government does provide children free education in the public schools, but only a few could avail of this. If they do, staying in school is extremely difficult because many families cannot even support the children’s basic needs like school supplies, food, and clothing. This is especially true in the rural areas such as the dioceses of Eldoret, Homabay, and Nakuru.


Fr. Kairu believes that ANCOP can reach out to the thousands of Kenyan families who are desperately in need. “It will be an effective tool to bring the poor to a new way of life – a better life, not only materially, but also spiritually through the values formation that comes with its CSP program. It is my hope that through ANCOP many deserving children will be able to avail of better education in the private schools run by the dioceses.”


The pastor also hopes that ANCOP would be able to help kids with special needs.


“Because of their physical and mental disabilities, they are considered as bad luck,” the pastor shared. Thus, these children are rejected, left in small homes in the village, and receiving the least support in Kenya. Their best chance to education is through a learning program in small education centers run by volunteer groups.


For Fr. Kairu, the good that is being done by ANCOP is a powerful witnessing of Christian faith in action. He is willing to help in any way he can to make the CSP program succeed in Kenya, and to rally people in Canada to support the work.


According to him, the church leadership in Kenya, especially the bishops, are in full support of ANCOP. They would provide help in identifying and monitoring the progress of the scholars, and in ensuring accountability and transparency in the use of funds.


In April 2016, Fr. Kairu will be back in Kenya for the CFC national conference that will gather CFC and ANCOP leaders and the clergy. He is hopeful that this will bring ANCOP to more of his people. He is committed to help lay down the preparation for the work. (Edna Garrucho, ANCOP Canada, as edited from original)

Added on Tuesday, March 1, 2016


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