When one is passionate about something, they do everything in their power to achieve it. They face challenges directed at them head on, just to reach the finish line. And this is what the parishioners of Rakwaro Nyakach in in Kisumu County, Kenya are like.
In 2018, the Bishop of Kisumu Metropolitan gave them a new parish and sub-parish, St. Zacchaeus Kajimbo Parish and St. John Bosco Rakwaro Sub-Parish, respectively. While this was indeed a blessing for the small town, it wasn’t without its challenges. (Read: Archdiocese of Jaro, Iloilo Adopts First Parish Mission in Kenya)
Because of a high level of poverty and unstable income of the members of the community, the town has still not been able to build a prayer house for their parishioners. They used to try to raise funds by selling bottled water to Mass goers after each Mass, but it still wasn’t enough.
Because they had no prayer house, people in the town would hear Mass outside in an empty field, seven kilometers from their actual community, under the scorching sun. A table is only set in front as a makeshift altar for the priest, and a handful of plastic chairs are placed to serve as seating for Mass goers.
It’s an unconventional way of celebrating Holy Mass–but parishioners religiously attend every Sunday because of their strong faith. They have also continuously been celebrating Sunday Masses amid the pandemic, just with added health protocols such as social distancing and wearing of face masks. (Read: 4 Practical Prayers to Ask God for Help)
With this situation in mind, the St. John Bosco Rakwaro Sub-Parish is knocking on the kind hearts of Catholics around the world to help them build their prayer house. Any amount will do, and will go a long way for the Kisumu County’s Catholic community.
If you’re interested in helping out, or want to connect to their community, you may check out the Facebook group of St. Zacchaeus Church in Kajimbo or reach out to the Kisumu Archdiocese at firstname.lastname@example.org.