BOYSTOWN-RUAI AND THE EUDISTS IN KENYA
By Fr. Jean-Paul Sakoto, CJM
Eudist priests came to Kenya in December 2014 to begin their first foundation in East Africa. They came at the invitation of Bishop Martin Kivuva Musonde of the diocese of Machakos to start a retreat center and care for a new parish in Mua Hills. The initiative was planned and facilitated by the Congregation of Our Lady of Charity of the Good Shepherd who have been in Kenya for 50 years now. However, this project changed almost immediately after we arrived due to the transfer of Bishop Martin to the diocese of Mombasa on December 9 of that year. The ways of God are not the same as ours.
In this uncertain situation, the Eudist fathers moved to the Archdiocese of Nairobi. The goal was to find an appropriate place to plant the seeds of the Eudist’s charism of “Evangelization and Formation.”
It was the Year of Mercy, beginning the first Sunday of Advent that December. The Archbishop of Nairobi, John Cardinal Njue, mercifully appointed the Eudists to care for the St. Charles Lwanga Boystown in Ruai, just outside of the capitol. It is a charitable center founded by an American couple: David and Florence Niemeyer in 1994, handed over to the Archdiocese of Nairobi in 2007. The Archbishop was moved by the desire to make this project a more visible sign of the mercy extended to vulnerable children. In October 2015 he entrusted it to the management of the Eudist Fathers. The center, with the contributions of donors and volunteers, helps orphans, boys in the street, and those in need, to grow in the presence of the Lord. We help them recover from the wounds they bear from a life in the streets or the slums, and to realize their greatest potential for the benefit of all society through those programs: rehabilitation, guidance and counseling, primary school curriculum, secondary school scholarships, food and basic medical care. The administrator, Fr. Jean-Paul Sakoto, CJM works day and night to find scholarships for the boys, as well as financial support for the promotion and development of the center.
Currently, the Eudists have five priests in Kenya with other two missions in addition to Boystown. They minister to priests in the presbyteral retreat house for the Diocese of Nairobi, administrated by Fr. Mahoussi Adoko, CJM. Fr. Evaristus Bitanga, CJM is in charge of Sacred Heart Chapel, an outstation of Saint Mary’s Parish in the process of becoming a parish itself in the Diocese of N’gong. He is the Eudists’ Local Superior, working with Frs. Bernard Assedi, CJM and Marcus Saba, CJM to assist in the mission wherever they can.