12 – 16 January 1983

Sixty joyful leaders from twelve English-speaking countries of Africa gathered in Nairobi, January 12th to 16th, 1983, to pray and share together about their Christian vocation to be “A Holy People, A Royal Priesthood, A Chosen Race”. Speakers at the Conference were Fr. Rufus Pereira of India, and Fathers Bob Faricy SJ, and Fio Mascarenhas SJ, of Rome. His Excellency Msgr. C. Faccani, acting Pro-Nuncio of Kenya, celebrated the inaugural Eucharist, and gave a most encouraging address, thanking the delegates “in the name of the Holy Father, for the good which you are doing to the Church of Africa”. He went on to say, “The Charismatic Renewal focuses on the necessity of living the Christian faith in all its fullness and shows the means to achieve this objective, means which many find most suitable to their temperament, to their psychology, to the style of sanctification and of apostolate which they pursue, to the special charism with which they are endowed…Among the reasons which made the Bishops of Kenya agree to a charismatic retreat to priests from some of your leaders, I shall mention these: 1) there is an awakening interest in the Renewal in this country, and it needs proper and well directed leadership; 2) the spirituality of the movement is: Gospel, Church and Tradition centered; 3) to explain the meaning of the Renewal as related to ecumenism. I consider the confidence placed in you by the Bishops to be fully merited”. (The clergy retreat took place after this Conference).

The Conference became a source of strength and encouragement to everyone as the different delegations shared about the fidelity of their prayer-groups in the face of severe adversity, even persecution. Prophecies during prayer meetings, a daily Holy Hour of intercession, the rich Eucharists, and a celebration of the Sacrament of Reconciliation all provided wonderful times of encountering the Lord. A special feature which enlivened the Conference was the use of an apt theme-song, composed by a delegate from Uganda: “Come Africa, Come to Jesus!” Agreements were also reached on establishing structures of cooperation between different regions: Egypt and Ethiopia; Ghana, Nigeria and Liberia; Tanzania, Kenya and Uganda; Zambia, Zimbabwe and Lesotho. (Visa problems unfortunately prevented delegates of South Africa from entering Kenya).

Taken from the ICCRS Newsletter, March-April 1983

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