On Sunday 11th April 2021, twenty-seven (27) prospective Companions of Kenya attended a historic virtual meeting with attendees calling in from the United States of America, Gibraltar, England, Scotland, Germany, Sudan and of course our beloved Kenya.
An important day for the work of the Order of Malta in Kenya, as the creation of the Companions of the Order of Malta in Kenya marks an important further step for the dedication of volunteers for the catholic faith and the help of people in need in the country.
Sadly, due to Covid restrictions, our Mass at the Nunciature had to be cancelled and a further technical challenge further frustrated the attendees, but they persevered. We received 21 apologies from Companions who were unable to access the link. Be that as it may, the majority managed to listen to the recording of the meeting. A grand total of 48 people expressed their willingness to help build the Companions of Kenya and in turn Kenyans in need.
Our warm thanks to H.E. Archbishop Hubertus Van Megen, and his team at the Apostolic Nunciature to Kenya, for his support and offering to host the morning event; it was unfortunate that Covid got the better of us again.
Rev. Dr. James Campbell, SJ, gave the most wonderful opening prayers, blessing the Companions on their journey, S.E. Archbishop van Megen offered his support with the celebration of Holy Mass which had to be cancelled due to the COVID situation.
The Ambassador of the Sovereign Order of Malta to Kenya, H.E. Dr. Wilhelm von Trott zu Solz, delivered the opening address which set the tone of the meeting, informing everyone of the structure of the Companions of Kenya and what is expected from them.
Fr. Maxwell Atuguba C.S.Sp gave the listeners an overview of his wonderful project in Pokot, in North West Kenya. This was officially announced as the Companions of Kenya’s first project and the target of $50,000 has been set for the construction of a maternity theatre for the mothers and newborns of this vast and remote area of Kenya.
The outpouring of offers to help towards this worthy project were fantastic and will hopefully propel the construction to start in July 2021, just after the rains.
Stephen Sammut (Knight of Magistral Grace) offered to circulate the project to his students at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania and Strathmore University in Kenya to see if any would volunteer their services, especially in the medical field. A subsequent meeting had American students offering to help with the business plan and Kenyan doctors and nurses volunteering their services at the hospital.
Mrs. Nathalie Houben (Companion of Kenya) offered to assist with medical advice during the design phase of the maternity ward and to assist with the business plan.
The Procurator of the Grand Priory of England, Fra’ Max Rumney, offered to distribute the Kenyan fund-raising initiatives to his database of over 2500 Faithful, which we pray will have the most incredible impact.
Mr. Gerolamo Chiavari (Knight of Honour and Devotion) pledged financial support for our project and most importantly, insurance to cover future Kenyan pilgrims to Lourdes, this one fact alone has prevented Kenyan Pilgrims from attending in previous years.
H.E. Mr. Tom Amolo, (Companion of Kenya) Ambassador of the Republic of Kenya to the Federal Republic of Germany, commended the attendees for their passion to help those less fortunate in Kenya and said he would assist the Companions of Kenya in whichever way he can.
Several other listeners pledged financial support once they had received more information on the project.
The initiator of Companions in Kenya, Mr. Sam Mattock, will follow up with the next virtual meeting in due time and we all look forward to see the first project of the Companions gaining shape and a stable financial basis.
Father Maxwell humbled us all with his closing prayers, showing him truly to be a man of God, with the heart of a lion.