McCauley Formation House
16 January 2016
We gathered as members of St. John Paul II Small Christian Community (SCC) in our Holy Cross Formation House in Nairobi. One of the eight members of our SCC shared with us his experience of visiting a children’s home care in Kampala, Uganda during his holidays. He said: “There is a woman called Christine, the founder of a home care. Though bitterly barren, she always felt bad about her failure to bear a child of her own womb. However, she began developing special love for her neighbors’ children. She worked as a house maid, commuting from her home and loved taking care of her employee’s children. One day a baby was abandoned near her home in the night. Charitably, she took care of this baby. Though she tried to look for the parents, all was in vain. She could travel to her work place with this child. As this child became a burden to his employee’s budget and accommodation, Christine left her job as handmaid so as to take care of this ‘new child’. She walked around her neighborhood while fundraising for her ‘child’. In a short while, her home had more than ten children who were abandoned at different places and brought to her home. Today, this charitable home has grown to a home care of over 60 children. Christine thanks God who has turned her barrenness into a motherly love and her house into a children’s home.
Judge: Situational Analysis
God blesses parents with children as gifts. Irresponsible parents choose to abandon and neglect their children. Maltreatment of children is an offence against Christ’s love and human dignity. A Christian’s heart must suffer when a child suffers because “Children are a gift from the Lord; they are a reward from him” (cf. Psalm127:3). We must work to affirm that little ones are God’s gift to us. We must speak out against injustices to children while affirming Jesus’ words: “Let the little children come to me and do not hinder them, for to such belongs the kingdom of heaven” (Matthew 19:14). In the face of human misery, God cares. He invites us to speak against injustices and do anything possible to make his love present to all little ones. Let us remember to pray for all the mistreated, neglected and abused children that God may continue to be their last defender in all situations.
Act: Reflection Questions
Have I abused any child at my home or in my neighborhood?
Are my children and those in my neighborhood trained well and taken good care of?
Are there times that I have gone out of myself to welcome, support and protect the life of another child or a foster home in my neighborhood?
Do I know the laws and strategies our local authorities employ to tame and transform parents who appear to be overly defensive, hostile, or angry towards children?
What concrete and ordinary simple things do I do, and my SCC do, to promote the love of Christ for children?
Have I contributed, and how has my SCC contributed, towards the training of responsible parenthood in my neighborhood?
Have I remembered to pray for children whose last defender is God alone?
Causes and effects of single parenthood are on the rise in Uganda and this affects the Christian families in the neighborhood. Christians and animators of SCCs should be very creative and understanding so that such a group of Christians do not feel abandoned and unwelcome! Single mothers are usually the most vulnerable group and they are in constant search for love and belonging.
Away from the blame game and spreading victims of single parenthood with guilt, SCC members and animators should and must make their SCC a home of mercy and love. They need a Christian platform to listen to their hard life defined by hard-decision making, loneliness and family instabilities. They need a positive experience from brothers and sisters that encourage them to walk the exodus of their life in search for freedom and liberation in Christ.
A SCC would make a special group of single mothers where they listen to their search for a stable and safe child care; deliberate on a home routine and stick to it; suggest their own solutions to problems with rules and disciplines that guide them clearly and consistently, know important professional people (teachers, counsellors, pastors, friends) who can guide them charitably; calmly and honestly answer their deep seated faith questions; and get support to avoid reckless behaviors.
Reflection on single parenthood can help a SCC to:
Make a special SCC for single parents.
Create a forum where they feel welcomed and belonging.
Give audience to single parents to share their life experiences together.
Allow well selected scriptural texts be read out in order for them to share their reflections and deliberations.
Find resources that support their positivity about life and love of God in their lives.
Find personnel, friends, professionals and trainers of trainers who can organize for them conferences or workshops that facilitate “homecoming.’
Organize liturgies and prayers that facilitate their inner healing, reconciliation and growth in faith, hope and love as well as readmitting them to the reception of sacraments.
Actively involve them in church activities, Bible sharing, devotional groups and leadership that makes them animators and servants of Christ (servant leadership).
Mentor and build their skills and empower them to facilitate some social outreach activities and missionary group activities that fight against social injustices especially against single parenthood.
Engage them in music, dance and drama to evangelize. Give them a platform to share freely their life testimonies to other Christians.
Help them coordinate self-help groups in order to meet their socio-economic needs and development.
Such activities of SCC members can affirm their faith in Christ and fall in line with Pope Francis’ words: “’Being with’ Christ does not mean isolating ourselves from others. Rather, it is a ‘being with’ in order to go forth and encounter others.”
Seminarian Henry Kajubi, CSC
McCauley Formation House