Sacred Heart Region

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Sacred Heart Region is a dependant Region under Marymatha Province of Vincentian Congregation. The mission works of the Congregation in East Africa begun with the arrival of Rev. Frs. James Edavazhithara and Jacob Athickal in Mbeya, Tanzania on 10 July 1979 were accelerated with the arrival of Rev. Fr. Joseph Kurupamparambil. The African Mission has been raised to the status of a dependent region under Marymatha Province called Sacred Heart Region on 6 January 2006 and was formally inaugurated on 18 November 2006. At present there are 19 fathers working in this region in the countries of Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda.

The charism of the Vincentian Congregation is extended to the African continent through the Vincentian missionaries. We are involved in the parish ministry, retreat centers, popular mission retreats, orphanage for the boys, school etc. It is not an exaggeration to say that the African continent is the most fertile soil for the preaching ministry. People are so receptive to the Word of God. Amidst perennial problems like tribal wars, corruption, economic inequalities, abject poverty, exploitation by the Western power mongers, remote controlled cold wars, drug trafficking, human right violations, uncontrollable escalation of killer diseases like HIV and AIDS, malaria fever etc, common people seek comfort and consolation in Churches and retreat centers. Our preaching ministry is well attended and highly appreciated by ecclesiastical authorities all over East Africa.

Major developments of Vincentian ministries in African Mission are given below:

1. The first Vincentian missionaries, Rev. Frs. Emmanuel Rathappillil and Hilarios Aranjaniyil were sent to the African Mission in the year 1975.

2. Rev. Frs. James Edavazhithara and Jacob Athickal reached Tanzania on 10th July 1979 for pastoral work in the Diocese of Mbeya. They were entrusted with the Parish of Tukuyu with its 16 mass centers.

3. In 1985, the parish of Kyela of the same diocese with its 26 mass centers was entrusted under the pastoral care of the Vincentians.

4. Vincentians reached Katubuka mission, in the diocese of Kigoma in 1988.

5. Arrival of Fr. Joseph Kurupamparambil in East African Mission in 1992, speed up the Vincentian ministries.

6. In 1995, Marymatha Province started to send seminarians to the African Mission for getting local formation.

7. The African Mission was raised to the status of a dependent region called Sacred Heart Region, on 6 January 2006 by Rev. Fr. James Kallumkal, the then Provincial Superior. Rev. Fr. Vincent Rathappillil was appointed Regional Superior on June 11, 2006.

8. On June 8, 2007 Vincentian Prayer House Nairobi was blessed by His Grace Ndingi Mwana Nzeki, the former Archbishop of Nairobi Archdiocese. The Superior General Very Rev. Fr. Varghese Puthussery inaugurated the residential block and retreat hall.

9. On September 8, 2007, the miraculous Medal Shrine at Entebbe was blessed and inaugurated by His Grace, Most Rev. Cyprian Kizito Lwanga, the Archbishop of Kampala, Uganda. Rev.Fr. James Kallumkal, the Provincial Superior attended the function.

10. On February 23, 2008, the Priests’ residence at Kabulasoke, Masaka, Uganda was blessed by His Lordship Rt. Rev. John Baptist Kaggwa, the Bishop of Masaka. Rev. Fr. Thomas Njarackal, the Assistant Provincial Superior inaugurated the same.

11. Blessing of De Paul School Uvinza, Tanzania took place on March 7, 2009 by His Lordship Rt. Rev. Protase Rugambwa, the Bishop of Kigoma and the newly constructed School building was inaugurated by the Regional Commissioner of Kigoma Region.

12. Rwentunda Parish in Mbarara is officially handed over to the Vincentians on March 15, 2009.

13. The blessing of the Divine Mercy Church at Kabulassoke, Masaka is done by Rt. Rev. John Baptist Kaggwa, the Bishop of Masaka in the presence of Rev. Fr. James Kallumkal, the Provincial Superior.

14. The new dormitory for the retreatants in Kabulassoke, Masaka was blessed on October 15, 2010 by Rev. Fr. George Pottayil, the former Assistant Provincial Superior.

15. On January 16, 2011, Rectory at Kalimoni, Nairobi was blessed by His Eminence Cardinal John Njue, the Archbishop of Nairobi.

16. The blessing of De Paul Boy’s Home (DBH) was held on 14th January, 2012 by His Lordship Bishop John Baptist Kaggwa, the Bishop of Masaka, Uganda and was inaugurated by Rev. Fr. Paul Puthuva, the Provincial Superior of Marymatha Province. It is the first centre for boys who come from poor families in our Region.

17. On 19 March 2011, Very Rev. Fr. Varghese Parappuram, the Superior General of the Vincentian Congregation laid the foundation stone for the Retreat Centre in Thika. On November 4, 2011 His Excellency Bishop David Kamau blessed the Prayer Hall and Rev. Fr. Paul Puthuva officially inaugurated the Retreat Centre. On April 4, 2014 the President of Kenya, His Excellency Uhuru Kenyatta inaugurated the Second phase of our auditorium and it was officially blessed by Rev. Fr Varghese Parappuram, the Superior General of Vincentian Congregation.

18. On 9th June, 2013 His Eminence Polycarp Cardinal Pengo, officially blessed the Minor seminary. Seven candidates were admitted in the first batch among them 5 are from Kenya, and 2 are from Uganda.

19. A retreat centre in the city of Kampala, Uganda was opened on August 15, 2013 in the Archdiocese of Kampala. The new Vincentian Retreat Centre at Nsangi was officially inaugurated by the Provincial Superior Rev. Fr. Paul Puthuva on 24th of October, 2014.

20. His Grace Zacheus Okoth, the bishop of Kisumu, officially invited us to his Diocese during the Diaconate ordination of our Brothers at Vincentian Prayer House Nairobi.  Later, he showed a land and existing buildings to be handed over to Vincentians when we held retreat in his Cathedral at Kisumu and we started our ministries on May 28, 2015.

21. We took up the mission at Weruweru which is situated in the beautiful valleys of Mount Kilimanjaro and in Moshi Diocese. The mission was officially entrusted to the Vincentian Congregation on 30th May 2015 by Most Rev. Issac Amani the bishop of Moshi diocese in the presence of Very Rev. Fr. Paul Puthua, Provincial superior of Marymatha province.

There is a great demand for Vincentian ministries in Africa now. At present, the presence of Vincentians is only in three East African countries namely Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda and we need to spread the Word of God the rest of 51 African countries. We have been getting many invitations from different dioceses and various African Countries but due to lack of personnel we are unable to take up new mission centers.