Nairobi: Society of African Missions celebrates 150th anniversary

 As the Society of African Missions, (SMA) marked its 150th anniversary on 8 December; Kenyan Catholics had every reason to celebrate. Ten of its 800 priests, currently working in 19 countries worldwide, are from Kenya. A colourful celebration Mass took place in Nairobi on Saturday, presided over by Bishops David Kamau, an Auxiliary Bishop for the metropolitan archdiocese of Nairobi and Ngong Diocese Bishop Cornelius Schilder. The congregation's regional superior for Kenya, Rev Fr Patrick Devine also took part. In his homily, Rev Fr Frank Wright, SMA called the Church in Africa to continue to fight vices such as corruption and bribery in the society. He regretted the "chaos" that has taken place in Liberia and Rwanda and said it was the duty of the Church to promote a just society and stand up for people's rights as well as working to work with the poor. The SMA was founded in Lyons, France in 1856 by Bishop Melchoir de Marion Bresillac on December 8 at the cathedral of Our Lady of Fourviere. The congregation opened its first community in Kenya in 1992, when the late Maurice Cardinal Otunga gave them Saint Joseph Catholic Parish in the Eastern side of the Kenyan capital, Nairobi. The SMA now works in the metropolitan archdiocese of Nairobi and the dioceses of Lodwar and Ngong. Rt Rev Patrick Harrington SMA, is Bishop of Lodwar.