Nothing stirred in the compound of the Second Cycle Formation Centre of the Mill Hill Missionaries in Nairobi when we arrived. The rector, Fr Damien Fuh mhm, explained that the students were spending the day in recollection led by an Indian religious sister. He had invited Cyprian Taah mhm and myself to join the formation community for the opening Mass of the second semester late in the afternoon of Sunday 6th January, the Feast of Epiphany.
All 32 theology students had returned from their Christmas break the previous day and no doubt welcomed this quietly prayerful introductory day after sometimes long and tiresome journeys. The full programme of lectures of the second semester at Tangaza University College was scheduled to start the next day.
The Eucharist for the Feast of Epiphany in the tastefully decorated chapel was both reflective and joyful. I was delighted to join in the rich selection of hymns that were sung with gusto in a bewildering variety of languages – an apt reflection of the international composition of the student body with fledgling theologians hailing from India, Malaysia, Philippines, Cameroon, Congo, Kenya and Uganda.
The festive meal and joyously noisy social that followed provided an opportunity for all to reconnect and exchange experiences of the past several weeks. Judging by the energy exhibited on the dance floor this second semester would not be a lackluster affair.
When I waved them all off the next morning as they boarded the bus that would take them to Tangaza University College for their first day of lectures I knew that the second semester had got off to a flying start at St Joseph’s Formation House, Nairobi.
Fons Eppink mhm