CHRIST THE KING MONASTERY
Christ the King Monastery was founded in 1983, raised to the rank of a Simple Priory in 1993, and just recently, on 16 March 2020, the Monastery was elevated to a Conventual Priory. As a newly elevated Conventual Priory, the community has a challenge to continue the vision of the founder, and the expression of our monastic and missionary Charism.
We have a young and vibrant community of 39 monks, majority of whom are young men below the age of 35 years. With this, we can say the community has a lot of potential.
We run a number of projects which include; the farm, agro-forestry, the vocational training school, the eye hospital, the dispensary, the guesthouse and the social help program. All these projects reflect our Mission and Vision as a monastic Community.
Like any other institution, the community has a number of challenges and difficulties. Being a non-profit organization, the funding of projects has always been difficult because we rely on donations. Our situation has been made worse by the Corona Pandemic; Work in the monastery has practically come to a halt because of the lockdown. Over 120 of our employees are at home. All departments are operating either at a minimal level or closed. Basically our apostolate has been heavily affected and our income shuttered.
Despite of all this, we know we are in God’s hands and believe that God will get us through this period of the pandemic and restore our hope in life.
Hi, I’m Peter and I’m going to be your guide with this reflection. It is my pleasure to talk to you from our home in the Lake District. England’s green and pleasant land and we are not far away from many lovely walks and from one of our major highways.
At the beginning of Bible history, God instructs Abraham to leave his country and travel to a new place. Leave your land and go to the country which I will show you and I will bless you.
So begins the story of God. Leave what is secure and reach out to what is beyond.
Growing up in Bradford, England, my own journey of discovery took a dramatic turn when I was 17. I asked my parents whether I could volunteer as a teacher in Kenya before going to university. I wanted to work in a place which we couldn’t even find on the map – they said yes, go. Looking back, the unconditional encouragement of my parents enabled me, an only child, to leave the security of home. This was their greatest gift and, in the leaving, I discovered more than I ever imagined.
Living in Kenya many years ago, I began to find my vocation to teach and to be a priest. I learnt first-hand of the friendship and welcome which is so near the surface in Africa. I travelled then to Uganda, stopping on my bus journey at Tororo. I can remember the market square well and it is a privilege to be connected in prayer today with the monastery in Tororo. I feel in some strange way that I know you. Over five decades, I have experienced the richness of African friendship and generosity whether through promoting education in Sudan and South Sudan or through walking pole pole, slowly slowly to the summit of Mount Kilimanjaro. Amazingly in my life I have that done four times in the company of those people I love most. And each time, though the mountain seems to get a little steeper, the view from the peak seems different and my view on the world changes.
Back in England in the 1970ties, working as a young teacher, I discovered Santiago and the Camino. I like to think that those pilgrimages with groups of young people contributed to the formation of our Christian character. As we travelled, we were growing up and as we looked forward, we began to see new challenges which we could address through education, companionship and prayer.
As a Spanish poet Machado puts it, “Travellers, the path is your track and nothing more.” As I grew, I began to discover my Camino path unfolding as the gradual formation of me as a person loved by God whose love never fails, despite the uphill times and the times when I lost my way.
Richly blessed on my Camino, there are moments when I am truly thankful. Unexpectedly these often happen when my wife and I are serving as hospitlaeros in the Rabanal community of pilgrims, with monks as neighbours. Maybe there, day after day, God is actually asking us to leave the comfort of home and go and clean the dormitories and wash the feet of the pilgrims. There you will be blessed. It seems an unlikely reward, but we have been and still are. Through welcoming strangers, listening to stories and discovering the depths of Benedictine spirituality and hospitality, we have been changed. Our hearts have been enlarged. The little we give is so small in comparison to what we receive.
Through leaving, you will find, through giving, you will receive and this in my experience, is the message of the Camino of life.
And now there is a new road ahead into the future. The main highway near our house in the Lake District has been eerily quiet for 10 weeks. The sheep still graze peacefully but today the business traffic and the tourists are returning. Soon we will venture out into a new post Covid 19 world which is very different. This will be a new path for us, a new Camino. Maybe God is saying now, leave what you thought was secure and go, reshape the world in my image. Do that, respect the earth and love more and you will be richly blessed.
My prayer for all fellow travellers and especially for the monks in the communities in Tororo and Rabanal is that this inspirational, virtual Camino may give all of us courage, companionship and God’s blessing so we may change the world for good, one step at a time.
We will see you again next week
Almighty and merciful God, our refuge in every need and source of all that is good; we thank you for making us sharers in your mission. Even in the midst of this troubling time of the Pandemic, give us the strength to continue serving your people and that through the work we do, may they experience your love and look to the future with hope. Amen
P. Fidelis, osb
Thank you for joining us “in Camino,” for being a part of our humble project, for your prayers, for your assistance and for your company.
With your support you will contribute with food bags, sanitary material, water supply, cleaning kits…
See you next week!