The contribution of small Christian communities to the growth of the church in Kiijuraneema Parish Fort-Portal Diocese Authors: Ndyakiraho, Deus
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This research was carried out to investigate the contribution of SCCs to the growth of the church: to know what they have done, make evaluation of the spiritual contribution and how the administration has been helped, and generally the wellbeing of the faithful in the parish, so that they may reach maturity of faith and are able to evangelize themselves locally are able to understand their faith, defend it and extend it to others. Most importantly to find out why some SCCs are not doing well as others in order to bring about development in all the parts of the parish, suggest ways of improving the standards of the church at the local level-outstations. Because the faithful will have understood their obligation as a people of God the body of Christ and can bring this understanding to others. Maturity of faith is very important. Once Christians have matured in the faith there will be: self evangelization from the grass root, the faith can be defended. People’s prayer life was unquestionable and without any follow up, each person, family were only to meet at the church on Sunday thereafter, the next activity would be individual conviction and decision, (during the week there would be time to visit the witch doctors, traditionalists, visiting false prophets from where came enmity among the people since the self-styled prophets held that some members were sending evil spirits to their neighbors, hence source of conflict. The researcher found out that because of the above there has been reduction in the number of attendance at Sunday mass and services, domestic violence, poor neighborliness, hence under development of the members and consequently the church remains undeveloped. The researcher found out that SCCs meeting replaced gathering around drinking/distilling places since they take place in the very time that would have been wasted. With this change or transformation this very time is now used for prayer, sharing the word of God and discussing constructive ideas about the development and wellbeing of every family. In the course of study of the above topic, the researcher used data gathering methods like questionnaire, interview, observation, personal participation and experience. He attended to 48 respondents and informants out of the population of 4602 people of Ndaiga sub parish. These were chosen basing on the fact that they were able to give information that would give a clear picture of the working of SCCs in the whole parish and on grounds that they were competent enough and able to represent the whole population. The selection was based on: sexes, status, occupation and age. People were examined to find out whether SCCs have contributed to the growth of the church in the whole parish in the well being of the faithful as individuals and as a family and eventually as a whole body of Christ. The contribution was extended to the following aspects: spiritual, social, economic, material, political and psychological and the whole set up of an individual, to find out how the church administration was helped by SCCs in the management of its affairs. All the above were found partly positive but not a hundred percent. The researcher found that in SCCs there is striving for being a Christian at home in family, in a gathering and at school for those studying or teaching. Among other things they do: They visit the sick, burry the dead in solidarity and prayer, help in the fields, work with the youth visiting schools, the elderly and the handicapped. The activities are done with love, joy and in good faith as instructed by the animators. They also encourage the reading of the word God and sharing it. Members make fun that bring them joy and laughter, this is an integral part of the spirituality of small Christian communities .what is basically striking is the simplicity of the members to share about their life genuinely. It was found out that many Christians are not living according to the faith they profess hence the practice of syncretism. The researcher therefore recommended that there should be close monitoring of SCCs meetings, financing of the animators by the SCCs themselves, frequent visits of the parish priest and the council of the laity, new forms of evangelization should be invented, refresher courses be regular for the animators. Conclusively, it was found out that there is no doubt that SCCs have made a remarkably positive change in the lives of Christians of Kiijuraneema parish. The following elements indicate clearly that: the faith has now been rooted in the lives of the people so that they are now capable of witnessing to their creator and recognize their own concrete existence as dependent o1n God. They are capable of sharing the word of life, willingly and voluntarily attend the meetings, make resolutions to raise their standards of living and of their neighbors especially the needy. Home-to-home visitations are carried out, people pray the rosary together in their homes, and sacraments are received regularly. Catechesis of both the young and old is now done at SCC level, some thing that was unheard of before the introduction of SCCs in their present form. Through SCCs, Catholics have come into contact with other faiths and some have eventually converted to Catholicism.
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