This year 2016, the Mill Hill Missionaries (MHM) are celebrating 150 year jubilee. As the MHM make 150 year jubilee celebration there is a lot to look back at in history and there is plenty to look for in the future.
Mill Hill Missionaries was began in 1866 by the late cardinal Herbert Vaughan with the purpose of spreading the good news of our Lord Jesus Christ to foreign lands.The earliest and the first bunch of MHM were sent to the East Coast of America, arrived in Baltimore in 1871 and worked among the African Americans who had just been free from slavery. In a letter to the American church by Cardinal Vaughan in the late 19 century, he encouraged the American church to have a missionary enterprise. He said, “no matter how slender were the resources of the Catholic Church in England, nor how overwhelming the demands upon its clergy, the church could never hope to fulfil its end if it did not generously contribute to the expansion of missionary labors in pagan countries”. Further Vaughan encouraged the American church to become heirs to the great missionary spirit of St.Patrick. The MHM group that went to America later formed another society called the Josephite.
After America Vaughan turned his attention to Africa and this happened after the 1888 scramble for Africa had taken place and after Rome had divide the area around Lake Victoria into four vicariates. The far North West was given to Verona father (Comboni fathers): this territory was cut off from Victoria Nyanza and added to the vicariate of Central Africa at Khartoum. The North Eastern half of Uganda and the Western half of Kenya- which was then also reckoned to be part of the Uganda Protectorate) were made into the vicariate Apostolic of the Upper Nile and was entrusted to English speaking Mill Hill Missionaries. The South in Tanzania was called “the Vicariate Apostolic of South Nyanza” and given to the white fathers (Missionaries of Africa) under bishop Hirth. The North West (the Western Half of Uganda) was called the “the Vicariate Apostolic of North Nyanza” and given to the whit fathers under bishop Streicher. As far as the Catholic authorities in Rome were concerned the stage was set, and the campaigns could begin in earnest.
The MHM arrived in Uganda in 1895 having crossed by caravan through Kenya from Mombasa. It was from Kampala the MHM moved east to cover areas till West of Nairobi. After arriving the MHM established mission station such as Nsamya, Nyenga, Naggalama, Nkokonjeru, Ngora, Kamuli, Iganga, Madera, Budaka in Uganda and Mumias, Mukumu, Ojolla, Kisumu, Nyabururu, Asumbi, Aluor, Eregi, Rangala and people who played major roles were: Bishops Hanlon, Brandsma and Stam among many others. The schools and hospitals then followed. Some of the hospitals established are like Nyenga leprosy Centre, Mukumu Mission hospital and others that came later.Some of the schools MHM started are Namilyango College started in 1902 in the outskirts of Kampala and it is now one hundred and fourteen years, St. Peter’s College Tororo Eastern Uganda, Nyondo TTC Eastern Uganda near to Mbale, Eregi TTC, and St Mary’s College Yala in Nyanza.
St Mary’s is a brain child of Mgr. Brandsma who worked tirelessly to see it established in 1929. No wonder his remains rests at Yala college grounds. We shouldn’t forget other MHM priest who made great contribution to St. Mary’s Yala. I hope the late Fr. B. Coleman has not faded from your minds and Fr. Owen Grant who sends all the old boys of Yala greetings from his retirement in Liverpool in the UK. There is no doubt that St. Mary’s College Yala started by MHM has transformed education in Nyaza and Kenya by training various professionals. Yala has not only trained professionals, but also missionaries. At the moment we have Fr. Hilary Michael Awiti who is a Mill Hill Missionaries and working in Pakistan from 2010.
A part from American and African regions, MHM are also working in New Zealand among the Maoris where they arrived in 1886. The MHM learnt the local language, set up parishes, industrial school for boys at Takapuna. Meanwhile, in 1887 MHM arrived in the Khashimir area which was called Prefecture of Apostolic of Kashimir and Kafirstan and had been curved from the diocese of Lahore. The four stations assigned to MHM to be basis of chaplaincy work were Peshawar, Rawalpindi, Nowshera and Murree. Apart from offering chaplaincy to the British army, MHM also offered education at St.Thomas College, Murree. All in all MHM work in Brazil, USA, India, Pakistan, Malaysia, Philippines, Britain, Holland, Austria, Ireland, Italy, New Zealand, Australia, Kenya, Uganda, Cameroon, South Sudan, South Africa and the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).
As we look into the future, there are changes taking place. When the missionaries came in the nineteenth century all of them were from the global North and over the 150 years of service, the trend is changing fast with few vocations joining missionary training in Europe and America; meanwhile more and more missionaries are coming from the global South Africa and Asia. There are now missionaries from Kenya working in South Africa, Cameroon, Pakistan, Malaysia and Uganda. Other MHM missionaries from Cameroon, India, Philippines, Uganda and Democratic Republic of Congo are also working in Kenya.
In this Jubilee year as friends of MHM, we ask all of you to pray for all the Mill Hill Missionaries who are working in difficult and challenging places. There are some of our Kenyan missionaries working security challenging Pakistan and remote areas of Karamoja Uganda. There is a continuous effort to recruit more people to become Friends Mill Hill Missionaries (FOMHM). The FOHM have a magazine that is published four times a year and you are invited to contribute articles. The FOMHM can support MHM with prayers, they can themselves also be part of evangelization effort of the church, they can support African MHM through social and moral support and they can also support MHM in cash or kind to further extend the evangelisation services around the globe. To this end we ask the Alumni of our institutions like St. Mary’s Yala to get in touch and support us in whatever way they can. If you wish to support the work of Mill Hill Missionaries and the jubilee year celebrations, please use account details below:
Mill Hill Missionaries, Prime Bank, Hurlingam Branch Nairobi A/c no. 3000072392.
Thanks in Advance.
Fr. Michael Ochwo (MHM),
Mill Hill Missionaries,
P.O.Box 2011 Code 40100,
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