Archdiocesan Partnerships are long-term relationships
The Center for Mission has fostered global solidarity partnerships with communities in other countries in an effort to offer experiences of communion and cooperation. These relationships involve mutual visits and long-term sharing that enables the host and visiting communities to discover the deeper meaning of solidarity by sharing each others joys and struggles.
“Mutual partnership is a model of mission that recognizes that all baptized Catholics are called to participate in God’s mission of love, justice and reconciliation.” Mickey Friesen, Director, Center for Mission.
Such a relationship has been fostered with the Diocese of Kitui, Kenya and exists in the Diocese of Ciudad Guayana, Venezuela in a very different way. And a new relationship is developing with the Maronite Church in Damascus, Syria.
Archeparchy of Damascus, Syria and the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis
The Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis and the Maronite Archeparchy of Damascus, Syria, a Church very much in need, are in the process of developing a spiritual and material relationship appropriate for both dioceses. The Center for Mission Director, Mickey Friesen and Chorbishop Sharbel Maroun, in St. Paul, have connected with Archeparch Samir Nassar in Damascus, Syria. A steering committee has been formed and discussions are underway. As planned, the Archdiocese has forward a financial gift to Damascus from a portion of the Holy Land appeal on Good Friday. Updates will be provided. For more information, contact Mickey Friesen>>
The partnership with Venezuela is a more permanent one that involves priest assignments and material aid for the poor barrios of San Felix. In 1970, the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis began a mission in the Diocese of Ciudad Guayana, Venezuela. Our archdiocese has sent priests to help provide consistent spiritual support to the poor barrios of the diocese since. More >>
In 2004, the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis joined with the Diocese of Kitui, Kenya in a global solidarity partnership to share faith, culture and resources. This partnership was initiated as a result of the U.S. Bishop’s 2001 pastoral letter “A Call to Solidarity with Africa.” Catholic Relief Services, the U.S. bishops’ overseas relief and development agency, assisted with the effort.
The partnership is based on mutuality where visits are a time to exchange faith and our inner giftedness. We continue to deepen the relationships and discuss how we can be of mutual support to one another on our journey. Our partnership entails encounters through travel and programs to share our gifts with each other. It is based on a three-year cycle: one year a delegation from the Archdiocese of St Paul and Minneapolis visits Kitui, the second year a delegation from Kitui visits our Archdiocese and the third year both partners work on agreed upon programs. This cycle then repeats.
As an example, in 2005, 2008, 2011, 2014 and 2017 delegations from Minnesota visited Kitui. In September of 2006, 2009, 2012, 2015 and 2018 delegates from the Kitui Diocese were hosted by their friends in the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis. During the visit in 2005, as the Kenyans’ struggle for access to clean water became so evident, the partners decided that addressing the challenge of water would be their top resource sharing priority. From these discussions and many meetings the H2O and Harvest of Hope projects were born. In the past several years, an additional program was introduced, Living Water, teaching students about the dire water situation in Kitui, about the struggles and joys of the Akamba tribe who live in Kitui, and providing an opportunity to collect coins for the building of water dams in the driest areas and to install large water tanks that hold rain water.
Another element of our delegation travels focuses on experiencing education in Kitui schools at many levels. And in 2014, a very important symbolic exchange of chalices and calabashes took place between Archbishop Nienstedt and Bishop Muheria. This was celebrated during a special Mass honoring the 10th Anniversary of the partnership between our two diocese.
In September/October of 2015, a group of delegates from Kitui visited the archdiocese to experience our faith formation and education activities. Most importantly, we enjoyed our friendships that developed from solidarity between two cultures. A special Mass was held at Mary, Mother of the Church in Burnsville, MN honoring our 10th partnership anniversary here in Minnesota.
Watch an overview of the partnership between the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis and the Diocese of Kitui, Kenya Click Here>>
See the video of the 10th Anniversary celebrations Click Here>>
If you are interested in experiencing the partnership and encountering our friends in Kitui, find out about activities and trips by contacting Janine Ricker>>