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I leave the newsroom to pursue the Catholic priesthood



  VINCENT OPIYO

By VINCENT OPIYO
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"Life is a struggle and in this fight it does not matter how hard you hit or how well you fight.

What matters is how hard it is to get hit and go on fighting, "said St. Ignatius of Loyola, founder of the Society of Jesus, popularly known as the Jesuit, in one of his writings. With that in mind, I made one of the toughest decisions to keep going by giving up my virtuous job at the Nation Media Group (NMG) to persecute the priesthood by the Jesuits ̵

1; a Roman Catholic community of priests and brothers. "

I am a 29 year old Kenyan born and raised in Busia County. The last one was born – together with my twin sister – of nine years. My father, Patrick Masiga, is an Anglican, while my mother, Mary Achieng Mambo, was a staunch Catholic who contracted cancer in 1995 at the age of five. When I was six months old, she introduced me to Catholicism through infant baptism.

According to our culture, twins are not allowed to attend their mother's funeral, so we were hidden from home until after the funeral.

My classes began at the Sichekhe Elementary School from 1998 to 2005. At the age of 12, I became a ministrant in my home church, the Catholic Church in Nangina. This was one year after finishing my catechism lesson that led to the reception of my first Holy Communion.

At that time I began to dream, like my pastor, Father Maurice Langiri, to be a friend and a father figure.

At the time when I was the spiritual prefect of our Catholics sponsored St. Thomas Aquinas Elementary School, where he often came to mass.

After scoring 311 points in my Kenya Certificate of Primary Education Exams, I successfully passed an admission to St. Peters Minor Seminary in Kakamega County where I was admitted from January 2006 to 2009 and a B-Plain in Kenya Certificate of Secondary Education Exam (KCSE).

During my stay at Minor Seminary in Mukumu – famous It is well known that over the years I have produced many priests and bishops. I was drawn to the way of life of the Jesuits when I heard about them in the school library and then met one of them, Sylivanus Ambani, at school. Her unique responsibilities and her solid intellectual education attracted me.

I wrote to the Appointment Agent, P. Terry Charlton, SJ. (The abbreviation SJ – Society of Jesus – is added by well-known Jesuit members at the end of the name.) He replied within two weeks, and in that way my understanding of the Jesuits deepened.

<img alt = "Vincent Opiyo" src = "http://www.nation.co.ke/image/view/-/5121678/medRes/2348037/-/xg92d0/-/OPIYOPX.jpg [19659015<VincentOpiyo(right)duringPaterOscaratedSendesseMomanyiSJCouplePromoterfortheSocietyJesu(Jesuits)inEastAfricaPHOTO|WILLIAMOERI|NATIONMEDIAGROUP

After my KCSE I worked for six months in a cybercafe in Shinyalu while living with my older sister Beatrice.

In May 2010 I was under selected the few Jesuit aspirants to come to Nairobi for an apostolate to start the candidacy program.

During this time, from April 2010 to April 2011, I assisted in the Appeals Office of the Curia of the Society (official organ governing a particular church ) in Ngong Road, at Mother Teresa Charity in Lang & # 39; ata, and at Wanawake Kwa Wanawake charity in the area.

My work as freewi The mature teacher in the home, sheltering vulnerable children from Kibera, gave me life lessons that shaped my path: the kind of sufferings that the poor go through, how to counsel them and their families, and encourage them to work hard when they get a sponsorship.

I taught Chemistry, Kiswahili, and Biology while visiting their homes to identify their great needs.

At the same time I completed the candidacy program with the Jesuits. Unfortunately, in May 2011, I was not accepted to join the novitiate (the time I was a novice in a religious community). Instead, I was advised to continue to "differentiate".

I was frustrated because I felt my dream was broken, and my dad was so depressed by the news that for months he interrupted communication with me.

Alternatively, I joined a broadcast journalism course at the University of Nairobi in September 2011.

My hope for a charity grant collapsed, and I had to quit after not paying the Sh110,000 fees.

I applied for evening classes at Kenya Institute of Mass Communication (KIMC). The institute then housed two students per district. I started my evening classes in October 2011. The first year I sold Airtel cell phone SIM cards on the street to improve the little maintenance my dad gave me.

A SIM card was Sh50, my profit was Sh20 and my goal was to sell 10 leads a day to get Sh200. That helped pay my rent in a rundown building in the village of Kisii, a slum near South B.

During that time, I never stopped going to the Sunday Mass in the Queen of Peace in South B. I walked past the church to meditate and pray and asked God to guide me through the college course and to help me find a job afterwards so that I could lead a decent life.

This lasted until September 2012, when we were sent to the Kenya News Agency (KNA) for our first three-month internship.

I preferred to do my internship in the town of Kakamega, which is near my home. There I gained experience and met some lifelong friends who gave me good advice.

Francis Ontomwa, currently at the BBC advised me to contact Patrick Korir, then editor-in-chief of Futaa .com, an online local football website for mine Writing skills as a volunteer to further improve. I have done this for the whole year 2013.

From the small savings, I bought a Sony digital camera and set the sale of SIM cards to the photography.

One copy went to Sh30 with an extra Sh10 to print a photo. My goal was 10 photos per day to get Sh200 profit.

My passion for reporting on football meant that I sometimes skipped evening classes to watch games in City or at Nyayo Stadium.

After the game, I plunged into a nearby cybercafe to quickly file the story – partly to be online first, but also to pay no more than Sh10 for the time spent.

My efforts culminated in coverage of the Cecafa Senior Challenge Cup from November to December 2013 in Nairobi, Machakos and Mombasa for Futaa.com.

Fortunately, I was signed in January 2014 with Futaa.com Sh25,000. This enabled me to rent a staff quarter in Ayany, Nairobi, while keeping faith in attending Mass in the parish of Our Lady of Lourdes, Olympia and Our Lady of Guadalupe, Adams Arcade.

In June 2015, I was recruited from the local football website soka.co.ke and also started the Mwanaspoti Tanzanian-based Kiswahili sports newspaper, freelance to work. The newspaper also has a Kenyan version. In January 2017, I officially joined NMG as a correspondent.

A Wish That Will not Stop

Only a year and a half ago, the desire for the priesthood began to burn in me. I enjoy working in a busy newsroom, but I felt that I would serve humanity better as a priest.

At that moment, I turned to Father Terry Charlton, SJ, who acted as my sponsor during my first unsuccessful attempt at Jesuit vocation to ask if I could get a second chance to reach out to the church.

To dispel my fears and doubts, I planned weekly meetings with the chaplain P. Conor Donnelly at Strathmore University for spiritual direction.

Throughout the year, Father Conor played an important role in my prayer life, to the point where I believed that God had called me to serve as a priest.

My wish to be received by the Jesuits was fulfilled when I received my letter of approval for the novitiate in Arusha on March 30, after undergoing a strict candidacy program for one year.

I read a lot of Jesuit materials and each one inspired me. I get inspired by St. Alberto Hurtado, SJ. He was a Jesuit priest from Chile who, at the age of fifteen, was rejected at the first attempt to join the congregation and urged him to study at the University of Jura.

Freed from academic pressure with the possibilities of a busy, fruitful career. The young lawyer, of course, turned to the fulfillment of the dream that was central to his life – joining the Society of Jesus.

Despite the discouragement of his colleagues, who had prospects of a lucrative legal career, he was admitted and priest.

In 1944, he opened a home for the poor "Hogar de Cristo" (homeland of Christ), which today serves thousands of people in extreme poverty in the South American nation.

After about nine years, six of them I was a sports journalist, the wish has not vanished.

I was encouraged by many Jesuits who became priests after a career.

I was equally discouraged by colleagues and friends alike. For me, however, my deepest desire is to serve God as a religious priest.

Whenever I attend Mass in the Basilica of the Holy Family of Nairobi every day, grace and desire become stronger.

It is immaculate to attend a church event, especially ordinations where I am inspired by the candidates – from the procession to the handover to the altar by their parents. I always imagine that they are in their shoes when they are in their free time.

Since March of last year I have visited eight ordinations. I was impressed to see two of my classmates being ordained priests at our alma mater, St. Peter's Seminary in Mukumu, on May 11 this year.

Two of my parish peers, who we were together as ministrants, are now deacons. I long to join them someday.

When I shared my wish with my father, he was initially against trying to quit my job, but in time he said yes.

I could understand his reaction as I have made a successful career with the largest media organization in the region and financially supported my family.

I treated local football in the region, gaining valuable experience and building a broad network of contacts.

I have the East African School Games in Rwanda in 2015, Cecafa Kagame Cup in Tanzania last year, Senior Challenge Cup in 2013 and 2017 as well as the Ugandan League. I've written for virtually all NMG platforms – Daily Nation, Taifa Leo, Mwanaspoti, Nairobi News and Tanzanian Newspapers, The Citizen and Mwananchi, except as an NTV analyst.

Before joining Nation, I worked for Milele FM for a year, completing internships at Radio Maisha and Pamoja FM. I analyzed local football on Radio Citizen, Radio Jambo and KTN News.

Journalism was part of me and I loved the job despite its challenges.

During my time at Futaa.com AFC Leopards threatened me with legal action because I had allegedly written malicious information about the club in October 2014.

In August 2016, I was confronted with five men in Eldoret for exposing age fraud during school games in East Africa, and after exposing the plight of former Harambee Stars coach Paul Put in the Sunday Nation in March last year, some people were not happy.

The worst was in February after former star-defender George Owino uncovered the match fixing scandal that led to FIFA's 10-year ban on all footballing My ATM cards while I attended the 2015 national secondary school games at Machakos Boys reported a few days before I boarded my first flight to Rwanda at the school games in Brookside East Africa in the Butare district.

I'm proud that I can multitask: Safe Writing in English and Swahili, in addition to Photography and Broadcasting and Television. My best experience was in June 2017, when I was assigned by the Daily Nation Sports Department to report on the first SportPesa Cup in Dar es Salaam, where I supplied articles, photos and videos for NTV to all the NMG platforms in the region.

Apart from that, I have also been guiding young players in their football career. I visit their families and occasionally advise them to be disciplined and hard working. The conversation with her parents opened my eyes. I have also associated the more talented with European football agents. This has caused some people to falsely refer to me as an agent disguised as an agent.

I have seen the careers of many young players shattered by selfish club officials, coaches and brokers.

It was gratifying to support these players and highlight their plight.

When I retired from the media industry, I thank everyone who has traveled with me over the past six and a half years.

My colleagues at Nation sports department led by Elias Makori have allowed me to gain an indelible experience.

I found friends and maybe enemies, but everyone was part of my journey. To my pastor in Nangina, Father Fred Ojilong, Pastor Francis Papai, Pastor Don Bosco Upper Hill, Father Abel Njeru, SDB, my appointment officer, Father Oscar Momanyi, SJ, and all the Jesuits who recommended me for this course may God bless you abundantly.


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