Glenmary Home Missioners are a unique Catholic missionary organization. Its missioners work exclusively in the United States. That’s what is meant by “home missions.” For the time being, however, Father Kenn Wandera is an exception.
Father Kenn flew to his native Kenya in June to celebrate Masses of Thanksgiving following his March 2021 ordination. He planned a short visit with plans to immediately begin his ministry in the U.S. home missions. Because of COVID-19, the U.S. embassy in Nairobi suspended routine visa services and Father Kenn was told no appointments are available until June 2022. For now, he cannot leave Kenya.
In the meantime Father Kenn is serving at Our Lady of Guadalupe, a parish in Nairobi founded by the Guadalupe Missionaries from Mexico. Living there he is able to practice his Spanish, which will help him minister to Hispanic communities when he returns to the U.S. He is also actively involved in serving the people of Kibera, a large nearby slum with extreme poverty, doing home visits and bringing food to the hungry.
“I hope that my little time here of ‘home mission’ will be a true gift to me and those I meet,” he said. “The world is God’s mission, and in God’s humor and mystery, he sends us to interesting paths to encounter him always in a new way. I hope that I will be back soon, for I was ordained for Glenmary.”