Archdiocese Local Special Issue - Convocation

‘The time is now’

Franchiel Nyakatura is a teacher at Christ the King School and a parishioner at Our Lady & St. Rose Catholic Church, both in Kansas City, Kansas.

Franchiel Nyakatura

Age: 61

Parish: Our Lady & St. Rose, Kansas City, Kansas

Occupation: Teacher

What is in your toolkit? My toolkit includes a listening ear (for where people are in their personal development and what their needs and concerns are), a compassionate heart (to know that in our thinking and feelings we are not all at the same place at the same time, and that is OK) and a deep concern for all of God’s people.

What is your Catholic superpower? My openness and obedience to the Holy Spirit

Before the convocation

Franchiel Nyakatura became a member of her parish delegation when she was inspired to voice the desires of her heart — and the Holy Spirit made sure those words went to the right ears.

“I was hanging out with different members of the parish at different times, spouting off a desire [for us] to be more visible as a Catholic community,” said Nyakatura, “particularly in the northeast area where our parish is located.

“Several delegates remarked that I should be a part of the delegation. I didn’t know anything about it, but that’s how the Spirit works. As they began to tell me all about it, I knew that I wanted to join the team.”

This was yet another prompting from God to take a step.

“In Scripture, God says that he will give us the desires of our hearts,” she said. “I have to give God the credit for placing this desire in me to want to do more to share the good news of Christ’s love for all.

“When I was a 9-year-old girl, preparing for my first holy Communion, the nuns taught us the song ‘They’ll Know We Are Christians By Our Love.’ I tear up when I hear this song. The deep desire to love others has been with me for as long as I can remember.”

She’s ready to be an ambassador — and an “agent of change.”

“I’m a teacher by profession and a catechist as well,” she said. “Of course, I’ve been an agent of change! To that degree, I am comfortable with that [title], but this is different.

“The ‘enflaming’ Archbishop Naumann is speaking about begins inside myself before I can even reach my family, friends and community. It’s a challenge, but the time is now and I am ready!”

After the convocation

What was your most inspiring or impactful experience at the convocation?

When Father Brian Schieber played the clip from the movie “Blood Diamond,” it touched my heart; I could see clearly how our heavenly Father seeks to bring us out of the darkness in our lives. He reminds us of who we are and whose we are. He looks beyond our sins and pulls us into the light of his grace and mercy. I could see how God wants us to view each person [with whom] we come into contact . . . with that same compassion and unconditional love so that we, too, can bring our family, friends and neighbors out of the darkness of their lives.

About the author

Joe Bollig

Joe has been with The Leaven since 1993. He has a bachelor’s degree in communications and a master’s degree in journalism. Before entering print journalism he worked in commercial radio. He has worked for the St. Joseph (Mo.) News-Press and Sun Publications in Overland Park. During his journalistic career he has covered beats including police, fire, business, features, general assignment and religion. While at The Leaven he has been a writer, photographer and videographer. He has won or shared several Catholic Press Association awards, as well as Archbishop Edward T. O’Meara awards for mission coverage. He graduated with a certification in catechesis from a two-year distance learning program offered by the Maryvale Institute for Catechesis, Theology, Philosophy and Religious Education at Old Oscott, Great Barr, in Birmingham, England.

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