The Catholic University of Eastern Africa CUEA has made it a priority to work on its image that is projected to the public to portray a true Catholic Institution. This is in terms of values, morals, behaviours and attitude of people associated with the institution.
To help achieve this, the university has strengthened the chaplaincy by establishing the University Pastoral Council. In addition, the chaplain Rev. Fr. Charles Kyalo introduced seven pastoral ministries whose objective to carter for the diverse needs of the CUEA family. These seven Pastoral Ministries include the worship and Liturgy Ministry, Spiritual Formation and Accompaniment Ministry, Spiritual Animation Ministry, Interfaith and Ecumenism Ministry, Mentorship Ministry, Communications Ministry and Social Concern Ministry.
According to the Vice Chancellor Prof. Justus Mbai it is of utmost importance that an institution, guided by the teachings of the Catholic Church lives to its expectation.
“The finance problem can be resolved; but if we lose the Catholic Identity of the institution, then we have truly lost it. It means that we are not different from any other public or private universities around.”
He explained that when a Catholic University makes a mistake and another University makes the same mistake, the interpretation is very different as the public tend to be very harsh in their judgements towards the mistakes of the Catholic university. He said that this is proper because a Catholic Institution must at all times be above other institutions where matters of values, morals and good behaviours are concerned.
Prof. Mbai explained that the membership of these Pastoral Ministries are drown from all sectors of the university including students, teaching as well as non-teaching staff. According to him, the Chaplain and his assistants can only handle a few cases at a time, while the ministry is able to spread and permeate every corner of the university including the hostels where students stay, in class rooms, in staff rooms and offices making the Chaplaincy services more effectively.
In addition, the university started the mentorship program and last year, 15 members of teaching staff were trained to take on the task. This year the training was expanded to incorporate 75 students who became peer counsellors.
“The peer counsellor idea is a very powerful one because it means that student do not have to wait or seek assistance from any adult to listen to their problems, they have their peers to reach out to them,” Prof Mbae explained.
The university has also established a think-tank team on values and Catholic identity. Members are drawn from every sector of the university, and their responsibility is to monitor behaviours, values and morals and pointer to the right direction.
“They have been given a lot of powers and everybody is under them including the Vice chancellor’s office. They are now studying and giving recommendations on what needs to be done,” Prof Mbae explained adding that the mission and vision of CUEA remains the same but the image projected to the public must truly define it as a Catholic institution.
By Pamela Adinda, AMECEA Online News