In March 2011 the Vincentians started to build a residential retreat centre in Thika, an industrial town in Kenya with 200,000 inhabitants located 40 km NE of Nairobi. The retreat centre was inaugurated on October 9, 2011 when construction of a huge tent was completed. On June 7, 2013 the auxiliary bishop of Nairobi blessed a dormitory and residential retreats could be started. Nowadays 2 residential retreats per month are held and on Fridays about 2,000 people gather for prayer services, on the 1st Friday 5,000 people fast and pray here. Every second Thursday hundreds of people come for a night vigil. The centre is being further developed. Fr. George has served here since 2015.
This wonderful retreat centre has been further developed. The hall got walls and a pavement, a better sound system was installed, the adoration chapel was built where people can spend time with Jesus every day from morning till evening and other improvements are ongoing. People come in ever-increasing numbers, on average about 800 people for the residential retreats, 2,500 for Friday services and 5,000 people for first Friday services.
You can see the 2018 program of this centre here. The Vincentian priests are helped by a team of volunteers who manage the organizational matters and who take care of the participants in the programs (registration, accommodation, catering etc.).
Remarks from a European visitor: people are obedient and decent. Such a big crowd is difficult to manage, but these Kenyan people really cooperate. They keep silent, they pray, they are patient queuing for food, they obey the organizers, they make do with limited comfort during the residential retreats. And another thing - they have faith and they love Jesus. They trust in Him and thus He can do miracles for them. During the Eucharistic procession they put their cloth on the ground so that the priest carrying Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament can step on it and they have their cloth blessed and they can take it to people who cannot come to the Thika retreat centre.