News

ARCHDIOCESAN FAMILY DAY 2020: CELEBRATING DIFFERENTLY

The celebration of the archdiocesan family day will be held on Saturday at the Holy Family Basilica. This great pastoral event in the archdiocesan calendar will be on 15th August, the solemnity of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary. Despite the Corona Pandemic, the great fete will still be held, albeit, without the usual throngs of christians as well as the decor, pomp and color that always come to live during similar past events, because the archdiocese plans to comply fully with the government’s health regulations due to COVID 19.

This annual celebration, which is in its 11th year, having started way back in 2010, will be attended by a congregation of 100 participants, inclusive of the clergy. The organising team, led by the Procurator, Fr. Simon Ng’ang’a, and the Pastoral Coordinator, Fr. Wallace Ng’ang’a, has identified the participants. All the 14 deaneries will be represented by their Deans and a section of the Deanery Pastoral Council executives. Others will be representatives of the various solidarity groups in the archdiocese level, archdiocesan finance council members, as well some members of the secretariet. This stands in total contrast to the over 20,000 congragation from all the 114 parishes, and the over 200 priests, both diocesan and missionary, who attended the 2019 Family Day on 10th August at St. Mary’s Msongari, the exquisite venue that has hosted all the previous Family days.

Noting that this celebrations are coming when christians and the whole population are grappling with the challenging times in almost every sector due to the pandemic, the day will be dedicated to pray so that all may keep faith despite all the challenges. It will also be used to pray for the victims of the pandemic as well as those on the front line, and for all humnaity since all are affected.

As usual, in preparation to this great event, the archdiocesan Liturgical team, led by Fr. Bernard Kabiu prepared a Novena, which all the Christians in the archdiocese have been praying since Thursday, 6th August. The pastoral letter by the ordinary, His Eminence John Cardinal Njue, on this occasion was relased mid-July.

The Holy oils (Oil of the sick, Catechumenate and Chrism), will be blessed during that Mass. The Holy Thursday Chrism Mass in which the oils are blessed, was not held since by that time, the church had been closed at the onset of the COVID19.

This will be indeed a unique Archdiocesan Family Day celebration.

(Cover photo Family Day 2018, Album Family Day 2019)






St. John M. Vianney, the Cur of Ars, Patron of Parish Priests

“If we really understood the priest on earth, we would die: not of fear, but of love.” St John Vianney’s whole life could be summed up in this saying attributed to him.

Known as the “Curé d’Ars,” Jean-Baptiste-Marie Vianney was born on 8 May 1786 in France in the town of Dardilly, near Lyons. His devout Catholic parents were farmers, and from an early age, John worked in the fields. Without formal education, as a young man he was functionally illiterate; but thanks to his mother’s teaching, Vianney was able to memorise and understand numerous prayers, and live a devout religious life.

“I would win many souls for God”

At that time in France, the winds of Revolution were blowing. Young John made his Confession at home, rather than in a church, to a “non-juring” priest – that is, a priest who had not sworn loyalty to the revolutionary government. The same priest gave him his First Communion in a barn, during an “underground” Mass. At the age of 17, John Vianney felt the call to the priesthood. “If I am to be a priest,” he said, “I will win many souls for God.” But the path to ordination was not an
easy one, due to the corrupted morals of the day. It was only thanks to some wise priests – including Father Balley, the parish priest of d’Écully, that he finally received Holy Orders on 13 February 1815, at the age of 29.

Long hours in the confessional

Three years later, in 1818, Father John Vianney was sent to the town of Ars, which, with just 230 residents, was little more than a small French village. Here the young priest dedicated all his efforts to the spiritual care of the faithful. He visited the poorest families, restored the village church, organized patronal feast days. He also founded La Providence, a home for girls.
But it was for his dedication to the Sacrament of Confession that the Curé of Ars is best known. He was always available to hear Confessions and offer forgiveness, spending up to sixteen hours a day in the confessional. Crowds of penitents travelled from every part of France to make their Confession to the holy priest. In time, Ars became known as “the great hospital of souls.” St John Vianney himself would keep vigils and fast to assist the expiation of the sins of the faithful. “I’ll tell you my recipe,” he told one of his confreres. “I give sinners a small penance, and the rest I do in their place.”

Patron of parish priests

Having given his whole life for God and his parishioners, John Vianney died on 4 August 1859. He was 73 years old. His relics can be found in Ars, in the sanctuary dedicated to him, which is visited by some 450,000 pilgrims every year. He was beatified by Pope St Pius X in 1905, and canonized twenty years later by Pope Pius XI. In 1929, the same Pope proclaimed him the “heavenly patron of all parish priests throughout the world.” During the centenary of his death in 1959, Pope St John XXIII dedicated an encyclical to St John Vianney, pointing him out as exemplary model for priests. Fifty years later, Pope Benedict XVI inaugurated a “Year of Priests” on the 150th anniversary of his
birthday into heaven, in order “to deepen the commitment of all priests to interior renewal for the sake of a stronger and more incisive witness to the Gospel in today’s world.”

 

(Source: Vatican News)

CELEBRATING PRIESTLY SILVER JUBILEE: MORE ZEALOUS, MORE JOYFUL

The record-breaking priests’ group in being ordained together in the highest numbers celebrated its silver jubilee yesterday. The twelve priests were ordained by the Servant of God, Maurice Michael Cardinal Otunga in the Holy Family Basilica.

The jubilarians’ celebrated a Holy Mass at Queen of Apostles Parish Ruaraka, where they thanked God for having called them, and guided them all along on their calling. The walked erect to the altar in solemn procession, exhibiting zeal and joy in marking this milestone in their lives. One of them, Fr. Wilfred Mwaura, was the main celebrant in the Mass which was attended by only a few other colleagues, several nuns and a few lay due to the COVID-19 social gathering restrictions.

Ten of the priests in this group work in the Archdiocese while the other two work outside the country.

The ordination of these priests brought the number of the ordained priests in the archdiocese by 22nd July,1995 to 100. The current number of diocesan priests stands at 232

The jubilates who are working in the archdiocese work in the following parishes:

Fr. Peter Kimani- Prisons Chaplaincy

Fr. Jude Waweru- Queen of Apostles Parish

Fr. Wilfred Mwaura- Kariobangi South Parish

Fr. Stephen Mwaura- Waithaka Parish

Fr. John Muhindi- Kianguno Parish

Fr. Emmanuel Ngugi- Karuri Parish

Fr. John Njenga- Ituuru Parish

Fr. Paul Kanyi- Zimmerman Parish

Fr. Anselm Kamuyu- St. Patrick’s Thika

Fr. Lawrence Kamere- Kambaa Parish

It was indeed a solemn, remarkable, unique and splendid anniversary celebration!

 

CHARITY BEGINS AT HOME

Christians of St Joseph Kerwa parish on 17th May 2020 distributed food donations to over 60 families adversely affected by the measures put in place to curb the spread of Covid-19. The donations were distributed in Kari, Kanyanjara, Nduma Kiroe, Lower parts of Rironi towards kerwa, Ikaithano and Thamanda villages.

In this difficult period of Covid 19 pandemic, many families are going without food due to loss of their earnings. As various organizations respond to calls to offer relief to the affected, St. Joseph Kerwa Parish Christians have pulled up donations both food stuff and cash to help the needy in the parish and in the neighborhood.

Led by the Parish Priest, Fr Martin CMF, Assistant Priest, Fr Binay CMF and few Parish leaders with the help of YCA they went round the Parish to distribute flour, rice, beans, cooking oil, soap and cash that had been received from Christians.

Fr. Martin thanked all Christians who contributed towards this noble cause. He also urged all parishioners to continue contributing to the account as the exercise will still continue until things are better.

May God protect us all.

Kerwa Parish communication office

Church supports elderly affected by COVID-19 pandemic

As the Church in Kenya continues to give hope to the neediest affected by COVID-19 pandemic across the country, the Kenya Conference of Catholic Bishops (KCCB) – Catholic Justice and Peace Commission (CJPC) on 2nd May 2020 donated foodstuff to Kariobangi Cheshire Home for the elderly.

Kariobangi Cheshire Home, (Nyumba ya Wazee), is a residence for about 40 elderly men and women. It also has a daycare program for more than 300 aged people from the neighboring slums, eighty among them are lepers from Tanzania.

Receiving donation of maize and wheat flour, rice, beans, green grams, cooking oil, milk, detergents, diapers and masks handed over by the Archdiocese of Nairobi Caritas and CJPC representatives, Cheshire Home Administrator Rev. Sister Lydia D’sa, a Franciscan Missionary Sisters for Africa appreciated the generosity extended to them through the CAFOD funding.

Sister D’sa said COVID-19 pandemic has posed challenges to the home as some well-wishers and Small Christian communities that used to bring food stuff and spend time with the aged are no longer able to do that. Neither can the elderly on daycare program eat together with residents.

“Now they cannot come here. So they come to the gate, they stop there, wash their hands and we give them provisions from the gate. But you can see the difference in them in this month. There are four who are desperately sick and living alone. We decided to give them hot meal and medical care then we give them some food to carry home,” she said

Sister said the donation came in handy as they emptied their stores on 1st, May 2020 adding that any gift given to the home goes to the day care program.

She said the elderly at the home are well catered for, though affected by the government’s restrictions and guidelines that cannot allow them to mingle freely.

“The problem is that they are a little bored as they cannot go to church nor receive visitors,” she said adding that the home is no longer able to take the mentally handicapped to clinics since they are closed.

 

By Rose Achiego, Nairobi,

Church donates food to needy households in Kibera Slums

By Rose Achiego, Nairobi, Saturday, 25th, April 2020
 
The Kenya Conference of Catholic Bishops (KCCB) – Catholic Justice and Peace Commission (CJPC) in collaboration with the Archdiocese of Nairobi Caritas and CJPC Office on 25th, April 2020 donated food items, detergents and face masks to the less fortunate at St Michael Otiende Parish.

Items consisting of eight kilograms of maize flour, six kilograms of wheat flour, two kilograms of sugar, two kilograms of green grams, three liters of cooking oil, two bars of soap for handwashing, 250 milliliters of sanitizer and face mask were given as a package in a basket of hope to each identified needy family from Kibera Slums.

Speaking while issuing the donation to some of the beneficiaries, the CJPC National Executive Secretary Beatrice Odera said the beneficiaries identified by CJPC Nairobi office, are those who mostly frequent the Church for assistance and are no longer able to get the same support since the government issued orders to close places of worship and other social gatherings in an effort to combat the spread of Coronavirus.

Odera thanked CAFOD, a United Kingdome based Organization through her office in Kenya led by Country Representative Catherin Ogola for putting a smile on the faces of the poor especially during this difficult moment when the world is battling a global pandemic.

She encouraged the beneficiaries to follow the guidelines put in place by the government so as to avoid contracting or spreading the COVID -19.

The instructions include regular handwashing with soap and water, hand sanitization, wearing masks in public places, keeping social distance by avoiding crowded places, and keeping 1.5 meters apart in addition to obeying curfew hours of dusk to dawn.

Meanwhile, Deputy Director of Caritas Nairobi Rev. Sister Modesther Karuri expressed gratitude to CJPC with funding from Catholic Agency for Overseas Development (CAFOD) for bringing hope to the needy who have always depended on the Church for support.

“In response to COVID -19 pandemic, the Archdiocese has come up with baskets of hope initiative where we are appealing to Christians and well-wishers and partners to heed to our call to support the neediest families in various parishes of the Archdiocese,” Karuri said.

The Archdiocese of Nairobi selected 75 families from three Parishes, being: St. Michael Otiende in Langata, Our Lady of Guadalupe in Adams and Christ the Kinga in Kibera to receive support for the next three months.

Those who received the help thanked the church for catering to their needs at a time when they were at the brink of losing hope. Some said they were attending to the sick adding that the assistance has come in handy.

Bidding farewell to Fr. Francis Kariuki Mugwanjira

Like the simple life he led during his 45 years in church ministry, Rev. Fr. Francis Kariuki Mugwanjira who died on 7th April 2020, was given a quiet send-off at the St. Austin’s Parish in Nairobi on Tuesday 14th April 2020.

The Mass led by His Eminence John Cardinal Njue was attended by only 50 people who were widely spaced in the pews observing the social distancing directive issued by the government in the fight against the spread of coronavirus. He was later interred at the clergy cemetery.

Profile of the late Rev. Fr. Francis Kariuki Mugwanjira

The late Fr. Francis Kariuki – fondly known as Mugwanjira by his brother priests- was born on the 31st December 1945 at Njabini, Kinangop, to Mzee John Mugwanjira and Mama Maria Njeri. His siblings are: Philomena Wanjiru, Teresia Gathoni, Martha Wambui, Veronica Kiringa and Daniel Mwangi.

After completion of his primary school education Rev. Fr. Francis Kariuki entered Form 1 at Mother of Apostles Seminary Eldoret in 1964 to begin training for the priesthood. Among the seminarians he found there was Peter Kairo, now retired archbishop, who has remained a long life friend.

He undertook his Philosophy studies at St. Thomas Aquinas Seminary Nairobi from 1968 to 69 and proceeded to pursue his Theology in the same institution. He completed the required seminary curriculum in 1973.

Rev. Fr. Francis Kariuki was ordained priest by H. E. Maurice Cardinal Otunga in a joyful ceremony in his home parish Kagwe in 1974. It was one of the largest congregations of Christian faithful and people of good will gathered to witness and celebrate the ordination of a Catholic priest in the Archdiocese of Nairobi.

Fr Kariuki has served the people of God with joyful dedication in various parishes including Gatundu, Githunguri both at the Parish and as Chaplain of St Joseph’s High School, St. Paul’s Chapel University of Nairobi, Umoja, Buru Buru Phase 3, St. Michael Otiende, St. Clare Kasarani and Gathanga.

Fr. Kariuki had a peaceful retirement at the Clergy Home of the Archdiocese of Nairobi Ruaraka, even as he faced illness with courage.

 

Rest in Peace Archbishop Emeritus R. S. Ndingi Mwana a’Nzeki

Archbishop Emeritus R. S. Ndingi Mwana a’ Nzeki who died on 31st March 2020, was laid to rest on Tuesday 7th April at the Holy Family Basilica in a Requiem Mass that was led by His Eminence John Cardinal Njue and scores of bishops.

The prelate was buried in a crypt in the basement of the Basilica.

The requiem Mass was attended by bishops, few priests, a government delegation and a small representation of family members: this was a selected number as attendance was limited due to the Covid-19 pandemic and intercounty restrictions placed by the government in an effort to combat the spread of Corona virus.

Major Tv stations broadcasted live the funeral proceedings where millions watched.  

Profile of the late Archbishop Ndingi

Emeritus Archbishop Raphael Ndingi Mwana ‘a Nzeki was born in Myanyani village, Mwala location, Machakos County on 25th December 1931. He was the last born of Maria Muthoki and Joseph Nzeki Ngila. He was brother to Paul Muli, Veronica Kavenge, Ann Muluu and Teresia Katunge.

He was ordained as priest at Kabaa parish on the solemnity of Mary the Mother of God, on 1st January 1961 by Archbishop J J McCarthy CSSp. He was the first Kamba to be ordained as a Roman Catholic priest.

Soon after his ordination he was posted to Our Lady of the Visitation Makadara which at one time had a formidable combination of diverse characters including Msgr. John Njenga, Fr. Hilary Kailu, Fr. Joseph Kamanu. Fr. Nicodemus Kirima, Fr Isidore Onyango, Fr. Gabriel Kimotho, Fr. George Muhoho and Fr. George Gathongo.

Bishop Ndingi served as the bishop of Machakos from 1969-1971, Nakuru 1971-1996, Coadjutor Archbishop of Nairobi 1996-1997 and later the Archbishop of Nairobi from 1997 up until his retirement in 2007 at the clergy home, Ruaraka. Bishop Ndingi shall forever be remembered for his selfless service.

Pope Francis appoints Very Rev. Fr. Joseph Mwongela as Bishop of Kitui

The Holy Father Pope Francis has appointed Very Rev. Fr. Joseph Mwongela as the Fourth Bishop of the Catholic Diocese of Kitui.

The news of the appointment of Bishop-Elect Joseph Mwongela was officially made public in Rome on Tuesday 17th, March 2020 at Noon, Rome Time (2.00 p.m. Kenyan Time). The letter of his appointment was sent to the Kenya Conference of Catholic Bishops (KCCB) by the Apostolic Nuncio to Kenya, His Excellency Archbishop Hubertus van Megen.

Bishop-Elect Mwongela will replace Most Rev. Anthony Muheria who was transferred by the Pope to the Archdiocese of Nyeri on 23rd, April 2017. Archbishop Muheria has been serving as the Apostolic Administrator of the Diocese of Kitui since April 2017.

Bishop-Elect Joseph Mwongela is currently serving as the Vicar General of Kitui. He was first appointed as Second Vicar General on 6th, March 2015.

As Vicar General, Bishop-Elect Mwongela is in charge of priestly personnel and conduct, pastoral, education, health, development, diocesan communication and youth chaplaincy matters.

He is a member of the Boards of Caritas Kitui, Muthale Mission Hospital and St. Teresa’s Catechetical Training Centre, among others.

Bishop-Elect Joseph Mwongela was born on 7th April, 1968 in Kakumi, Diocese of Kitui. He attended the preparatory year at Saint Mary’s Senior Seminary, Molo, in the Diocese of Nakuru (1989). He carried out his studies in philosophy at Saint Augustine’s Senior Seminary Mabanga, in the Diocese of Bungoma (1990-1991) and in theology at St. Thomas Aquinas Major Seminary in Nairobi (1992-1995). He was ordained a priest on 7th September 1996 for the Diocese of Kitui.

He subsequently held the following roles: parish vicar of the Migwani parish (1996-1997); parish priest of the Nguni parish (1997-1998); formatter at the Saint Patrick Formation House (1999-2001); diocesan chancellor and, at the same time, director of the diocesan office for vocational pastoral care (2003-2008).

From 2003 to 2008 he studied in Rome where he was awarded a licentiate from the Pontifical Gregorian University (2003-2006) and a doctorate in dogmatic theology from the Angelicum (2005-2008). He went on to serve as Chaplain of the Mater Misericordiae Hospital in Kitui (2008); parish priest of Muthale parish (2008-2013); Director of the Saint John Paul II Institute of Professional Studies and parish priest of the Boma parish (Our Lady of Africa Cathedral); and Vicar general of the diocese of Kitui (since 2015).

The Catholic Diocese of Kitui was created on November 16, 1963 with Rt. Rev. William Dunne as the first Bishop. The second Bishop was the late Archbishop Boniface Lele who was appointed in February, 1996. Archbishop Anthony Muheria was appointed Bishop of Kitui in 2008 where he served until April 2017 when he was transferred to the Archdiocese of Nyeri.

By National Communications Network News Team, Tuesday, 17/03/2020

St. Patrick’s Catholic Parish-Thika Launches Yearlong Celebration of “the Word of God”.

Drawing inspiration from the celebration of the Sunday of the Word of God, established by Pope Francis on September 30, 2019 through his Apostolic Letter “Aperuit illis”, St. Patrick Catholic Parish-Thika launched a yearlong celebration of the same event during Family Day Celebrations held on 15th March 2020.

The launch was done in a unique style with a Bible procession where members of Catholic Men Associations, Bible Study group among representatives of other Ecclesiastical groups led the procession, where a small girl; hosted up a dummy boat while holding up her bible surrounded by four men with lamps, spears and shield signifying the exalting of the Word of God, while 200 copies of bibles were placed on a stand; where the Cardinal prayed and blessed them.

His Eminence John Cardinal Njue urging the Christians to think about the Word, by generally reading the Bible, he reminded them to concentrate on the great value that the Word of God occupies in its daily existence.

“I urge all of you to deepen the love we have for the Word of God and realize the benefits that accrue from reading, thinking and living God’s Word in our lives,” he said.

On his part, the Father In-Charge and the Dean; Thika Deanery Fr. Anselm Kamuyu, told the congregation that by celebrating the Year of the Word of God, the Parish intends to “create a culture of reading and sharing the word of God right from the family unit; make the Word of God better known, loved and lived; empower the faithful to proclaim the Word of God; proclaim the Good News to the ignorant; and promote authentic interpretation of the Word of God.”

Some of the activities planned for the year include Biblical seminars scheduled every month within all Small Christian Communities in the Parish.

The year 2020 is significant for the Word of God as it marks 1600th anniversary of the death of St. Jerome, Priest and Doctor of the Church credited with translating much of the Bible into Latin and famous for the words, “Ignorance of scripture is ignorance of Christ.”

 

By:  Augustine Victor, Parish Communication Agent-Thika

    X