In his message for the World Day of Social Communications 2019, Pope Francis urges responsible use of the internet, saying it should be used to liberate not to entrap.
The Project is coordinated by the Kenya Conference of Catholic Bishops (KCCB) Commission for Social Communications through the Ag. National Executive Secretary Sr. Adelaide Ndilu. Online News Editor is Rose Achiego.
By Paschal Norbert, Nairobi, Friday, 26th, June 2020
Kenya Catholic Bishops have appealed to parliament and all legislators of good-will to shoot down the Reproductive Healthcare Bill-2019 that is currently before the Senate, for its purposes on legalizing abortion.
In a statement signed on behalf of all the Bishops by the Chairman of the Kenya Conference of Catholic Bishops (KCCB), Most. Rev. Philip Anyolo, on 23rd June 2020. The bishops said they would not keep quiet on issues regarding the sanctity of human life and dignity.
“We cannot remain silent before issues that concern life. We are called by our faith and our African cultural background, to protect life and also the life of the unborn,” said the bishops. On the diction of the bill, the bishops pointed out that the contents are deliberately ambivalent and misleading to the general public.
“It speaks of Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights when for a fact it simply wishes to introduce in Kenya unhealthy practices…encompasses controversial sexual and abortion rights, including for young children,” the bishops said.
They reminded all Christian legislators that the Church’s position on the evil of abortion has never changed and that the belief is, abortion is the intentional killing of human life.
“The teaching of the Church on this matter has never wavered. The life of the unborn is human life while its termination is homicide,” the bishops said.
They said the proposed legislation is against the teaching of the gospel. Moreover, they maintain it is against the constitution and the right to life and the protection of children and the family.
As a result, the Catholic Bishops have rallied Members of Parliament and Senators to interpret the will of the people to promote life and not death.
“We urge you to reflect upon the consequences this bill will have on the moral fabric of the nation. We are certain you will consider our views, and the views of millions of Kenyans, and make the right choice,” the bishops said.
Nairobi based book publishing firm, Moran Publishers Limited, has responded to the Emergency Response Appeal sent out by the Kenya Conference of Catholic Bishops in the wake of COVID-19 pandemic, floods, and landslides, with a donation of Kshs 100,000 and books worth more than Kshs 800,000.
The donation which was handed over to the President of Caritas – Kenya, Most Rev. Martin Kivuva Musonde, on 25th June 2020, at the publisher’s office in Nairobi, will go towards supporting flood victims in the Archdiocese of Kisumu and Diocese of Bungoma.
Speaking while receiving the donations, Archbishop Kivuva thanked Moran Publishers for their kind gesture, noting that children in flood and landslide-hit regions are in greater danger because they fall victim of drowning, starvation and disease. He added that because some of the schools have been submerged, children are also lacking learning materials.
“Disasters directly cause disease and damage to education and health infrastructure, while indirectly lowering disease resistance by heightening poverty and malnutrition,” he said.
Issuing the cheque and books, Moran (E.A.) Publishers Limited Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, David Muita, expressed hope that the donation will alleviate the pain of the victims affected by the devastating floods, landslides, and COVID-19.
“We also believe that the books will be of great use to both the students and teachers in the affected schools and will go a long way in uplifting educational standards in the community,” he added.
Parts of Busia and Kisumu Counties are faced with disasters following the onset of seasonal rainfall and increased water levels in Lake Victoria that has led to backflows that have caused flooding in Budalangi, Samia, Matayos, Nyando, and Ugenya Sub Counties.
According to reports, the heavy rainfall and backflow floods have caused pit latrines and toilets to fill up and overflow, with some collapsing or sinking. Over 607 households have been affected and schools submerged. It is estimated that up to 11 schools are submerged in Budalangi alone. Schools like Mundika Primary School, are acting as Internally Displaced Persons (IDP) camps.
The situation is critical with the potential for the cholera outbreak, even as the country is fighting to contain the COVID-19 pandemic.
By Paschal Norbert, Nairobi, Tuesday, 23rd, June 2020
The Kenya Conference of Catholic Bishops (KCCB) has condemned an attempt by some activists pushing for the introduction of Comprehensive Sexual Education (CSE) in schools as a way of curbing teenage pregnancies, saying children need to be taught good morals.
In a statement read by Bishop of Nyahururu Rt. Rev. Joseph Mbatia at the Holy Family Minor Basilica on 21st, June 2020, during the Feast of Most Sacred Heart of Jesus, the Bishops stressed that it is the duty of parents to bring up children who are morally upright.
“Parents have the God-given privilege and obligation to bring forth life and to nurture every life they bring forth, especially in matters of virtues, values, and character-building, including age-appropriate human sexuality education,” he said.
Bishop Mbatia who is the Chairman of the Catholic Health Commission said that children are at high risk of domestic violence, alcohol, and substance abuse, defilement and lack of basic needs due to their age-related vulnerabilities during this coronavirus crisis and, therefore, robust and principled family upbringing is one of the ways to curb rising teenage pregnancies.
“We reiterate our belief that strong family values and personal responsibility on nurturing and safeguarding children, can go a long way towards eradicating or significantly reducing child sexual exploitation and the resultant teenage pregnancies that scatter life-goals of our dear children,” said Bishop Mbatia.
Bishop’s reaction follows an intense debate over alarming statistics from a Kenya Health Information System survey indicating a disturbing rise in numbers of teenage girls having conceived during this period of the Covid-19 pandemic.
The Media Council of Kenya (MCK) has disbursed more than Kshs. 6 million to Catholic Media Houses to help them in the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic.
In a letter addressed to the Station Managers, MCK Chief Executive Officer and Secretary to the Council, Mr. David Omwoyo, noted that the grant from the Government through the Ministry of ICT and Innovation is intended to assist community media in implementing public awareness activities as an emergency response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“The Council appreciates that local community and vernacular outlets are authoritative and popular in the public education and awareness on COVID-19 as critical sources of information. You provide a forum for the voiceless to raise their concerns and to directly address their leaders on matters relating to health in general and COVID-19,” the letter reads in part.
Mr. Omwoyo in his letter said the engagement is expected to expand the debate on the health situation in the country by including the voice of the elected leaders and other opinion leaders from local areas in helping the Government in educating the public on the Coronavirus.
He also expressed hope that the money will enable the media houses to sustain their current employees for at least the next three months. This grant is phase one of the support and more resources are likely to be availed in future.
Meanwhile, The National Executive Secretary for the Kenya Conference of Catholic Bishops (KCCB) – Commission for Social communications, Rev. Sr. Adelaide Ndilu, has thanked MCK through Mr. Omwoyo, for the kind gesture of supporting the National Communications Office, Ukweli TV, Radio Waumini and 17 other Diocesan radios across the country.
“We are happy that the Government, through MCK, has considered supporting the Church media during these difficult times for us in the industry. We appreciate this gesture and commit to put the funds into proper use,” Sr. Ndilu said.
By Paschal Norbert, Nairobi, Monday, 15th, June 2020
The Kenya Conference of Catholic Bishops (KCCB) is concerned about the impact of COVID-19 on vulnerable populations including refugees, internally displaced persons, people on the move such as truck drivers, pastoralists, persons living on the streets, and people with mental illness.
In a statement read by the Bishop of Maralal Rt. Rev. Virgilio Pante at the Holy Family Minor Basilica-Nairobi, Sunday, 14th, June 2020, during the Feast of Corpus Christi, there is a need to act upon the plight of truck drivers who in recent weeks have been stranded at various Kenyan borders due to COVID-19 restrictions.
“Truck drivers contribute immensely to the economic health of our country. The continual rise in numbers of truck drivers contracting COVID-19 indicates a gap in addressing their safety and health. Therefore it is a matter of great concern to all of us. We appeal to the Government to urgently address the challenges the truck drivers, are facing in order to curb the rising spread of the virus,” Bishop Pante said.
Bishop Pante who is the Chairman of the Commission for Refugees, Migrants, and Seafarers, lauded the efforts of philanthropists who are supporting street families who are said to be most affected by COVID-19, encouraging people of good-will as well as national and county governments, to help them in every way possible.
“The people living on the streets in towns and those suffering from mental illness are in a more precarious situation with a high risk of contracting, spreading, and being overwhelmed by COVID-19,” he said.
Bishop Pante said concerted efforts have to be made in addressing the plight of internally displaced persons and refugees who live in congested places without proper facilities to deal with the surge in infections.
“The refugees and internally displaced people who reside in densely populated camps face a risk of contracting Corona-virus. We appeal that more deliberate mitigation measures are urgently implemented to protect these vulnerable groups,” he said.
Bishop Pante who resides in Maralal proposed increased sensitization measures among nomadic communities.
“Although reported cases of Covid-19 among the pastoralist communities are low, there is a need for sensitization of the communities on COVID-19 risk factors and preventive measures. We encourage both the government to continually raise awareness on the pandemic in these communities,” implored the Bishop of Maralal.
The Church urged Christians and people of goodwill to support Caritas Emergency Appeal 2020 by contributing in-kind and monetarily towards assisting those affected by floods, landslides, and the COVID-19 pandemic.
By Janet Hinga, Nairobi, Thursday, 11th, June 2020
The Chairman of the Kenya Conference of Catholic Bishops (KCCB) – Family Life National Office, Rt. Rev. Norman King’oo, on the feast of Holy Trinity Sunday called on Christians to reflect on family as a gift from God and the pillar of strength amidst the good and bad times.
Celebrating Holy Mass at the Holy Family Minor Basilica Nairobi, the Bishop of Machakos said, “My brothers and sisters, the family is considered a basic unit of the society; it is the original cell of social life and its stability constitutes the foundations of the society.”
Bishop King’oo noted that stringent measures by the government, especially the restriction of movement in efforts to avert the spread of COVID – 19 has affected the family, as emotions have been running high due to the changes within families, homes, and workplaces. He added that worries of accessing basic necessities have characterized the lives of Kenyans deepening anxiety rates of what the future holds.
“All Kenyans should not take this pandemic as an opportunity to deviate from our family values. Rather, reflect on them the fruits of marriage. A healthy family has a good relationship with God and among each other. Families should pray together, read the word of God, evangelize, and express mutual respect. It is in the family where values, faith, and culture of the society are learned and practiced for the first time,” he said.
Bishop King’oo encouraged spouses to share their thoughts and cooperate in the upbringing of their children amidst the common struggle to remain happy and harmonious in the family setup.
Quoting the Papal Document, Amoris Laetitia (The Joy of Love), he reminded Kenyans that crisis forms part of the life.
“We are called to live the love of God concretely and grow in mutual love, characteristics borrowed from St Paul’s Hymn of Charity: Love is patient, kind not jealous or boastful (cf. 1Cor 13:4-7),” he said.
Meanwhile, he called on politicians to demonstrate servant leadership by shunning divisive politics. This comes after the earlier reported clashes in Narok County that led to the loss of lives, displacement of people, and constantly living in fear.
He however commended the Government for calling for dialogue between the warring communities to settle their disputes amicably.
The Bishop urged Kenyans to continue praying and supporting the vulnerable in the society and to abide by the measures put in place for the purpose of fighting COVID-19 pandemic reiterating bishops’ continuous commitment to work with state and non-state actors for the common good in these unforeseen circumstances.
The Archdiocese of Nyeri has launched a Christian based counseling and support center to provide support to individuals and families facing difficulties during the COVID-19 pandemic period. The Good Shepherd Call Centre is a toll-free number that everyone can call or SMS to get support and was launched on 9th April 2020, by Nyeri Archbishop, Most Rev. Anthony Muheria.
In an interview with The Catholic Media Network, Archbishop Muheria noted that with the Government adopting strict measures to counter the spread of COVID-19 including restriction of movement, stress levels among the people have heightened, leading to conflict within families and affecting the marriage institution.
“The center will provide psychological counseling and encouragement, including marriage counseling to direct marital disagreements and other relationship matters and work towards a harmonious solution,” he said. “It will also provide spiritual support and is intended for any person from any religion or part of the country, who finds himself or herself in a serious situation of mental stress. Just as Christ the Good Shepherd, a name borrowed and considered fit for the call center, we seek to tell those in distress caused by COVID-19 disease or other causes, that we are here for you.”
The Archbishop added that the Church’s aim is to come to the aid of people undergoing various stressful situations.
“We have deployed 30 counselors and priests who will be available 24hours to advise and ease the stress,” he said.
The call center is coordinated by Rev. Fr. Stephen Ndung’u, a certified counselor, and is supported by over 10 psychologists who have volunteered to follow up on cases that need specialized attention. Other volunteer call center attendants are undergoing a crash program on psychological counseling skills.
On the nature of cases reported at the call center, Archbishop Muheria said there are no clear indications to highlight the common elements leading to a rise in domestic violence. The center he noted, has had few cases of domestic violence, and others related to drug abuse or related complications. He pointed out that so far, call reports indicate that women from the larger group of clients calling the center for support followed by the youth.
“The cases from calls have been varied,” he said. “From very serious and acute problems to mere calls by someone seeking to just talk. Loneliness is also a very serious issue for those living away from their families or those in quarantine or isolation. From a huge surge at the beginning of over 300 calls per week, we are now getting about 100 calls a week. The most serious are suicidal cases which are handled professionally as well as spiritually, to domestic disputes, cases of stress due to lack of food, rent and basic needs.”
Archbishop Muheria said they have set a criterion for providing support which involves helping the clients to first identify their problem and engaging relevant Government agencies for further management where necessary.
“We try to connect with the police when it is clear that it is a case of violence,” said Archbishop Muheria. “This is not just for the spouses; we also involve siblings or relatives living together with the abused person. “However, we can spot situations before they become violent when the victims call and intervene and even involve the other party. We have so far found that, when people seek advice and help before the situation escalates, we achieve more success. The team has also been engaged in community education through our radio, Radio Maria, which airs two weekly programs addressing mental health, and causes of stress.
The Catholic Bishops in Kenya have expressed concern over reports of increased violence in families and cautioned Kenyans that domestic violence and gender-based violence are not acceptable under any circumstance.
“Problems due to Covid-19 must not bring strife among us, but a cause to reason together with understanding. Let us make our families the last fortress against Covid-19. The Holy Family of Nazareth is always the model,” the Bishops urged in their statement released on 31st March 2020, titled “overcoming COVID-19 as Kenyans in bearing each other’s burdens.”
Echoing the words of the bishops, Archbishop Anthony Muheria, who is also the Chairman of the Commission for Pastoral and Lay Apostolate, noted that domestic violence comes where communication breaks down. He urged spouses to practice good parenting since domestic violence also involves children and may be more difficult to identify.
“Violence does not resolve any problem but only serves to escalate it,” he said. “When it is not possible to talk to your spouse, seek help from those who can assist both of you. Marriage is a project that is not easy in itself and needs help, both spiritual and human. It is not enough to pray for the spouse, one must seek those who can help resolve the misunderstandings or causes of the disagreement.”
By Rose Achiego, Nairobi, Wednesday, 3rd, June 2020
Chairman for The Kenya Conference of Catholic Bishops (KCCB)-Council for Economic Affairs Rt. Rev. James Maria Wainaina on Pentecost Sunday called on Kenyans to continue sharing dwindling resources during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Presiding over the Holy Mass at the Holy Family Minor Basilica, Bishop Wainaina warned that this is not the time to seek to make unreasonably high profits, but to make sacrifices for the benefit of others.
“We need to keep reminding ourselves of the dire need to continue sharing our dwindling resources and abilities, in a just and equitable manner. St. Paul exhorts us to bear each other’s burdens (cf. Gal. 6:2).” He said.
The Bishop of Muranga called on property owners, employers, other business persons including social and political spheres to have honest and candid engagement between players in order to accommodate and benefit one another.
“The landlords must be ready to negotiate and agree on a way-forward with their tenants, business people with their customers, service providers with beneficiaries of their services, and employers with their employees. There is life to be lived together beyond COVID-19. The tendency to turn calamities into opportunities for self-enrichment or to exploit the needs of others in corrupt deals is abhorrent and must be condemned,” he said.
While lauding the Government, led by President Uhuru Kenyatta for unveiling the economic stimulus package, he appealed for expeditious pay of all genuine suppliers and urged for urgent settlement of money owed by NHIF to Faith-based Health facilities to enable them continue rendering their much-needed services in addition to waiving taxes on items and other hospital consumables related to COVID-19.
“Moreover, since the “new normal” is now characterized by Face Masks, PPE’s, hand-sanitizers, hand-washing soaps, cleaning detergents, we call upon our Government to consider waiving taxes on these items, and others like ambulances and other. It is also important to avoid taxes that increase commodity prices,” he said.
In order to overcome negative effects COVID-19 pandemic, he called on the people to remain united at all levels: in the family, in social life, among all religious faiths, and even at the level of political leadership.
“We, as Catholic Bishops, are also concerned about reports of increased violence in families. Domestic violence and Gender Based Violence are not acceptable. Let us celebrate the descent of the Holy Spirit in an environment of peace and harmony in our families (Eph. 6:1-4 and 1 Thess. 5:13).” He added.
Bishop Wainaina said, problems due to Coronavirus must not bring strife among people, but should be a cause to reason together with understanding. “Let us make our families the last fortress against Covid-19. The Holy Family of Nazareth is always the model,” he said.
He expressed appreciation to all those who have given generously for the alleviation of suffering due to COVID-19 pandemic
Franciscan Sisters of St. Joseph in Ahero Parish, Archdiocese of Kisumu this week distributed foodstuffs and monitory funds to about 145 old and vulnerable people affected by floods in Ahero.
The two-day activity led by Sr. Paul Anastasia Auma who is in charge of the Old Age Program took place at St. Anne’s Ahero where each beneficiary was given 10kg of maize, one bar soap, a kilogram of sugar and some money, owing to their various needs.
The donations were made by funding from Help age Canada and contributions by well-wishers from various places within the Archdiocese of Kisumu through Ahero Parish.
Speaking during the function, Ahero Parish Priest who is the Deanery Coordinator for CJPC and Caritas, Rev. Fr. Shadrack Malo said the sisters’ charitable gesture to the most vulnerable and those affected by floods and Coronavirus was commendable.
Fr. Malo encouraged beneficiaries to also be generous to the less fortunate around them who might have not had the opportunity of getting some help and to protect themselves and others from Coronavirus.
“In this period of the Corona virus, we are required to ensure that we keep safe as individuals. As we do so, let us also be mindful of the others by observing the government directives of social distancing, regular and proper hand washing with water and soap and wearing of masks in public places.
Present during the function were: Ahero Primary School Head Teacher Rev. Sr. Diana Clare, Rev. Sr. Damaris Kwamboka who works in the old age program together with volunteers from Small Christian Communities who helped in identifying the needy and distributing the gifts.
The Catholic Justice and Peace Commission Office in Malindi (CJPC-Malindi), in collaboration with the Kenya Conference of Catholic Bishops (KCCB), other partners and people of goodwill, on 12th May 2020, donated foodstuff to 15 needy Muslim families in Mambrui area of Magarini Sub-county, Kilifi County.
The donation which included maize flour and beans was delivered by the Gongoni Parish Priest, Rev. Fr. Samuel Kenga, who was accompanied by the CJPC – Malindi Coordinator, Mr. Moses Mpuria. According to Mpuria, the donation is to supplement the farm produce the beneficiaries had.
Speaking during the event, Fr. Kenga said the Church’s preferential option for the poor targets all suffering persons, regardless of their religious or cultural backgrounds.
Receiving the donation on behalf of the families, Mambrui Muslim leader, Ustadh Muutaman of Madrassa Al-Ghannai, recognized and appreciated the support extended to needy families in Mambrui by the Catholic Church in Malindi, terming it ujirani mwema (good neighbourliness).
Ustadh Muutaman was instrumental in identifying the needy families through the inter-faith group initiative that has been in existence in Gongoni Parish for the purpose of development and peaceful coexistence of the people within the community.
“The decision to consult Ustadh Muutaman to help in identifying the beneficiaries was influenced by the realization that Mambrui was mostly populated by Muslims and lacked small Christian communities which are the means through which the diocese identifies the needy,” Mpuria said adding that, “being among the six outstations of Gongoni Parish, we felt that we cannot not discriminate Mamburi for being mostly inhabited by Muslims.”
The Diocesan Covid-19 Response Initiative was started on 21st April, 2020, as part of the overall diocesan initiative which has been in existence over the years within the Lenten Campaign period.
Through its mission “Baptised and sent”, CJPC-Malindi has been providing support to vulnerable groups in the diocese and has so far reached 420 beneficiaries out of a target of 600 beneficiaries within the Diocese of Malindi and in two institutions – Pope Francis Rescue Home for victims of Sexual Abuse and St. Francis Rehabilitation Centre for Children Living with Disabilities.
The diocesan initiative has various projects within it such as Project 720, which targets to provide vulnerable girls with sanitary towels and has so far reached 250 girls. There is also the Self-care Plan for priests as well as provision of liquid soap, face masks and water packs to needy people as part of efforts to complement the ongoing campaign by the Government and the Ministry of Health to sensitize Kenyans on the COVID-19 pandemic.
According to Mpuria, their baskets of donation have been categorized into two programs – the General Vulnerable Program and the Nutrition Program. The General Vulnerable Program has so far reached 150 families and caters for families that are dependent on a sole provider who is involved in casual work and cannot currently sustain the family due to the COVID-19 crisis. The Nutrition Program has reached 250 people and targets vulnerable groups such as the elderly, sickly and malnourished children below the age of 5 years.
On the lessons learnt during the charity exercise in Mambrui, Mpuria urged Kenyans to embrace the spirit of good neighborliness by sharing what they have regardless of their religious affiliation or cultural background. He emphasized on the need for team work in promoting peace in the region.
“Everyone should emulate the story of the Good Samaritan for our human co-existence,” he said.
Mpuria paid tribute to the CJPC National Office, the Pontifical Mission Society (PMS) National Office through the Director, Rev. Fr. Bonaventure Luchidio, the Italian Organization – Karibuni Onlus and parishioners from the Diocese of Malindi, for their continued support to the Diocesan Covid-19 Response Initiative. He called on Kenyans to continue supporting the initiative through whichever means available to them.
To support the Malindi Diocesan COVID-19 Response Initiative, you’re your donation through Mpesa: