Archbishop Muheria: It is better to remain poor but happy and faithful to God

Archbishop Anthony Muheria Celebrating Holy Mass at the Catholic Secretariat

By Rose Achiego

Nyeri Archbishop, Most Rev. Anthony Muheria, has challenged the staff of Kenya Conference of Catholic Bishops (KCCB) – General Secretariat to show the face of Christ through honesty and good stewardship of resources entrusted to their care. He told the staff that it is better to remain poor but faithful to God and thus happy than being rich and wealthy with a heart that is not at peace with God.

Addressing the congregation during Mass at Waumini House in Westlands, Nairobi, where he replicated the launch of the Anti-Corruption Campaign, Archbishop Muheria called on staff of the Bishops’ Secretariat to cultivate the heroic and courageous witness that the disciples had, in helping the bishops in the fight against corruption.

Archbishop Muheria told the staff that as people working for the Church, they need to desperately fight against corruption to avert the negative effects perpetuated by greed and hunger for power, so as to achieve peace, harmony, goodness and love that Christ wishes for all.

This is a special desire of renewal, we are fighting to create Christ’s presence in our society by removing the rot and showing the face of Jesus,” he said. “We have disfigured the face of Christ by engaging in corrupt deals but unless we heal the soul, unless we revive and awaken the conscience, pointing fingers at others will not change society.”

He added that the six-month campaign against corruption launched on 5th, October, 2019 at Subukia in Nakuru aims at re-awakening individual conscience and will start from the bottom-up.

“We need to revive and awaken our conscience. We need to change our hearts because we are the ones accommodating and feeding the evil of corruption,” he said, adding that corruption is practiced in different forms by people, noting that when one gives Police Officers a bribe not to be taken into lawful custody, or when one pays money to be given a job or tender, or takes things that do not belong to them, then they are corrupt.

He led staff in renewing their baptismal vows, reciting the commitment to fight corruption and signing a declaration as a sign of their commitment. “Let this commitment not be just a ritual or bureaucratic process – let there be a new rebirth, a new dawn and witness of truth,” he said.

Bishop Obanyi promulgates Diocesan pastoral guidelines

Br Rev. Fr. Maurice Erambo

The Catholic Diocese of Kakamega has promulgated new pastoral guidelines that acknowledges the magisterial affirmation of the Kenya conference of catholic Bishops and expresses the unity of the Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church.

The Bishop of Kakamega Rt. Rev. Joseph Obanyi gave out the new guidelines on the occasion of the diocesan family day held at St. Peters Seminary Mukumu on 23rd November 2019.

Bishop Obanyi said the Synod document promulgated presents not only the juridical norms but also a system of catechesis and reflections based on the affirmation of the authentic teaching of the universal church. Thereby confirming the communion of the church at all levels.

Bishop Obanyi who is also the Apostolic Administrator of Bungoma emphasized on the importance of the diocesan synod document. “The declarations and decrees will give pastoral direction and strengthen the growth of faith and enhance evangelization and sense of Christian responsibility.”

The Bishop urged all the people of God in the Catholic Diocese of Kakamega to receive the 168 page pastoral guidelines, own them and live them in all aspects of their lives.

The Diocesan synod of Kakamega begun way back in 2016. It brought together members of Christ faithful, representatives of the clergy, religious men and women working in the diocese, members of the lay faithful representing different states of life and ecclesialgroups and movements in the diocese, members of the diocesan curia, a team of experts and invited observers who together with the bishop guided by the holy spirit discussed and explored themes that had been proposed as a path to ecclesial renewal.

The themes in the Diocesan Synod Declarations and Decrees document include: The Church, The Catholic Diocese of Kakamega, Governance and Administration of the Diocese, Faith and Doctrine, Liturgy and Discipline of Sacraments, Evangelization and Inculturation, Inter-Religious Dialogue and Ecumenism, Catechesis in the Pastoral Life of the Church, Clergy and Religious, Role of the Laity, Pastoral and Spiritual Formation of the Faithful, Promotion of Vocations, Collaboration and Solidarity and Integral Human Development.

Archbishop Anyolo Reiterates the Call on Christians To Fight Against Corruption

Rev. Fr. Joachim Omolo Ouko, AJ – Archdiocese of Kisumu

The Archbishop of Kisumu Most Rev Philip Anyolo, who is also the Chairman of the Kenya Conference of Catholic Bishops (KCCB) and the Apostolic Administrator of Homabay Diocese, has once again called on Catholic faithful to fight against corruption.

Speaking during Diaconate Ordination at St Therasa’s Cathedral Kibuye, Kisumu on 14th, November 2019, Archbishop Anyolo said that through bishops’ declaration and approach to the alter barefoot at Marian Shrine, Subukia, Nakuru on 5th, October 2019, every faithful is compelled to fight against the corruption actively.

Archbishop Philip Anyolo

Archbishop Philip Anyolo gave the reason behind their decision to decline cash donations from politicians, saying, “We know that when one gives, they do so with good intentions of the church, that’s okay. But now that there is the issue of corruption, we now have to put rules in place so that corruption does not find its way through the Church.”

In a press statement read at the Shrine, The Bishops pledged to keep a record of any gift to a religious leader exceeding Kshs 50,000 (USD 500),” and that adding that, all gifts should be accompanied or acknowledged by a letter.

In order to preserve the sanctity of the Church buildings, the Bishops banned politicians from using the pulpit to advance their political agenda.

“Our Churches will not be used as political platforms or for any other motive other than for the liturgy and worship of God. We shall therefore not allow any address within the Church of any non-liturgical character, the bishops said. All such addresses that may be opportune to make, will be made outside of the Church with due dignity, they said.”

Taking note of the tendency by politicians to use occasions of Christian burials to do politics, the Bishops said the true nature of funerals has to be restored, to condole and pray for the family and honor and pray for the deceased.

“Anything political or developmental should be specifically excluded for honour of God and respect of the deceased,” the Bishops said.

Archbishop Anyolo ordained four deacons; George Otieno Opiyo, Vincent Odhiambo, Kennedy Opore, and Moses Odero.

Bishop Kihara: Child abuse is a reality that we must confront

By Samuel Waweru and Rose Achiego
 
The Vice Chairman of the Kenya Conference of Catholic Bishops (KCCB) – Commission for Social Communications, Rt. Rev. Peter Kihara, has said child abuse is a reality that the Church must confront. He says the Church has to respond to rising cases of child abuse and cannot afford to run away from its responsibility in ensuring that children are safeguarded.
 
“We must accept the reality of child abuse,” said Bishop Kihara. “We cannot run away from child abuse cases. We must face this reality. If any of our Church personnel is involved, it means the Church has to respond accordingly. You cannot protect the Church by hiding.”
 
Bishop Kihara reiterated the importance of having child protection policies in the dioceses, saying this has now become part and parcel of all project implementation and even in discussions with donors. He called for establishment of child protection desks in every diocese, urging dioceses to come up with their own child safeguarding policies.
 
“Child protection policies are now part of donor funding requirements,” said Bishop Kihara. “Dioceses that do not have their own child protection policies should use the KCCB policy. I am glad that we now also have the AMECEA Child Safeguarding Standards and Guidelines.”
 
The bishop said there is need to conduct trainings at the local diocesan level, especially for those who are handling children.
 
“All the people that are involved with children need to be introduced to the child protection policy to know and understand their responsibility towards the children under their care,” said Bishop Kihara. “Child protection seminars should not be confined to the cities. We should go to the grassroots, in the dioceses – hold trainings there so that we can have an open discussion on the way forward.”
 
Bishop Kihara was addressing Diocesan Communication Coordinators, Radio Station Managers and Missionary Communication and Media Directors during their training held at Our Lady of Africa Pastoral Centre in Mombasa from July 1st – 4th, 2019.
 
He said the Church appreciates the need to communicate more so as to reach more people, especially through modern communication technology such as social media.
 

Vice Chairman for KCCB – Commission for Social Communication and the Bishop of Marsabit Rt. Rev Peter Kihara addressing Communication Coordinators and Radio Managers in Mombasa.


“We have come far as a Church in Kenya,” said Bishop Kihara. “Today we have more Catholic radios in Kenya and through them we can reach more people without having to physically go out to the parishes, especially in the remote regions of the country. We need to work together as Catholic media and know that unity is strength. It is the only way that we will go far as Catholic Media. We must also embrace social media in our work. Evangelization through social media is necessary even as we think of how to enhance our slow communication media such as print.”
 
In his welcoming speech, the Archbishop of Mombasa, Most Rev. Martin Kivuva, told Catholic Communication Coordinators and Station Managers that they are the voice of the Church and are Christ’s agents, and when they do their work well, they are fulfilling the mandate of Christ who sent his disciples to take the good news to the whole world.
 
“You represent the voice of the Church in your mission of telling the story of what is happening,” said Archbishop Kivuva. “You are the Abraham of today pleading for his people in Sodom and Gomorrah. You are standing at the centre to speak on behalf of the poor. Today the media is playing an important role in our country. It is increasingly exposing financial scandals that we would never have known about.”
 
The Archbishop urged Catholic media to work together and engage secular media because they stand to gain more if they embrace each other.
 
“Our radios should look for ways to network,” he said “If one radio station has a good program, this can be shared by other radios instead of producing similar programs. Sharing and exchanging programs makes it easy to operate and save on production costs.”
 
Archbishop Kivuva called on Catholic Media Houses to embrace green energy to save on electricity bills and avoid unnecessary power interruptions and surges that could end up destroying their equipment.
 
“Green energy such as solar is clean and affordable,” said the Archbishop. “It is costly to run a station on grid electricity.”
 

Archbishop of Mombasa Most Rev. Martin Kivuva while welcoming Communicators at Our Lady of Africa Pastoral Center, Tudor, Mombasa 


On his part, the National Executive Secretary of the KCCB – Social Communications Commission, Bro. Elias Mokua, called on Catholic Media to avoid glamorizing issues of child abuse as this could end up escalating incidences of abuse. He called on Catholic Media to embrace a social justice dimension when reporting on issues of child abuse, saying there is need to consider human dignity, report only the important facts and avoid unnecessary drama.
 
Bro. Mokua called on the Church to promote the Sacrament of Holy Matrimony, saying trends have indicated that when it loses it’s meaning, more child abuse cases are reported.
 
He said there is need for Catholic Media to embrace new ways of communication and promote convergence.
 
“We need to diversify our strategies for evangelization,” said Bro. Mokua. “We cannot rely on only one platform. We need to centralize our information sources and content and ensure it is shared through all our platforms. We must promote media convergence so as to reach everyone wherever they are.”
He emphasized on the need to adopt social media, especially in reaching out to young people.
 
“Social media is important to reach young people,” said Bro. Mokua. “As Catholics we cannot wait for our young people to be evangelized by other people with the wrong kind of messages. Many groups, including terror groups, are reaching them through social media to radicalize and recruit them. We cannot only wait for Sundays to reach them. We must reach them where they are.”

Pope Francis appoints Rt. Rev. Dominic Kimengich Bishop of Eldoret

By National Communications Network News Team

Pope Francis has appointed Rt. Rev. Dominic Kimengich Bishop of Eldoret Diocese. Rt. Rev. Kimengich is currently the Bishop of Lodwar.

The Diocese of Eldoret fell vacant on 30th, October 2017, following the passing on of Rt. Rev. Cornelius Korir. Consequently, the Holy Father appointed the Bishop of Kitale, Rt. Rev. Maurice Crowley, as the Apostolic Administrator of the Diocese.

The news of the appointment of Bishop Kimengich was officially made public in Rome on Saturday, 16th, November, 2019 at noon.  The letter of his appointment was sent to the Kenya Conference of Catholic Bishops (KCCB) by the Apostolic Nuncio to Kenya, His Excellency Archbishop Bert Van Megen.

Born on 23rd, April 1961, Bishop Kimengich was ordained as a priest of Nakuru Diocese on 14th, September 1986. He was appointed as an Auxiliary Bishop of Lodwar and Titular Bishop of Tanaramusa on 20th, March, 2010. Bishop Kimengich was ordained Titular Bishop of Tanaramusa on 22nd, May, 2010, and   appointed Bishop of Lodwar on 5th, March, 2011.

“Seek Me and You Will Live” (Amos 5:4)

Introduction

We the Catholic Bishops, gathered in our November Plenary Assembly, in Nairobi, wish to bring you dear Kenyans our greetings. Similarly, we wish to let the Form Four Candidates know that we have them in our minds and hearts as they sit for their ongoing exams. We wish them success.

As we gather and reflect on our responsibilities as Shepherds, we wish also to share with you our present thoughts and concerns regarding the state of our Nation.

  1. Breaking the Chains of Corruption

We, the Kenya Conference of Catholic Bishops, on behalf of the Catholic Church in Kenya, launched the “Break the Chains of Corruption” Anti-Corruption Campaign in the Subukia Shrine and made the “Subukia Declaration”, on October 5, 2019 in the presence of over 40,000 Christians from all corners of the Country.

The idea of the campaign resulted from the many appeals we Catholic Bishops have made to the Government and all non-state actors to actively engage in the fight against corruption. We, therefore, decided to go a step further and start a more committed and concerted effort to ensure we break the chain of corruption.

First, we wish to thank the media for joining us in the campaign and ensuring that the message from the Bishops reaches every Kenyan. We are committed to sustaining this campaign initially for the next six months and going forward. We continue to count on your support because this monster of corruption cannot be faced with only one actor. We must join our hands in fighting and weeding out this vice within our society. Our new appeal is to all Churches, other Faiths and people of goodwill to truly join the war on corruption so as to bring more honesty and integrity in our society.

Our ongoing declaration of war on corruption that was launched in Subukia is an appeal to the conscience of all of us to choose a clean way of life and acting, that will bring integrity and sanity back to our Country. We stated clearly that this fight against corruption has to start from you and me.  Let us not focus on material corruption alone. 

All that promotes the culture of death is corruption, such as:

  • The destruction of our environment is corruption;
  • Killing unborn children, infidelity in marriage and domestic violence is corruption of the family;
  • Selling drugs to the youth, enticing them to promiscuity and abusing them is the worst form of corruption;
  • Soliciting for favours and privileges to the disadvantage of others by either bribing or using tribe, religion, clan, political affiliation, office or intimidation is corruption. 
  • The attempt to cheat during exams, even after many concerted efforts by the Government to stop the vice, is a terrible form of corruption that will destroy the credibility that we have as a Country. What we are witnessing during the exams, of the impunity with which candidates, teachers, and cartels are determined to obtain leakages is a sign of already a decaying society of people who don’t believe in honesty.

We must liberate ourselves from all these evils by taking a personal firm stand against all forms of corruption. This is what the Catholic Bishops did in their Anti-corruption Launch in Subukia Shrine where they invited all the Christians and people of goodwill to do the same. We still invite you further to make a commitment to stand up against corruption. Let us come forward to make the pledge of NO to corruption.

There is no other way to tackle this vice of corruption than by making a personal decision to live on what we have legitimately acquired and to refuse to live beyond our means. Hence, we must listen and interrogate our conscience, that inner voice given from God, which tells us to avoid evil and do good. This will help us to reawaken the sense of right and wrong. Truly we have a window to liberate our Country, our society and ourselves from this enslavement and we must slay this dragon now.

  • The Nairobi Summit on International Conference on    Population and Development (ICPD)

We wish to bring to the attention of all Kenyans our concern on the upcoming Nairobi Summit on ICPD25.

This summit, under the guise of advancement and development of women, is advocating the so called “Sexual and reproductive health and rights” and “comprehensive sexuality education” as the way to achieve this development of women. We do not believe that these are the issues that truly concern the development of women and humanity at large. Any meaningful summit will be expected to focus on a program that targets actions that will uplift women and children living in extreme poverty, migration, strategies for development, literacy and education, encouraging the culture of peace, supporting the family as basic unit of society, ending violence against women, as well as ensuring access to employment, land, capital and technology, among others.

We reject the introduction of these ideologies centered on gender, and other alien practices, which go against our African culture and our religious heritage. We view this agenda as an intent to corrupt our Youth and enslave them to foreign ideologies, for example, same sex union and active homosexual activities.

  • Crisis of National Hospital Insurance Fund (NHIF)

We your Shepherds, and indeed all people of goodwill are deeply concerned about the growing debt of NHIF to be paid to our Health Institutions across the Country. In fact many of our Health Facilities and other Faith-based Heath Facilities have been experiencing a serious crisis of NHIF non-payments to a point where it is difficult to procure medicine or pay salaries. If this situation persists, it threatens to cripple important services and therefore deny our people the health care due to them as a right. After raising this issue and seeking urgent intervention of the Government, we are hopeful a solution will be found as soon as possible.

Conclusion

Dear Kenyans and all people of goodwill, we your Shepherds believe that it is possible to win the war against corruption, to say no to evil tendencies and to work towards a new and just society. As we break the chains of corruption, we break the vicious cycle of evil and begin to live. As the book of psalms exhorts us, “Today if you will hear his voice harden not your heart” (Ps. 95:7-8). Let us listen to the voice of God, which is a voice of truth and justice and integrity. Let us all stand against corruption.

God bless you all, God bless Kenya. 

Signed by Most Rev. Philip Anyolo Chairman – Kenya Conference of Catholic Bishops on 8th November, 2019

PRESENT                                                 DIOCESE

  1. Rt. Rev. Philip Anyolo                     – Chairman of KCCB/Kisumu

                                                              – Apostolic Administrator, Homa Bay

  •  Rt. Rev. John Oballa Owaa                     – Vice-Chairman/Ngong
  •  His Eminence John Cardinal Njue          – Nairobi
  •  Most Rev. Martin Kivuva Musonde          – Mombasa
  •  Most Rev. Anthony Muheria                    – Nyeri

                                                                      – Apostolic Administrator, Kitui

  • Rt. Rev. Joseph Mairura Okemwa           – Kisii
  • Rt. Rev. Maurice Crowley                        – Kitale
  • Rt. Rev. Alfred Rotich                              – Emeritus Military Ordinariate
  • Rt. Rev. Norman King’oo Wambua          – Machakos
  • Rt. Rev. Peter Kihara                               – Marsabit
  • Rt. Rev. David Kamau Ng’ang’a               – Auxiliary- Nairobi
  • Rt. Rev. Anthony Ireri Mukobo                         – Isiolo Vicariate
  • Rt. Rev. Virgilio Pante                             – Maralal
  • Rt. Rev. Salesius Mugambi                      – Meru
  • Rt. Rev. Emmanuel Okombo                   – Kericho                    
  • Rt. Rev. James Maria Wainaina               – Murang’a
  • Rt. Rev. Paul Kariuki Njiru                      – Embu
  • Rt. Rev. Maurice Muhatia Makumba       – Nakuru
  • Rt. Rev. Dominic Kimengich                   – Lodwar
  • Rt. Rev. Joseph Mbatia                           – Nyahururu
  • Rt. Rev. Joseph Alessandro                     – Garissa
  • Rt. Rev. Joseph Obanyi Sagwe                – Kakamega
  •  Very Rev. Fr. Benjamin K. Maswili          – Apostolic Administrator,

                                                                         Military Ordinariate

24. Rev. Fr. Albert Buijs                              – Diocesan Administrator of Malindi

Bishop of Lodwar appeals for assistance to reconstruct institutions damaged by flash foods

By Rose Achiego

The Bishop of Lodwar, Rt. Rev. Dominic Kimengich, has appealed to the Government, the Christian faithful and people of good will to help in reconstructing the diocesan Pastoral Centre and St. Kevin Secondary School that were destroyed by flash floods that ravaged Lodwar Town late last month.

The aftermath of flash floods in the Villages around River Turkwel. (photo by LodwarCommunications office)

In an interview with the National Communications Network News, Bishop Kimengich said River Turkwel broke its banks and swept into St. Theresa Pastoral Centre and St. Kevin Secondary School, causing damage estimated to be over Kshs 11 million. He added that the floods also took the lives of four people and destroyed many other structures.

‘There was terrible flooding in Lodwar Town, which caused four deaths, destruction of property and loss of livestock,” said Bishop Kimengich. “In fact, the people of Turkana say the last time they saw floods like these was in 1969. River Turkwel broke its banks in a very forceful way and swept everything away.”

Workers trying to salvage some properties after flash floods swept away properties of St Theresa Pastoral Centre. (photo by LodwarCommunications office)

While coming to terms with the loss, Bishop Kimengich said the Diocese of Lodwar has contracted a structural engineer to assess the extent of the damage to the buildings and give a report on the way forward.

“The kitchen and dining hall were seriously affected – part of the kitchen has sunk and the walls have cracked,’ said the Bishop. “A lot of soil was also deposited.  The Centre has now been vacated and no meetings can be held there, posing a major challenge to the diocese because we used to hold meetings, retreats and conferences there.” 

Bishop Kimengich noted that flooding is becoming more frequent in Lodwar and called on the Government to build dykes along River Turkwel to prevent destruction and loss of land in the coming days.

“The Government must look at the issue of River Turkwel and identify areas where they can build dykes to prevent floods,” he said. “The situation is becoming more frequent than ever before. The Government should also find the best ways of supporting those who have lost their property.”

The Bishop blamed the heavy flash floods on climate change and called on members of the public and the Government to protect the environment by planting more trees.

“People have destroyed forests and other vegetation and nobody is taking care of the environment,” he said.

He noted that Pope Francis’ Encyclical on the Environment, Laudato Si, is very timely and should be taken seriously to avoid the world experiencing catastrophes that will destroy our common home.

“This is what pope Francis’ has been saying,” said the Bishop. “We have to take care of the climate; we have to protect our environment. What the Pope is saying is true – this is the time to wake up and do what needs to be done to preserve the environment.”  

Pope Francis’ Encyclical, Laudato Si, is a worldwide wake up call to help humanity understand the destruction that man is rendering to the environment and his fellow man. While addressing the environment directly, the document’s scope is broader in many ways as it looks at not only man’s effect on the environment, but also the many philosophical, theological, and cultural causes that threaten the relationships of man to nature and man to each other in various circumstances.

Contribution to the Diocese of Lodwar Flood Emergency Fund via M-Pesa (Safaricom).   1. Select “Pay Bill” from the M-Pesa menu.
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