Reflection based on the Homily of Archbishop Martin Kivuva,
Saturday 23rd June 2018, at St Joseph the Worker Parish, Kangemi, Nairobi.

As the day was filled with joy, the parish of St Joseph the Worker, Kangemi, started filling up from the early morning hours. The gathering included people from different corners of Kenya, and moreover from Tanzania, Uganda, the USA, Austria and Germany, who all came to witness 5 Jesuits and 3 Pallottines being ordained to the priesthood by Rt. Rev. Martin Kivuva, the Archbishop of the Archdiocese of Mombasa. Our very own Pallottines were: Rev. Frs. David Kakinda SAC, Ronald Kyomya SAC and Stephen Muli SAC.

His grace Martin, reminding the entire congregation of that day when His Holiness Pope Francis visited the church of Kangemi, revived in people’s hearts the joy and fulfillment that November 27th 2015 brought. But this being another function with a different spiritual experience, in his homily, the prelate reflecting on the call of Jeremiah (1st Reading Jer 1:1,4-10), he invited everyone to meditate on vocation as a gift. It is a gift given to a person, taking in the true nature of the person, his strengths and weaknesses. As God shares that grace of a deep call, He shares too the grace to live the same call and the nurturing of it to fulfil its divine role among God’s people. Jeremiah lamented a lot about the call itself, but he lived well his ministry because ‘God was with him.’ Our families too have a huge role to play in how one responds to that divine whisper in our hearts. Any failure of any family to live it’s commitment of upholding family values, recalling the words of Pope Francis, leads to the dwindling of the priestly vocation and a falling apart of our Christian families.

For the newly ordained priests promoting family values is a way of continuing the divine call and the Church’s mission. They are now becoming elders (2nd Reading, 1Pt 5:1-5) who need to grasp and articulate the needs and challenges of the communities they will be serving. They are to become not only a gift but also exemplary ministers and role models. They are to become people who care as Jesus the Good Shepherd did for his flock.
This will become effective through wearing the shoes of the 72 disciples (the Gospel Reading, Lk 10:1-9) who were sent two by two as representatives of the good Master. The capacity to articulate, relying on the grace of ordination, equips them with beautiful and amazing capacities for taking care of the plentiful harvest. This is where the healing capacities will be seen. We need to heal our societies from corruption, mistrust and wars by being instruments of peace, sharing the values of a just society, influencing good causes. “It all starts with you, it starts from where you are.”

As we all carry a responsibility in the priesthood of the People of God, each one of us has a special mission of praying and assisting the newly ordained priests to live well their vocation. We need to be people who inspire them to grow in priestly values, to continue saying ‘yes’ to their Master and Lord, to fully commit themselves to serve and becoming a gift that continues to have that goodness.

Bishop Martin Kivuva reminded them and each one of us of the four pillars that will continue making us mature in Christian and priestly values: (a)we need to love the sacramental life as we are graced by the reception of the sacraments and animated to pursue true Christian living; (b) we need to love prayer life as it is the oil of our spirituality; (c) we need to live a charitable life by imitating our Saviour as that is our deepest call; and lastly (d) we need to love God’s Word, it nourishes and instills the divine values in us.

Before concluding the Holy Mass, his grace Martin Kivuva read what was good news for the church in Kenya, i.e. that the Holy Father has appointed Bishop Norman King’oo to lead the Machakos Diocese. He has been transferred from Bungoma Diocese to Machakos. Machakos is the Diocese of our newly ordained Pallottine, Fr. Stephen Muli SAC.

Congratulations to you, our newly ordained Pallottines, may the good Lord grant you the grace to live well your call and flourish well in the vineyard of the Lord.

Fr. Emmanuel Msuri, SAC,