254_KCCB

SPEECH BY THE CHAIRMAN OF THE KENYA CONFERENCE OF CATHOLIC BISHOPS DURING THE AD LIMINA VISIT TO ROME-APRIL 16TH 2015

1.General Report

Your Holiness, the Pope, our dear Holy Father, Head of the Catholic Church and Successor of the Apostle Peter, and our common father, we are privileged as Bishops from the Kenya Conference of Catholic Bishops to make our obligatory visit, Ad Limina to the tombs of the Apostles Saints Peter and Paul. We are also here to present ourselves to your Holiness in order to report on the state of our Archdioceses and Dioceses as we receive suggestions and counsel from your Holiness, in solidarity with the Universal Church and in support to you as the divinely appointed Head.

We bring to you the greetings of the faithful from our Dioceses in Kenya who promise you their prayers.  We also take this opportunity to thank you for our constant challenge and example in your Petrine Ministry.

This Ad Limina Visit is both important and historical for us as the Church in Kenya as it was about eight years since the last visit in November 2007, when not all of us present here today had been ordained Bishops. It is also a moment that we, the Catholic Bishops in Kenya, take this opportune time to meet with Your Holiness and reflect on the challenges facing the Church in Kenya today.

Your Holiness, evangelization in Kenya is just over a century old. During this period, with its challenges, we have witnessed a tremendous growth in mission and pastoral work. In these last eight years we have witnessed a remarkable increase of parishes.  We have also seen an increase in the number of Christians from very few Christians in the year 1900, to about 14 million baptised Catholics today. This makes about thirty   per cent of the Kenyan population. The number of Dioceses has also grown over the century since the coming of early missionaries. The Catholic Church in Kenya today has four Ecclesiastical/Metropolitan Provinces with four Archdioceses, twenty Dioceses, one Vicariate and one Military Ordinariate.

Further, Your Holiness, the over a hundred years of evangelization in Kenya have inspired great missionary works within our Christians.  Notably, the Church in Kenya has witnessed immense growth in vocations to priestly life and religious life. The Church receives a lot of support from the faithful who are often very ready to offer their children as priests and religious men and women. Our Dioceses have greatly benefitted from the presence of Diocesan Priests, without whom the work of evangelization will not be successful. We also acknowledge the presence of many Religious Congregations, both local and international, whose contribution to the Church in Kenya is enormous. The Church in Kenya has witnessed and facilitated the growth of Fidei Donum priests who are serving the Dioceses which still need primary evangelisation as well as other parts of the world.

Your Holiness, as the Universal Church celebrates the Golden Jubilee of the Second Vatican Council Ad Gentes (1965-2015), the Church in Kenya, in the spirit of collegiality, wishes to report that despite the challenges we are facing as a Country, we have made several milestones towards the implementation of the recommendations of Second Vatican Council. Among the notable achievements are: the steps taken towards institutionalising interreligious dialogue, the participation of the laity in liturgical celebrations and the inculturation process.

2.Challenges in Evangelization 

Your Holiness, among many other challenges facing the Church in Kenya is the rise of religious fundamentalism and terror attacks targeting mainly Christians. The last ten years in Kenya have seen an alarming trend of a rise in radical Islamic groups.

We have witnessed the killing Christians, initially in their places of worship but lately even in public places. The latest attack was the killing of young Christian students in Garissa University College in Northern Kenya, where 148 lost their lives. We, the Bishops of Kenya, appreciate the solidarity shown by the Universal Church in condemning these attacks. We request your continuous prayers for victims and their families and also for our Country. More than ever before, the unity of the Church is very central in protecting the dignity of the human person and the freedom of worship in Kenya.

The Church is further concerned with the sustenance of pastoral work and formation of pastoral agents in the Country. In the wake of globalisation and liberalisation of our society, the need for re-evangelisation through holistic pastoral formation is essential. The Church is grappling with the challenge of forming the lay faithful, the Religious and Clergy amid limited resources. The transition from primary evangelisation to pastoral work and Christian formation, though remarkable, requires your prayers and continued support.

In addition, we are faced with the challenge where secular media condones evil by demeaning the voice of reason. The Conference of Catholic Bishops is tackling this challenge by establishing and strengthening Catholic media in the Country. We believe that with a well-established radio/Television network, the voice of the Church will reach many people.

Finally, the Church in Kenya is concerned about the growing levels of corruption and tribal politics. The Church, in her attempt to restore integrity, has advocated for dialogue and equitable distribution of resources. Bishops representatives have held numerous meetings with the President of the Republic of Kenya and rallied other Christian leaders at various levels.

We are rallying together other Christian leaders around this initiative. Your Holiness, as the voice of conscience, we continue to create room for constant dialogue with elected leaders to ensure social inclusivity in all aspects of governance.

Our dear Holy Father, as we present our report as the Catholic Bishops from Kenya to you, we once more declare our loyalty, obedience and communion to you as the Vicar of Christ and Universal leader of the Church.  We declare our faith as in the Creed of the Apostles, to One Catholic and Apostolic Church. We implore you to pray with the Church in Kenya and especially for the servants of God as we, in communion with the Universal Church, face up to challenges and opposition.

We ask for your prayers for our faithful in Kenya, who, with great eagerness, hope you will visit them.  Your holiness, we also take this opportunity to invite you to come to visit your people as this would be a great boost to their faith in these difficult times.

We also ask that you pray for us as we serve the flock and the Church for the salvation and sanctification for all people.  We assure you of our prayers and filial solidarity as we ask for our apostolic blessings.
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HIS EMINENCE JOHN CARDINAL NJUE
CHAIRMAN, 
KENYA CONFERENCE OF CATHOLIC BISHOPS

April 16th 2015

Current Arch/Bishops

Name Arch/Diocese
His Eminence John Cardinal Njue Archbishop of Nairobi-Chairman, Kenya Conference of Catholic Bishops
Rt. Rev. Philip Anyolo Bishop of Homabay-Vice Chairman and Principal Administrator, Kenya Catholic Secretariat
Most Rev. Zacchaeus Okoth Archbishop of Kisumu
Most Rev. Peter Kairo Archbishop of Nyeri
Most Rev.  Martin Kivuva Musonde Archbishop of Mombasa
Rt. Rev.  Paul Darmanin Bishop of Garissa
Rt. Rev. Cornelius Arap Korir Bishop of Eldoret
Rt. Rev. Alfred Rotich Bishop of the Military Ordinariate
Rt. Rev. Joseph Mairura Okemwa Bishop of Kisii
Rt. Rev. Maurice Crowley Bishop of Kitale
Rt. Rev. Norman Wambua King’oo Bishop of Bungoma
Rt. Rev. Peter Kihara Bishop of Marsabit
Rt. Rev. Anthony Ireri Mukobo Apostolic Vicar of the Apostolic Vicariate of Isiolo
Rt. Rev. David Kamau Ng’ang’a Auxiliary Bishop of Nairobi
Rt. Rev. Virgilio Pante Bishop of Maralal
Rt. Rev. Salesius Mugambi Bishop of Meru
Rt. Rev. Emmanuel Okombo Wandera Bishop of Kericho
Rt. Rev. Anthony Muheria Ngugi Bishop of Kitui and Apostolic
Administrator of Machakos
Rt. Rev. James Maria Wainaina Kung’u Bishop of Muranga
Rt. Rev. Paul Kariuki Njiru Bishop of Embu
Rt. Rev. Maurice Muhatia Makumba Bishop of Nakuru
Rt. Rev.  Dominic Kimengich Bishop of Lodwar
Rt. Rev. Emanuel Barbara Bishop of Malindi
Rt. Rev.  Joseph Ndembu Mbatia Bishop of Nyahururu
Rt. Rev.  John Oballa Owaa Bishop of Ngong
Rt. Rev. Joseph Alessandro Coadjutor Bishop of Garissa
Rt. Rev. Joseph Obanyi Sagwe Bishop of Kakamega

Bishop Emeriti

  1. Most Rev.  Raphael S. Ndingi Mwana’a Nzeki

Archbishop Emeritus of Nairobi

  1. Most Rev.  John Njenga

Archbishop Emeritus of Mombasa

  1. Rt. Rev. Silas Silvius Njiru

Bishop Emeritus of  Meru

  1. Rt. Rev. Cornelius Schilder

Bishop Emeritus of Ngong

  1. Rt. Rev. Linus Okok

Bishop Emeritus of Homabay

  1. Rt. Rev. Colin Cameron Davies, M.H.M.

Bishop Emeritus of Ngong

  1. Rt. Rev. Ambrose Ravasi, I.M.C.    

Bishop Emeritus of Marsabit

  1. Rt. Rev. Philip Sulumeti

Bishop Emeritus of Kakamega

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