Kenyan Catholic Bishop to New Clergy: Promote Family Values as “your official duty”

By Silas Isenjia

Kakamega, 13 March, 2023 (ACI Africa). Published with permission.

The newly ordained Deacons and Priests for the Catholic Diocese of Kakamega in Kenya have been instructed to make the fostering of family values in their “official duty”.

In his March 11 homily during the ordination of seven candidates to Diaconate, and five Deacons to the Priesthood, Bishop Joseph Obanyi Sagwe expressed his solidarity with individuals and groups faulting Kenya’s February 24 Supreme Court ruling to allow the registration of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Queer/Questioning (LGBTQ) and Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs), including members of the Kenya Conference of Catholic Bishops (KCCB), and members of the Kenya Christian Professionals Forum (KCPF), among others.

“Dear candidates for ordination to the Diaconate and Priesthood, it must be your program to promote family values,” Bishop Obanyi said during the event held at Eregi Teachers Training College in Kakamega Diocese, his Episcopal See.

The Kenyan Catholic Bishop urged the candidates he was about to ordain to “teach about the family, protect the family, and accompany our families.”

“Teach about the values of a family; that is your official duty,” Bishop Obanyi emphasized. 

He underscored the need to protect the family and the related values in Kenya, saying that the family is the greatest dignity that God has given to humanity, and that LGBTQ inclinations go against the culture of the African people, which is rooted in the family.

“LGBTQ is from the devil,” the Kenyan Catholic Church leader said, and added, “If these things were there in the African culture, then we would not be having these Deacons here; Let us be promoters of the family.”

He attributed LGBTQ inclinations to foreign influence, and advocated for promoters of family values at the grassroots, especially in Parishes of Kakamega Diocese, in view of protecting the people of God from negative “foreign teachings”.

“Let us reject foreign teachings that are against family life and our culture. Kenya is a God-loving country, and God is not about LGBTQ; God is about human dignity,” said the 56-year-old Kenyan Bishop who has been at the helm of the Kakamega Diocese since his Episcopal Ordination in March 2015.

He said that he finds it regrettable that some individuals and groups seek to promote foreign influences such as LGBTQ in the East African nation on the basis of financial favor.

“If this is about money, let them be with their money, and let’s remain with our poverty,” Bishop Obanyi said.

In his March 11 homily, the Local Ordinary of Kakamega Diocese also spoke about the importance of the office of a Deacon.

He said, “A Deacon is a servant who manifests his duties through serving others, and this is a sign of the Church at service.”

Since the Church presents itself as a servant to the people, every member including the Clergy and the Laity are Deacons, Bishop Obanyi said.

He urged the candidates he was about to ordain Deacons to prioritize service to God and His people by always reaching out to those who are in need, including the sick and the suffering and to identify themselves with the suffering people of God. 

“As a Deacon, you have a ministry, you have a sign to proclaim, you have a life to live. This you can only do through meditating on God’s word and praying,” he said.

Bishop Obanyi continued, “You are given a divine mandate to pray. Pray for the Church; pray for the world, and your country.”

He urged the Deacons he was about to ordain Priests to always lead by example in their Priestly ministry among the people of God who will be under their pastoral care..

Those ordained Priests during the March 11 event included Deacon Stephen Wabuti, Deacon Benjamin Namonywa, Deacon Felix Kalo, Deacon Justus Misango, Deacon Jackson Mandela.

The seven Seminarians who were ordained Deacons included Carlos Tindi, Chrispin Wamalwa, Kenneth Masinde, Emmanuel Musinya, Kevin Onyango, Desterious Augustomay Shikoli, and Kelvin Oduori.

SOURCE ACI Africa. Published with permission.

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