Friday, December 4, 2009

Secretary General's Christmas Message

As we conclude the year 2009, we at the Kenya Catholic Secretariat thank God for such a wonderful year. We find enough reasons for celebration.

The Year 2008 was full of turbulence and anxiety following the Post Election crisis that rocked our country. It is in this year also, that our Strategic Plan 2004-2008 ended in December, and therefore, we had to put together a new planning blue print (Strategic Plan 2009-2013, now the KEC-Catholic Secretariat Vision 2013, thanks to the facilitatory and advisory role of His Eminence John Cardinal Njue Chairman, KEC, Archbishops and Bishops, our Chief Administrator Rt. Rev. Philip Sulumeti, the support of our partners and of course the unrelenting efforts of our staff at Kenya Episcopal Conference-Catholic Secretariat.

Our Bishops launched the new Strategic Plan 2009-2013 in February this year. At the same time, we articulated our Vision, Mission Statement, core values and the Strategic roles of our national Secretariat.

As a result, in the last twelve months, we have managed to achieve reasonable levels in our programmatic work. In a special way I recognize and commend our KEC-Commissions and the various offices at the Secretariat for going that extra mile towards the success of our programmes and strategies in general. These include Education and Religious Education Commission, Catholic Justice and Peace Commission, Catholic Health Commission of Kenya, Development and Social Services/Caritas Kenya, Pastoral, Lay Apostolate and Family Life Commission, Social Communications Commission, Finance Commission and Liturgy Commission.

Others are; Commission for Doctrine, Seminary Episcopal Commission, Commission for Missions (PMS), Commission for Religious & Clergy – Liaison Committee, Commission for Ecumenism, Commission for Inter-Religious Dialogue, Commission for Refugees, Migrants & Sea Farers, and the two Non- Commissions: Canon Law National Office; Apostolate to the Nomads (A.N.A).

Our heartfelt gratitude extend to our Arch/Bishops individually and collectively for their immense wisdom and guidance in our work. I commend in a special way His Eminence John Cardinal Njue, Chairman Kenya Episcopal Conference, Rt. Rev. Philip Sulumeti, the Vice Chairman of KEC, and the Chief Administrator of the Catholic Secretariat and the Arch/bishops Chairmen of various KEC Commissions for their availability in providing support to our programmes, and the welfare of our staff and guiding us on our Mission and Mandate.


We appreciate the universality of the Catholic Church and communion with our Holy Father Pope Benedict XVI. The Holy Father is represented in Kenya by His Excellency Archbishop Alain Paul Lebeaupin. We are most obliged to humbly recognize the loving and selfless effort of His Excellency in offering the linkage with the Holy See and personally being present with our Bishops in this journey of faith. We register our sincere gratitude to him.

Our institutions were commendable and continue to thrive including St. Luke’s School of Nursing, Radio Waumini, Ukweli Video, The National Shrine Subukia, our Seminaries, CISRET, Mji Wa Furaha, with the National Shrine continuing to attract thousands of pilgrims each year. Our seminaries, institutions of higher learning, et al and organizations including Religious Superiors Conference of Kenya (RSCK), Association of Sisterhood of Kenya (AOSK), Kenya Diocesan Priests Association among others, offered us beautiful collaboration, a fact that enabled us achieve a lot as laid down in our work plans and strategic direction.

May I take this chance to sincerely recognize the great work and devotion of the immediate/outgoing Chairman of RSCK Fr. Patrick Devine, SMA. He recently, after a successful two terms stint in office passed the mantle to Fr. Adilleta. Fr. Devine was instrumental to the process of establishing very close collaboration between Kenya Episcopal Conference and the men and Women Religious through RSCK and AOSK. This gave a base to a very efficient Liaison Committee currently Chaired by Bishop David Kamau and deputized by Bishop Patrick Harrington. This Liaison Committee whose National Secretary is Sr. Tecla Chepng’eno has worked towards closer collaboration which has born fruits of good mutual relations. We commend Fr. Devine and the peace initiatives he is undertaking through Shalom Centre for Conflict Resolution and Reconciliation.

I am grateful for the financial and morale support of our partners, among others the Apostolic Nunciature, Catholic Relief Services (CRS) Misereor, Missio (Munich), United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB), CAFOD, Trocaire and the Kenyan Government. Several organizations partnered with KEC-Catholic Secretariat and we may not exhaust the list.

It is important to specifically mention the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) signed mid this year between the Kenya Episcopal Conference-Catholic Secretariat and the Catholic Relief Services that will see both institutions enhance closer working relations. We are grateful for the support received from the past and present leadership of CRS in Kenya. Once more, as I congratulate and welcome Pulickal Mathai Jose, the new Country Representative (CRS), may I wish the immediate former representative, Ken MacLean, all the best in his new endeavours.

At the same time, Kenya Episcopal Conference, together with the Supreme Council of Muslims in Kenya (SUPKEM) and Christian Health Association of Kenya (CHAK), signed another MoU with the Kenya Government through the Ministries of Public health/Sanitation and Medical Services. Through this MoU the Government will collaboratively supplement efforts of our mission health facilities, adding value in our health services delivery to the public.

In addition, we have been working with our brothers and sisters from other faiths in the spirit of ecumenism and inter-religious dialogue, among others NCCK, and the Ufungamano Joint Forum of Religious Leaders which brings together all Faiths as stakeholders.

Year 2009 also witnessed historic moments, including the appointment and ordination of Bishop James Maria Wainaina Kung’u of Murang’a, and Bishop Paul Kariuki Njiru of Embu. We thank God for the gift of these two shepherds and offer them our prayerful best wishes. However, we also lost Bishop Francis Baldacchino of Malindi, who passed away while receiving medical attention in Malta, his place of birth, where he was also buried. May God rest his soul in Peace!

It is during this year that the universal church held the 2nd Special Assembly for Africa of the Synod of Bishops in Rome from 4th to 25th October 2009 under the theme: “The church in Africa in service to reconciliation, justice and peace: “you are the salt of the earth, you are the light of the world (Mt 5:13, 14)”. Kenya Episcopal Conference was represented by His Eminence John Cardinal Njue, who is the chairman of Kenya Episcopal Conference (KEC), Most Rev. Zacchaeus Okoth of Kisumu, Most Rev. Boniface Lele of Mombasa, Most Rev. Peter Kairo of Nyeri, Rt. Rev. Martin Kivuva of Machakos and Rt. Rev. Philip Sulumeti of Kakamega, who is also the Vice Chairman of KEC. This delegation to Rome was supported and facilitated by a four member technical team including Fr. Vincent Wambugu (Secretary General, KEC), Mrs. Jane Marine, the National Executive Secretary for the Catholic justice and peace Commission, Fr. Martin Wanyoike the National Executive Secretary (Social Communications) and Fr. Paulino Mondo (Theologian).

As we await the fruits of the synod through the Exhortation of the Holy Father Benedict XVI, it is important that we heed his message at the conclusion of the Synod: “Get on your feet Africa!” This message, together with the message of the Synod Fathers to the people of God could not have come at a more crucial time for Kenya than now. We are grappling with various topical issues including environmental conservation, issues threatening the institution of the family, human rights, and above all, efforts to get a new constitution as key in the reform agenda.

On the new constitution, may I implore all Kenyans to make their contribution; by first of all, reading the harmonized draft Constitution, and those who can, let them assist others in understanding this essential draft to do so, in order to make informed choices.

As the window of opportunity for the public debate on the same goes on, I urge every Kenyan to actively and constructively participate.

As we welcome the year 2010, we, at the secretariat are full of hope. Our role as the Catholic Secretariat is clearer than ever, guided by our Vision, and Mission, Core Values and the Strategic Plan 2009-2013. We have our harmonized 2010 work plans ready, and a common calendar of events in place. We look forward to enhanced cooperation within and without the secretariat in the new year.

It is now my deepest joy to send most cordial Christmas greetings to His Excellency Archbishop Alain Paul Lebeaupin, Apostolic Nuncio; His Eminence John Cardinal Njue, Chairman KEC; our Chief Administrator, Rt. Rev. Philip Sulumeti; All our Archbishops and Bishops, our clergy, Men and Women Religious, all Christ’s faithful and all people of good will. In a special way, we extend our Christmas greetings to all our staff at the KEC-Catholic Secretariat and all KEC Institutions.

To all of you, may you have a joy filled Christmas season and a prosperous new Year 2010.



--------------------------------------------
Very Rev. Fr. Vincent Wambugu
SECRETARY GENERAL
KENYA EPISCOPAL CONFERENCE

December 2009

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Friday, November 27, 2009

Fr. McGarry's Burial This Saturday

The late Fr. Cecil McGarry, a renowned Theologian and scholar will be laid to rest on Saturday November 28, 2009 at the Jesuit Cemetery of Pedro Arrupe Jesuit Community in Nairobi, after viewing the body and celebrating the Requiem Mass at St. John the Evangelist parish.

The missionary with the Society of Jesus (popularly known as Jesuits) died on Tuesday night, 24, November, 2009, after suffering from prostrate cancer.

Fr. McGarry, who clocked 80 years in January this year, is well known for his vast knowledge in Theology as well as his immense contribution in pre- and post first African Synod.

He had taught, mentored and administered in various institutions of learning during his priestly ministry.

Born on January 1, 1929, in Ireland, the late Fr. McGarry joined the Jesuit Novitiate in 1946, where he was ordained priest in 1964.

He graduated with a doctorate in Theology form the Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome, and was appointed as the Rector of Minntown Park Institute in Dublin, Ireland.

In 1968, he became the Provincial of Ireland for his congregation of Society of Jesus.

In 1984, the late was among the founding staff of the Jesuits Hekima Theological College (Pictured above), where he served as the Dean of studies and a professor, until 1994, where he took over as the Rector of th Institution, a post he held till 1998.

The following year, Fr. McGarry moved to Mwangaza Spiritual Centre (Pedro Arrupe Jesuit Community), where he lived and worked until his death.

May God Rest His Soul In Peace!

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Thursday, November 19, 2009

Archbishop Okoth: "Debate Draft Constitution exhaustively"

The Catholic Church, through its Catholic Justice and Peace Commission (CJPC) will undertake a countrywide civic education on the Harmonised Draft Constitution of November 2009.

During a Catholic Media Houses’ press briefing on November 18, 2009, a day after the Harmonized draft was released for public debate, the Bishop Chairman for the CJPC, Archbishop Zacchaeus Okoth said this was to enable Kenyans make informed choices.

“Justice and Peace Commission is committed to continuing to engage the Catholic Bishops, Clergy Religious, Laity, Dioceses, Deaneries, Parishes and Small Christian Communities in this process of Constitution making. We want a document that will establish an order based on truth, freedom, justice and the Common good of all Kenyans,” he said in his statement.

The Archbishop of Kisumu termed the window opportunity granted for the public to debate the draft as ‘too short’.
According to the time frame given by the committee of experts, the debate on the document is to go on for 30 days, beginning from the moment the draft was released to the public on November 17, 2009, after which the Committee of experts will take 21 days to put together the issues raised from the debate, before submitting the same to the August house for Parliamentary debate.

“Because of the timeframe, we shall do what we can within the capability of CJPC,” said Archbishop Okoth, “we want the debate on this harmonized draft constitution to go on exhaustively.”

The Archbishop said the Bishops conference would be meeting soon to ‘understand the draft better’, and only after then will the bishops give their common input on the document.

Terming the time for new constitution as ‘Now’, Archbishop Okoth urged for sober discussion on the document. “Let us have a constitution that will serve us and the future generations,” he said.

On the public debate he said: “The ball is now in our court as citizens and we urge all Christians to engage with process. We should read the document, discuss and share it. By knowing what is in the document we empower ourselves to make enlightened decisions. We should also take up the responsibility of empowering others to make informed choices.”

“We want a document that will establish an order based on truth, freedom, justice and the Common good of all Kenyans.”

He applauded the efforts by the committee of experts ‘to ensure that we are informed and can participate in the process of constitution making.

“It is a positive sign that brings us closer to the dream of a new constitutional dispensation for Kenya. We would also like to take this opportunity to appreciate the Committee of Experts and their efforts,” he said.

Despite what Nzamba Kitonga, the chairperson of Committee of Experts that was made up of experts from within and without Kenya termed as ‘numerous challenges’ during the launch of the Harmonized Draft Constitution at the Kenya International Conference Centre (KICC) on November 17, 2009, it took 9 laborious months to come up with the document.

The draft was published through the media on November 18, 2009, and is currently within the public domain for debate.

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Wednesday, November 18, 2009

St. Thomas Aquinas Seminary Mourns its Dean

St. Thomas Aquinas Major Seminary lost its Dean of studies, following the death of Fr. Francis Ngoci, A.J.

The fully professed member of the Religious Missionary Institute of the Apostles of Jesus passed away on November 15, 2009 at the institution, from what was described as kidney problems which he developed back in 1999 while ministering in the Archdiocese of Nyeri.

Born on October 6, 1952 in Kipio Village, Gatanga, Murang’a District to Mr. Isaac Ngugi Karanja and Mrs Rahab Wairimu, the late, after finishing his elementary education, joined Apostles of Jesus Minor Seminary in Moroto, Uganda in 1977 to prepare for postulancy and his Novitiate, where he also undertook his philosophical and theology studies. He later joined Catholic Higher Insitute of Eastern Africa (Now Catholic University of Eastern Africa, CUEA) in 1988, where he graduated with masters degree in Sacred theology, Canon law.

He took his first vows in 1979, while his final profession was on August 22, 1985, and a year later, he was ordained priest by Bishop Sisto Mazzoldi, Mccj, co-founder of the Apostles of Jesus Congregation.

In his Priesthood, the late had ministered various capacities in parishes and church institutions in the Archdiocese of Nairobi, Nyeri and Diocese of Bungoma, including Ikinu and Lioki parishes (Nairobi); Apostles of Jesus Theologicum (Nairobi) as Rector, Dean of studies and a teacher; Dean of studies at St. Augustine’s Mabanga National Philosophicum (Seminary) – Bungoma, among others.

His latest ministry was at St. Thomas Aquinas National Major Seminary, as a teacher and Dean of studies.

The late will be laid to rest at St. Austin’s Msongari Cemetery, after a requiem Mass on Thursday, November 19, 2009, at the Sacred Heart Shrine, Langata, Nairobi, at 10.00am.

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Thursday, November 12, 2009

BISHOPS: Kenya Needs New Constitution

The current Kenyan constitution is not serving the common person’s interests, and hence, there is urgency in putting up a new one.

Kenya Episcopal conference bishops who met in Nairobi on November 10-11, 2009, to familiarize themselves with the new constitution draft document, which is expected to be published in few days’ time, also said that the current constitution is hindering transparency and accountability of the political leadership to the public.

The Bishops had met with the Constitutional experts to understand more the contents of the said draft.

At the same sitting, the Kenya’s Bishop’s delegation that represented the country during the just concluded Second Synod for Africa in the Vatican, updated the Ordinaries of the deliberations of the synod.

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Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Constitution for Anglican 'Catholics' Published


His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI has issued an Apostolic Constitution on the establishment of the Personal Ordinariates for the Anglicans wishing to join the Catholic church.

The Constitution, Anglicanorum Coetibus, which was published on November 9, 2009, introduces a canonical structure that provides for the corporate reunion by establishing Personal Ordinariates, which will allow the Anglican groups to enter full communion with the Catholic Church while preserving elements of distinctive Anglican Spiritual and liturgical patrimony.

According to a press release from the Apostolic Nunciature in Kenya, also published by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith is publishing a set of complementary Norms which will guide the implementation of the new provision responding to the many requests that have been submitted to the Holy See from groups of Anglican clergy and faithful in different parts of the world wishing to join the Catholic Church, that was announced by Cardinal William Levada, Prefect of the congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, on October 20, 2009.

The Constitution opens a new avenue for the promotion of Christian unity while, at the same time, granting legitimate diversity in the expression of our common faith, affirmed the statement, adding that the provision of this new structure is consistent with the commitment to ecumenical dialogue, which continues to be a priority for the Catholic Church.

However, the Apostolic Constitution does not change or alter the church law on celibacy for Catholic priests

“The possibility envisioned by the Apostolic Constitution for some married clergy within the personal Ordinariates does not signify any change in the Church’s discipline of clerical celibacy,” stated the Holy father's press statement.

According to the Second Vatican Council, priestly celibacy is a sign and a stimulus for the pastoral charity and radiantly proclaims the reign of God (Cf. Catechism of the Catholic Church, 1579)

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Monday, November 9, 2009

Malindi Diocese gets an Apostolic Administrator

Pope Benedict XVI has appointed his Lordship, Rt. Rev. Paul Darmanin (pictured, left), as the Apostolic Administrator of the Diocese of Malindi.

According to a communiqué dated November 3, 2009, and signed by Monsignor janusz Urbancysk, the Charge d’ Affaires at the Apostolic Nunciature in Kenya, Bishop Darmanin will administrate the diocese till new bishop is appointed and installed.

The communiqué read: “I have the honour to forward to you the original Decree sent by the congregation for the Evangelisation of peoples, by which your Lordship is appointed the Apostolic Administrator of the vacant See of Malindi up to the date of installation of the new Bishop.”

The seat was left vacant following the death of Bishop Francis Baldacchino, on October 10, 2009, while undergoing medical treatment in Malta, his country of Birth, where he was buried on October 14, 2009.

Bishop Darmanin is the Bishop of Diocese of Garissa.


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Monday, October 26, 2009

Synod's Kenyan Delegation visits with Kenyans in Rome

Kenyan delegation to the just concluded Second Synod for Africa, led by Cardinal John Njue had the opportunity to meet with the Kenyan community living in Rome.

At a dinner hosted on Saturday evening by Her Excellency Anne Belinda Nyikuli, Kenyan Ambassador to Italy at her residence in EUR, Cardinal Njue appreciated the good work done by the Ambassador and her staff in Italy and for the hospitality accorded the Kenyan delegation during the Synod.

Welcoming the delegation to her residence, her Excellency the Ambassador thanked and praised the catholic leadership in Kenya and prayed for more guidance in their leadership for the people in our country.

On Sunday after the formal closure of the Synod, the Cardinal led the Kenyan delegates to meet over 100 Priests, Religious men and women and laity at St. Peter’s College.

Fr. Jack Wainaina, chairman of the group, thanked the bishops for their time and prayers for the students and people who live and work in Rome. He said that though we may not be endowed with many things, as Africans and as Kenyan, we are rich in faith and humanity.

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Second Synod for Africa concludes

“Courage, Get up African continent, the land that welcomed the Saviour when as a child he had to take refuge with Joseph and Mary in Egypt!”

These were the words spoken by His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI at the Vatican in Rome as he concluded the II Special Assembly for Africa of the Synod of Bishops.

Accompanied by Cardinal Francis Arinze, Cardinal Wilfrid Fox Napier of South Africa and newly appointed President of the Pontifical Council for justice and Peace Cardinal John Turkson, together with all the Synod delegates, the Holy Father concluded the special assembly sending the pastors back to their flock in Africa with a message of hope.

Echoing the words of the Gospel about the cure of the blind man Bartimeus by Jesus, he said Africa had suffered for too long from the slavery of famine and diseases. “It is time to arise and to walk in the light that Christ provides,” he said.

He Termed the synod as carrying a message of hope for Africa, hoping that the deliberations and the outcome would achieve true reconciliation, justice, and that agents of evangelization would be true salt of the earth and light of the world.

The colourful liturgy that was animated by choirs from Nigerian and Ethiopian, among others, concluded three weeks of intense deliberation, culminating with a release of a message by the Synod fathers, which urged Africans to rise from the times when Africa was described as ‘a dark continent to a new dawn where it must be a continent of light and hope’.

With the celebration, the synod fathers return to their respective countries and dioceses. A council of 15 people that was elected towards the end of the synod, together with the Synod secretariat will work on the final product of the synod for the Holy Father to exalt later.

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Sunday, October 25, 2009

Africa's Special council named

Cardinal John Njue, Archbishop of Nairobi, and the president of the Kenya Episcopal conference, is among 15 members of the Special Council for Africa of the General Secretariat of the Synod of Bishops.

Archbishop Nikola Eterovic, Secretary-General of the Synod of Bishops, revealed the names of the council members of which, 12 were elected by the Assembly for Africa of the synod, while His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI appointed three.

The other member members are:

  • Cardinal Wilfred Fox Napier, archbishop of Durban, South Africa;
  • Cardinal Francis Arinze, retired prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Sacraments;
  • Cardinal Peter Kodwo Appiah Turkson, archbishop of Cape Coast, Ghana, president of the Association of Episcopal Conferences of Western Africa;
  • Cardinal Theodore-Adrien Sarr, archbishop of Dakar, Senegal, first vice president of the Symposium of Episcopal Conferences of Africa and Madagascar;
  • Archbishop Laurent Monsengwo Pasinya of Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of Congo;
  • Archbishop Norbert Wendelin Mtega of Songea, Tanzania;
  • Archbishop John Olorunfemi Onaiyekan of Abuja, Nigeria;
  • Archbishop Simon Ntamwana of Gitega, Burundi, president of the Association of Episcopal Conferences for Central Africa;
  • Archbishop Cornelius Fontem Esua of Bamenda, Cameroon;
  • Archbishop Odon Marie Arsene Razanakolona of Antananarivo, Madagascar;
  • Bishop Youssef Ibrahim Sarraf of Le Caire of the Chaldeans, Egypt;
  • Bishop Maroun Elias Lahham of Tunis, Tunis;
  • Bishop Edmond Djitangar of Sarh, Chad;
  • Bishop Francisco Joao Silota M. Afr. of Chimoio, Mozambique, second vice president of the Symposium of Episcopal Conferences of Africa and Madagascar.
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    Vatican: Ghana's Cardinal Turkson gets top post

    Peter Kodwo Appiah Cardinal Turkson, Archbishop of Cape Coast, Ghana has been appointed by Pope Benedict XVI as President of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace. He succeeds Cardinal Renato Raffaele Martino, who goes on retirement.

    The Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace promotes justice and peace in the world in accordance with the Gospel and the social teaching of the Catholic Church.

    The announcement of Cardinal Turkson’s appointment was made on Saturday, October 24, by Rev. Fr. Federico Lombardi, Director of the Vatican Press Office during a Press Conference when Cardinal Turkson was about to present the propositions of the Synod of Africa to journalists accredited to the Holy See’s Press Office, in Rome.

    Cardinal Turskon told the journalists that he accepts the appointment with all humility and thanked the Holy Father for having offered him the opportunity to serve the Church in this capacity.

    The new President of the Justice and Peace Council was born on 11th October 1948 in Ghana. He was ordained a Priest on July 20, 1975. In 1992 he was appointed Archbishop of Cape Coast. The late Pope John Paul II made him a Cardinal on October 21, 2003. He took part in the April 2005 Conclave that saw the election of the present Pope- Benedict XVI.

    With this appointment Cardinal Turkson will have to move to the Vatican.

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    Friday, October 23, 2009

    Synod for Africa nears conclusion

    With just a few hours to the conclusion of the II Special Assembly for Africa of the Synod of Bishops, the delegates have released a message to the PEOPLE OF GOD prior to the final document to be read and voted for tomorrow morning in the Synod hall.

    In their detailed message covering areas that featured iduring the three-weeks Synod, the delegates have reiterated their call for true healing., justice, peace and reconciliation in Africa, calling it "no longer a ‘dark’ continent but a continent of hope'.

    The statement was presented to the international press at the Vatican by Archbishop John Olorunfemi Onaiyekan, Archbishop of Abuja Nigeria, bishop Youssef Ibrahim Sarraf Caldean bishop of Egypt and bishop Francisco Joao Silota of Chimoio, Mozambique together with Fr. Federico Lombardi, head of the Vatican Press office.

    The messages contains 7 distinct parts.

    Acknowledging that Africa forms part of the global Church, the message urges the global church to continue its solidarity with Africa, all as members of the Family of God.

    The message challenges the African bishops to prioritize on issues of reconciliation, justice and peace and making them a pastoral agenda of each diocese.

    Terming the priests as necessary and close collaborators of the bishops, the Synod Fathers have urged them in this year dedicated to them to renew their commitments and be true signs of reconciliation and peace by harmoniously living together regardless of their tribal differences.

    To the public leaders, the Synod encourages them to participate in church work through promoting common good even while in those public offices.

    The synod fathers have also described the Christian families, Catholic Women, Catholic Men, youth and Children as agents of evangelization.

    On HIV/AIDS, the Bishops, through the 'Synodal' message, highlight how the church has been involved in this ministry with love and care and applauds many people who take care of the infected and the affected in our land.

    Stating that it is now time for Africa to rise up, the message recognizes the efforts to liberate Africa of any kind of bondage or alienation. It however regrets sad crises in Somalia and the Great Lakes region.

    The Synod fathers have also expressed great concern on the poor leadership in Africa that has led to destruction of our environment, arms dealing, human and drug trafficking, among other evils bedeviling Africa, calamities that have led to immense poverty, misery and diseases; influx of internally and externally displaced persons, brain-drain to the developed world, wars and bloodshed, et cetera.

    In total, the Synod fathers' message has 43 points and ends with a prayer

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    Thursday, October 22, 2009

    Comboni Missionaries elect new superior

    Fr. Rodrigue Enrique Sanchez was last evening elected the new superior general of the Comboni Missionaries replacing Fr. Terresino Serra who has served in that same capacity since 2003.

    During the ongoing chapter of the congregation taking place at the Generate in EUR, Rome, Fr Rodrigue was elected by the delegates to head the over 1700 member-strong congregation that is spread in all continents of the world.

    Until his appointment, Fr. Rodrigue was working as head of Costa Rica and Guatemala in Latin America.

    Born in 1958 in Mexico, Fr Enrique has worked in Chad, and has lectured in Peru. His term takes effect immediately and will run for six years.

    The Congregation started by St. Daniel Comboni in 1867 has strong roots in Africa for which it was founded under the founders motto 'AFRICA OR DEATH'

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    Wednesday, October 21, 2009

    Bishops' Solidarity with the suffering in great lakes

    As the Second Special Assembly for Africa of the Synod of Bishops draws to its close, issues that prompted the convocation of the Synod still continue to affect the church in the region.

    This was demonstrated when the Synod Fathers together with the Holy Father sent a message of solidarity to the Bishops of the Great Lakes region and expressed sorrow at the persistent wars in the region and the great suffering of the people there. The Synod Fathers expressed their great concerns over the plight of the child-soldiers, orphans and refugees in general.

    In their letter, the fathers hoped that at the intercessions of the African saints, Africa would once again experience a lasting peace and that justice would come in those areas and that hearts might be open to the grace of reconciliation with God and neighbour.

    The letter was sent to the Episcopal Conferences of Sudan, Uganda, Chad, DRC and the Central African Republic.

    Meanwhile, the Synod Fathers are making the final touches to the document that will finally be presented to the Synod Secretariat for Holy Father to finally adopt and later exalt.

    The Synod ends on Sunday October 25, 2009.

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    Pope opens door for Anglican fraternity


    Pope Benedict XVI has given a nod to the realization of a full communion with the Anglican Church by accepting an Apostolic Constitution that allows for Anglicans to easily become Catholics.

    In a statement released on Tuesday Oct. 20, 2009 by Cardinal William Joseph Levanda, President of the Congregation for the Doctrine of Faith in the Vatican, (formerly headed by the then Cardinal Ratzinger, now Pope Benedict XVI) many groups of the Anglican clergy and faithful have written to the Holy See, requesting to enter into full visible communion with the Catholic Church.

    Cardinal Levanda said that the Catholic Church in the forthcoming document provides for the ordination of married former Anglican clergy as Catholic priests. However, the Cardinal clarified that historical and ecumenical reasons precluded the ordination of married men as bishops.

    The document that is yet to be released to the public is said to seek to balance ‘on one hand the concern to preserve the worthy Anglican liturgical and spiritual patrimony and, on the other hand, the concern that these groups and their clergy will be integrated into the Catholic Church’.

    The Cardinal however, clarified that ‘the unity of the church does not require a uniformity that ignores cultural diversity…’

    He said that in the Constitution that is now in the final phase, contains proposals to form Personal Ordinaries (dioceses) with structures similar to that of the Military Ordinariates to take care of the brethren who formerly were of the Anglican faith and have since joined the Catholic Church.

    In a statement jointly released in London to coincide with the announcement in Rome by Archbishop Vincent Gerald Nichols of Westminister and Dr. Rowan William, archbishop of Cantebury, the two Anglican leaders, confirmed the announcement and said the announcement brought to an end a period of uncertainty for groups that had requested to enter into full communion with the catholic church. The two leaders went on to appreciate dialogue that has gone on for over 40 years between the Catholic church on one hand and the Anglican on the other.

    History
    The schism (split) that led to formation of Anglican church (church of England) away from mother Catholic Church came in the sixteenth century when King Henry VIII declared the Church of England independent of Papal authority. However, it was only in the mid-nineteenth century that the interest to enter into dialogue developed.

    In 1982, the Anglican Diocese of Amritsar of India and some parishes in the United States maintained the Anglican identity but entered into the Catholic Church under some guidelines approved by Pope John Paul II.

    This latest development does not however change the Catholic opposition to ordination of women or the ordination of gay priests.

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    Malindi Diocese celebrates life of their late Bishop

    Following the death of Rt. Rev. Francis Baldacchino, the Bishop of Malindi and the subsequent burial in Malta, His Lordship Philip Anyolo, the acting Chairman of Kenya Episcopal Conference, presided over Holy Mass at the newly renovated Cathedral of Malindi on Sunday 18 October, 2009.

    The solemn Holy Mass was attended by a large number of the faithful of the diocese who, since they didn’t have the opportunity to go to Malta,(where the late was buried on October 14, 2009) came to celebrate the life of the late Bishop Baldacchino.

    The liturgy was organized very well. At the end of the Mass there was a great joy as the sadness that had clouded the faithful was lifted up. It was for them like the funeral Mass they never attended and at the end of it all they commended their late Bishop into the Hands of the Lord.

    On behalf of all the bishops in Kenya, Bishop Anyolo, who was accompanied by Fr. Dominic Kimengich, the acting Secretary General Kenya Episcopal Conference, encouraged the faithful to be firm in their faith and to cherish the time the late Bishop shared with them as their shepherd.

    “The motto of Bishop Baldacchino was: they may be closer together and therefore it becomes an incentive for them to remain united as one family of Christ,” he said.

    He exhorted the clergy, the faithful and the religious in the diocese to continue the good work that Bishop Baldaccchino had left behind.

    “Also, pray so that the Good Shepherd, Jesus Christ, may give you another shepherd when the time comes who will carry on with the mission of the Church in the Diocese of Malindi,” said Bishop Anyolo.

    The faithful of Malindi are now anxiously waiting for the shepherd who will be their administrator during this time of “Sede Vacante”, since even the office of the Vicar General ceased with the death of the Bishop.

    Bishop Anyolo assured them that the Church will take care of that concern as soon as possible.

    The late Bishop Baldacchino is well remembered for many spiritual, pastoral and social development developments he initiated, since he became the Shepherd of the newly established diocese of Malindi in 2000.

    From the seven parishes that were there when he took over as the Bishop of Malindi, now there are seventeen parishes that make up the diocese. From the one local clergy that was there, now there are ten diocesan priests together with missionary priests ministering in the diocese.

    A very modern pastoral center and the diocesan secretariat bear testimony to the legacy of a hard working bishop that had great vision for the diocese of Malindi.

    Vicar General Rev. Fr. Albert Buijs, Fr. Ambrose Muli and Fr. Peter Karanja, the assistant Parish priest of the Cathedral have continued to work tirelessly to ensure normalcy of things following the untimely death of the Bishop.

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    Monday, October 19, 2009

    Pope Benedict marks World Mission Sunday

    The Church exists to proclaim the message of hope to all of humanity, His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI said on World Mission Sunday October 18, 2009, at St Peter's Square, Vatican, after leading pilgrims in the Angelus prayer.

    The Holy Father called on the Church through-out the month of October to rediscover her mission and led by the Holy Spirit to continue proclaiming a message of justice, peace and joy to all.

    In the church calendar, October is dedicated as the month of missionary outreach/work.

    The pontiff paid tribute to agents of evangelization who have given their lives to the missionary work but continually face hardships, even persecutions.

    He said he is looking forward to the outcome of the Synod of Bishops for Africa being held in Vatican, terming the emerging issues so far discussed as a manifestation of extreme sacrifice and love for Christ and His Church.

    The Holy Father, who has been attending the proceedings of the meeting, called on the visiting pilgrims to join in special prayer for the Synod and Synod Fathers.

    Meanwhile, the Synod entered its third and final week today. The Holy Father is scheduled to celebrate the concluding mass of the Synod on Sunday 25th October at the St Peter's Basilica in Rome.

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    KEC-CS Press Statement: Religious Dress in Catholic Schools

    "On 13th August 2009, His Eminence John cardinal Njue, Chairman of the Kenya Episcopal Conference and all the Catholic Bishops in Kenya wrote a letter to all Catholic public Sponsored and private schools informing them that the issues of HIJAB in schools needs consultation. Consequently, they asked that the STATUS QUO – BEFORE the issuance of the circular from the ministry of education – BE MAINTAINED in these schools until an agreement is reached amicably. Thus, they instructed that the code of dressing, as per the admission requirements be adhered to in all Catholic schools.

    "Earlier Rt. Rev. Maurice Crowley, Bishop Chairman, Kenya Episcopal Conference Commission for Education and Religious Education, had written a letter dated July 15th, 2009 to the permanent secretary, ministry of Education, questioning the directive that the permanent secretary had issued regarding religious dressing on July 14th, 2009 and called for dialogue and consultation before implementation. He also recommended strongly that the directive and implementation be withdrawn.

    "The need for consultation and dialogue arises from the fact the Catholic Church has her own religious traditions, discipline and philosophy of education that is cherished and held in all catholic schools. This is what has made Catholic schools what they are. For that reason, the Church has to be involved in any decision that might affect her directly or indirectly. In addition the directive was issued without taking into consideration the views and concerns of the Catholic Church and other Christian churches.

    "It is a well known fact that Catholic schools all over the country are open to all children regardless of their social status or religious affiliation. This is why the Church is careful to maintain a certain degree of uniformity in her schools for the good and interest of all as she endeavours to build one people and one nation.

    "Therefore, the recognition of any religious emblem is and should be subject to consultation with sponsors of the respective schools. Otherwise, it means that the sponsor’s role is no longer recognized by the ministry of Education and this is against the 1968 Education ACT (Revised 1980) which has not been repealed. In this matter of the religious dressing, therefore, the Catholic Church is requesting that her rights and concerns be respected and the issue be subjected to consultation and dialogue by all stakeholders in education with the aim of reaching an amicable agreement.

    "We wish to point out that any concern as to why the Catholic Church has not implemented the circular of the permanent Secretary – Ministry of Education – in her public sponsored and private schools should only be addressed to the chairman of Kenya Episcopal Conference and not the heads of the respective institutions.

    "In conclusion, we pray that this matter of the Hijab he handled with reason and respect, avoiding confrontation and threats, for harmonious co-existence – taking into account that our children are about to sit for the National and end of the year examinations."

    Signed

    Rt. Rev. Phillip Anyolo
    Ag. Chairman; Kenya Episcopal Conference
    17th October, 2009


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    Friday, October 16, 2009

    ‘Sudan conflict due to Inequality’

    The people of Sudan are yearning for lasting peace, Cardinal Gabriel Zubeir Wako, archbishop of Khartoum has told the Synod of Bishops in Rome.

    In his presentation, Cardinal Wako said that Africa now needed courage, to realize all the dreams that the continent has, among them the search for peace.

    “The problem between South and North Sudan was a problem ranging from inequalities in development between North and South to inequalities of opportunities accorded to the people of the two portions of the country by the central government,” said the Cardinal, adding that religious and racial differences did not mitigate the situation in the country.

    The cardinal lamented the isolation of Sudan by the international community and by NGOs saying that those left to suffer were the population. He criticised those who have taken sides in the conflict subjecting the weak to even greater suffering.

    On the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) that was signed in 2005 in Nairobi, Kenya, Cardinal Wako said that though conflict had ended, the country still experienced great uncertainty with a very delicate peace in the Sudan.

    He prayed that the ongoing Synod of bishops ‘would draw a genuine road map for the salvation of Africa.

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    Comboni Missionary dies in Juba, Sudan

    Comboni Missionaries are mourning loss of one of their missionaries in Sudan, following a fatal road accident.

    Fr. Giovanni Fenzi died early on Thursday morning Oct. 16, 2009, after being involved in a road accident near Southern Sudan Capital, JUBA.

    According to Fr. Paulino Mondo Twesigye, the Deputy Provincial of the Comboni Missionaries in Kenya, Fr. Giovanni was traveling from the airport where he had accompanied a colleague, Fr. Guiseppe Ciannini, who was travelling to Nairobi.

    Fr. Fenzi was alone on his way back from the airport after dropping Fr. Ciannini at the airport, when the accident occurred at around 2am in the morning.

    Fr. Giovanni Antonini, who had worked with the deceased in Sudan, and is currently based at the Comboni Missionaries New people Media centre in Nairobi, described the late as very dedicated in his pastoral work among the people on Nuba hills in Sudan, where he ministered most of his priestly life.

    Born in 1946 in Italy, Fr. Giovanni Fenzi was ordained to priesthood in 1974, and went to work among the Nuba people in 1976 in the diocese of Elobeyd.

    “He was fond of a transistor Radio which he carried most of the time, until one time, the Sudanese government forces fighting the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM) suspected him of using the same (which they mistook for a phone) to contact SPLM rebels,” Fr. Antonini told CANAnews.

    This led to him being expelled from the country in 1990, which, he later returned to and continued with his missionary work.

    Until his death, Fr. Fenzi had been working at the Comboni Procure in Juba.

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    Church sends goodwill message to Hindu community


    The president of the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue Cardinal Jean-Louis Tauran has sent a message of goodwill to the Hindu community on the occasion of feast of DIWALI to be marked this weekend.

    In his message, Cardinal Tauran prayed that the festival of lights (Diwali) would strengthen fellowship among all faiths and bring blessings of happiness and peace to all.

    In line with the traditions of the church council, the Cardinal proposed a common reflection on the need to work together for integral human development which he defined as ‘advance towards the true good of every individual, community and society, in every single dimension of human life: social, economic, political, intellectual, spiritual and religious’.

    “The respect for others implies recognition of their freedom; freedom of conscience, of thought and of religion,” said the Cardinal.

    He further prayed that all people of goodwill would join together and dispel any hindrance to a true vision of co-existence, religious harmony and integral development for each and every person.

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    Archbishop Celli: Promote church communications in Africa

    The president of the Pontifical Council for Social Communications Archbishop Claudio Maria Celli wants the bishops of Africa to support and encourage church communications in the continent.

    Speaking to the delegates attending the ongoing Synod of Bishops for Africa, Archbishop Celli appreciated the growth that the catholic communication has experience since the last synod of bishops in 1994.

    The archbishop said today, Africa has over 160 catholic radio stations broadcasting in 32 countries as opposed to only 15 in 1994, when the last synod for Africa was held.

    However, to enhance better communication in the African church, Archbishop Celli has asked for the synod fathers to invest more in training communicators and support the creation of associations of Catholic communicators.

    “Time has come for the fast growing media culture to be evangelized and to enter into dialogue with those in the ministry,” he said.

    Archbishop Celli addressed the synod of bishops as the gathering entered the crucial phase of group works in readiness for the unification of the propositions by the general secretariat next week.

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    Thursday, October 15, 2009

    Cardinal Njue: Reconciliation a must for Kenya


    Reconciliation in Kenya has not been easy, but it is a path that we must all walk and as a church encourage people to take.

    This was said to day by Cardinal John Njue during an international press conference at the Vatican during the ongoing Synod of Bishops for Africa, who also chairs the important information committee of the ongoing Synod

    Flanked by Cardinal Napier of South Africa and the popes spokesman, Fr. Federico Lombardi, Cardinal Njue recounted the experience Kenya went through after the 2007 elections terming it as having been a difficult time for Kenya and challenging one for the church in the country.

    Respect from Donors
    Asked about donors who come to our African countries with hidden agenda, Cardinal Njue said that we all needed help from well intentioned donors, but called for respect from them.

    "Whatever came from outside must also respect the local culture and the dignity of the people being helped," he said.

    He said farmers are being subjected to great injustices for not being rewarded for their hard labour in their farms by those in western market.

    HIV/AIDS interventions
    Cardinal Napier of South Africa said the church had set up different institutions to offer accurate information on HIV/AIDS; care for the infected; get more involved in programs offering ART as well as prevention programs to curb the spread of HIV/AIDS.

    To the married, the Cardinal reiterated the call for faithfulness and to those yet to get marriage, he called for abstinence.

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    Wednesday, October 14, 2009

    The Late Bp. Baldacchino buried

    The late Bishop Francis Baldacchino of Malindi was finally laid to rest yesterday (October 13, 2009) in a send-off befitting a faithful servant during a funeral Mass presided over by His Eminence John Cardinal Njue the chairman of Kenya Episcopal conference at the Maltese Capital, Valleta.

    The burial was also attended by among others Archbishop Boniface Lele of Mombasa (Kenya), Bishop Philip Sulumeti, the Vice chairman, Kenya Episcopal Conference and Bishop Paul Darmanin of Garissa.

    The Cardinal paid glowing tribute to the late Bishop Baldacchino, whom he said he will be remembered for his selfless service as a missionary in Kenya.

    Cardinal Njue described the late as a being 'not only the Bishop of Malindi but a very faithful member of the Kenya Episcopal Conference where he dedicated his energy, wisdom and knowledge at the national (Kenya) Catholic Secretariat, specifically in the Secretariat’s Commission for Inter-Religious dialogue, an area he was an expert.

    “May his pastoral zeal , now that he is gone become ours and continue through us who are alive,, that all his pastoral dreams for the Diocese of Malindi may come to fulfillment. ,” said cardinal Njue in his message of condolence.

    Bishop Baldacchino who until his death was the ordinary of Malindi was laid to rest in Malta, his land of origin.

    At the same time, the clergy, religious and the faithful in the former Bishop Baldacchino's diocese of Malindi celebrated a requiem Mass to coincide with the burial at the Diocese’s St. Anthony cathedral. The Mass was celebrated by the Diocese’s Vicar-General, Fr. Albert Buijs, who said the diocese had lost a humble, faithful shepherd.

    “His works speak for themselves, from education to development to pastoral. We have 5 parishes when we were given this diocese in 2000, now, our dear bishop leaves behind 14 Parishes,” said the Vicar-general.

    The Diocese will be celebrating another Requiem Mass on Sunday, October, 18.

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    Stand up against death penalty, Church told

    Bishop George BIGUZZI, bishop of Makeni and president of the Episcopal Conference of Sierra Leone has urged the Synod Fathers to unequivocally call for total and universal abolition of the death penalty.

    Speaking at the Synod of Bishops in Rome, the bishop criticized the brutal treatment of war prisoners and the recruitment of child soldiers calling them crimes against humanity.

    “The prophetic voice of the church is needed even when there were no many listeners," he said.

    Traumatic Conflict
    Meanwhile, Bishop John Baptist Odama of Gulu diocese in Uganda recounted the violence that children in his Gulu diocese have had to bear.

    As a result of armed conflict in the region between the government and the Uganda’s Lord’s Resistant Army (LRA) rebels, Bishop Odama said that between 20,000-30, 000 children have been abducted and called for respect for life.

    Gulu diocese, the birthplace of Joseph Kony, commander of LRA rebels, has experienced immense suffering, with 90% of the population being displaced as a result of the conflict.

    Africa, a Missionary Continent
    Speaking at the same gathering, Fr. Speratus KAMANZI, Superior General of the Apostles of Jesus said Africa had now become of age and has become a missionary continent.

    He saw the prophecy of Pope Paul VI in 1969 in Kampala, of Africans being missionaries to themselves, as being fulfilled. However, Superior of the Apostles of Jesus which has 400 members, called for more support and encouragements for these missionaries.

    He further criticized immigrants to Europe and America, disguising themselves as missionaries, yet are not mandated by any church authority.

    HIV/AIDS Stigma too heavy to bear
    The AIDS Pandemic has not escaped the attention of our church fathers either.

    Archbishop Boniface Lele of Mombasa lamented how people have become tired of hearing or even of talking of HIV/AIDS, including church ministers.

    Terming the stigma associated with HIV/AIDS as 'too heavy for anyone to bear alone', Archbishop Lele called for a concerted approach to the pandemic.

    He urged the church leaders to be more available to mentor the youth.

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    Tuesday, October 13, 2009

    Cardinal Njue, Bishops attend Bp. Baldacchinno’s Burial

    The burial of the late bishop of Malindi, Bishop Francis Baldacchino takes place today at 1500hrs (Kenyan time) in the island of Malta where the bishop was born.

    Kenyan delegation attending the burial led by Cardinal John Njue left Rome on Monday (October 12, 2009) evening for the burial.

    Together with Cardinal Njue was Archbishop Boniface Lele of Mombasa and Bishop Philip Sulumeti, who are attending the Synod of Bishops in Rome.

    Meanwhile, the clergy in the diocese of Malindi in Kenya, the religious men and women as well as the Christians are celebrating a Requiem Mass today at St. Anthony Cathedral to celebrate the life well spent of the diocese’s late Bishop Baldacchinno.

    According to Fr. Ambrose Muli, Father-in- Charge at the cathedra, The diocesan Vicar –General Fr. Albert Buijs will be celebrating the Mass at 1300hrs (Kenyan time), concelebrated by the clergy in the Diocese.

    “The Mass is respect to our Bishop. We are celebrating it to run con-current with the burial that is taking place in Malta today,” said Fr. Ambrose.

    At the same time, the diocese is planning for another diocesan Requem Mass, that will bring together faithful from different parts of Malindi Diocese on Sunday.

    Bishop Philip Anyolo, the acting Kenya Episcopal Conference Chairman, who was to celebrate today’s Requiem Mass with the clergy will now celebrate the one scheduled for Sunday.

    Fr. Ambrose termed the mood in the diocese as sad. “He is our only Bishop we have known in our diocese, as he was our first shepherd here. We would have felt a little better if he was being buried here. But God does as He wills. Malindi Diocese is young, and we ask for prayers,” he said.

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    Cardinal Njue advocates for good Constitution

    His Eminence John Cardinal Njue has said that many countries in Africa are struggling under bad governance, where hunger for power leads to impunity, corruption, and manipulation of people.

    While addressing the Synod Father during the ongoing Synod for Africa on Monday October 12, 2009, Cardinal Njue described bad governance as the ‘cancer’ in Africa, blaming it for impoverishing Africans.

    He challenged the African public to engage more vibrantly to create just systems of governance through good constitutions.

    He criticised leaders who would rather stick to constitutions that give them unchecked power leading to anarchy and dictatorship.

    While appreciating the national accord reached in Kenya last year, the Cardinal criticized the slow pace of the proposed reforms, declaring that the ‘time for action was NOW’.

    Talking on the same theme of governance, Cardinal Wilfrid Fox Cardinal Napier, O.F.M., Archbishop of Durban,South Africa Spoke of the new form of dictatorship that has take root in Africa.

    While appreciating that coup d’état had decreased in Africa, the Cardinal spoke of the form of dictatorship this time led by the liberators. He said that those who were liberators are now the modern dictators.

    Cardinal Napier said that political parties had themselves become the new dictators and have been seizing power in African as it recently happened with ANC in South Africa.

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    Monday, October 12, 2009

    Archbishop Okoth: Reconciliation a priority in Kenya

    Unless Kenyans embrace healing and reconciliation and treat it as a priority, the country would easily revert to lawlessness and bloodshed.

    Addressing the over 240 Synod delegates who included Pope Benedict XVI over the weekend, Most Rev Bishop Zacchaeus Okoth, Archbishop of Kisumu recalled how Kenya has been torn apart, with neighbours turning against neighbours, tribes against tribes and even family members against their own kinsmen.

    In reference to the post election violence which rocked our country early last year, the Archbishop Okoth recounted to the attentive audience how people were killed, women raped and the numerous destruction of property which followed.

    Although this reality is still fresh in our country, the archbishop said that it was time the church in Kenya provided a clear direction on the reconciliation process.

    In the same sitting, the Bishop Philip Sulumeti of Kakamega received a thunderous applause by the Synod delegates when he spoke of the need for more involvement of women in the life of the church.

    “The church is slowly losing out on women for not making them more participatory, responsible and authentic and visible in our church,” said the bishop, challenging the delegates to make an honest reflection and appreciate the role of women in the church.

    The bishop, who is also the vice chairman of the Kenya Episcopal Conference praised of the women in Kenya for being the work force behind Agricultural and domestic duties

    He appealed to the special assembly of Bishops for Africa to give ‘quality formation to empower women and to open for them all social careers which traditions and modern society tend to exclude them without reason’

    He called on men to undergo a ‘radical change and a fundamental conversion’

    The synod started the second week this morning.

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    Requiem Mass, Burial for Bp. Baldacchino on Tuesday

    The Catholic Diocese of Malindi, Kenya, will be celebrating a requiem Mass on Tuesday 13 October, 2009, for their late shepherd, Rt. Rev. Francis Baldacchino, OFM Cap, who passed away early on Saturday 10 October, 2009.

    According to Fr. Peter Karanja Kamau, assistant Priest, St. Anthony cathedral in the diocese, the diocese will also hold another requiem Mass on Saturday 17 October, 2009.

    At the same time, the burial of the late bishop is to be held on Tuesday 13 October, 2009, at Malta Island.

    His Eminence John Cardinal Njue and several other Bishops are expected to attend the burial in Malta.

    The Acting Chairman of the Kenya Episcopal Conference, Bishop Philip Anyolo is expected to preside over the requiem Mass in Malindi on Tuesday.

    While officially announcing the demise of the late Bishop on saturday, Bishop Anyolo expressed profound sorrow for the loss.

    And at the on going Synod for Africa in ROME, Archbishop Nikola ETEROVIC, Secretary of the Synod, broke the sad news to the Synod fathers on Saturday, paying a glowing tribute for the work the late Bishop was doing in Kenya.

    The late Bishop passed away while under going treatment in Marsa, Malta Island, off Italian coast in the Mediterranean Sea, after suffering from heart and liver complications.

    It is in this same Island, where the late Bishop was born on July 6, 1936. He was ordained priest on March 18, 1961, and appointed Bishop of Malindi on June24, 2000, whereby, he was ordained the Diocesan shepherd on September 2, 2000.

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    Friday, October 9, 2009

    Cardinal Antonelli: “Repulse Anti-life ideologies”

    Recalling the Holy Father’s inauguration mass homily in which he decried what he described as ‘exporting spiritual toxic waste’ to Africa from the first world, the president of the Pontifical Council for the Family Cardinal Ennio Antonelli called on the African church leaders to be vigilant against ideologies spread by reproductive health centres and some media houses all aimed at the destruction and annihilation of the family.

    He said that some international institutions and organisations pretend to advocate for the rights of women and children, but they have other hidden agenda in Africa.

    Bishop Alfred Adewale Martins of Abeokuta in Nigeria said neo-Pentecostalists have invaded the continent and are busy luring the youth into joining them, away from the Catholic Church.

    He appealed to the Church leaders in our continent to ensure that no one was ‘anonymous’ in the parishes and that all should feel belonging to the church.

    Bishop Adewale said that there was need to create a ministry in each parish that attended to the concerns and needs of the young executives and professionals targeted by neo-pentecostal groups.

    Africa, Land of saints

    And Archbishop Angelo AMATO S.D.B, Prefect of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints described Africa as a land of saints.

    Recalling the heroism of the Martyrs of Uganda, the wisdom of St Augustine and the witnessing of St Giuseppina Bakhita and many others, all sons and daughters of our continent, Archbishop called on the church leaders to promote more heroic witnesses to the faith in Africa.

    22 nations in Africa have 44 beatifications and canonizations in process, 13 Blesseds, 4 venerables and 27 servants of God, among them being Mwalimu Julius Kabarage Nyerere from Tanzania.

    Meanwhile, the delegates attending the synod have written a letter of solidarity to the Archbishop and people of war torn region of Bukavu, a letter that was read out at the start of Thursday’s Synod sessions.

    On Wednesday, this week, the Archbishop of Bukavu, DR Congo, Mons. Francois Xavier Maroy Rusengo had appealed for solidarity and support from the delegates for his wounded diocese.

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    Thursday, October 8, 2009

    Stand up for prophetic mission, African church told

    Bishop Louis Portella Mbuyu of Kinkala and Chairman of the Episcopal Conference of the Republic of Congo has called on the church in Africa to rediscover her prophetic voice.

    Addressing an audience of 244 Synod fathers this morning, the Ordinary cautioned that when overwhelmed by so many injustices and exploitations, the church might stop being moved by this and become used to it, no longer speak and thus abdicating her role as the "voice of those without voice".

    Bishop Mbuyu said that the church could only offer this prophetic mission if she herself was a ‘reconciled community’.

    He said that the church must always be the base where reconciliation is always present.

    Meanwhile, Rome is all ready for the recitation of the Rosary with the Holy Father For Africa and With Africa.

    The Holy father will lead in this special prayer and be joined by various university students live via satelite on Saturday starting at 6pm Kenyan time.

    Students from many universities, including the Catholic University of Eastern Africa, CUEA are expected to participate.

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    Wednesday, October 7, 2009

    Archbishop recounts war atrocities in DR CONGO

    Archbishop of Bukavu in the DRC Mons Francois Xavier Maroy Rusengo today gave a moving testimony of the effects of war in his archdiocese.

    He spoke of the traumatic experiences of ravaging war and called on the synod fathers to come up with a message of solidarity with the wounded people of Bukavu.

    He told the attentive audience of the burning of parishes, attack and kidnapping of priests and the heavy ransoms the diocese has had to pay to secure release of the priest.

    He further asked for special attention to be given to the youth but establishment of joint recreational and cultural activities that would favour true reconciliation.

    Environment destruction

    From the West Africa, Bishop Lucius Iwejuru Ugorji of Umuahia, Nigeria, strongly castigated the multinationals who exploit natural resources in Africa mindless of the future generations and their livelihood.

    He called this a ‘reckless exploitation of the environment’ which would impact negatively on the African continent and threaten any meaningful prospects of peaceful living in the region.

    The bishop denounced the destruction of environment in Africa, further calling the Church in Africa to stimulate what he called ‘ecological conversion’ through intensive education.

    “The church must spearhead the fight against environmental degradation in order to ensure that the future generations live in an intact and healthy environment,” he said.

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    Cardinal Walker: Fragmentation against Christian unity

    Cardinal Walter Kasper, President of the Pontifical Council for the Promotion of Christian Unity has expressed concern over the 'increasingly deepening fragmentation among Christians'.

    Though not exclusively an African problem, he pointed out that it is historically entrenched in the continent through the legacy of the "divided Christianity that Africa received".

    He said that rapid growth of charismatic and Pentecostal churches has presented a new challenge to any meaningful dialogue due to what he termed as ‘their aggressive behaviour and low theological standards’.

    “It is time the church in general and Africa in particular asked itself, not what is wrong with them, but what is wrong or what is deficient with our own pastoral work,” he said.

    Cardinal Walter challenged the Synod Fathers to engage in positive dialogue with other faiths in pursuit for unity, singling out strong Small Christian Communities as a basis for true and meaningful ecumenical dialogue.

    Human Trafficking

    Meanwhile, the Metropolitan Archbishop of Addis Ababa, Berhaneyesus Demerew SOURAPHIEL called on the Synod on Africa to address the root causes of human trafficking, the displaced persons and the abused domestic workers, refugees and migrants and to come up with "concrete positions and proposals to show to the world that African lives are sacred and not cheap" as the media may try to wrongly show.

    He urged on the Holy See to appoint a permanent representative to the African Union (AU) whose headquarters are in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, as an observer in the African forum.

    He suggested for a similar appointment from the Symposium for Episcopal Conferences in Africa and Madagascar (SECAM), to further articulate the Catholic voice in the AU.

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    Tuesday, October 6, 2009

    Cardinal Wamala decries ‘mild dictatorship’ in Africa

    As the ongoing Synod gathered momentum in Rome, different Synod fathers from different countries continued making their interventions today.

    Each member was given fives minutes to make a presentations to the over 250 delegates gathered in the hall who included Pope Benedict XVI who attentively followed all the interventions.

    Polycarp Cardinal Pengo of Tanzania and chairman of SECAM described it as unfortunate that many years after Christianity came to Africa, the Church here is still dependent on external donors for its material survival. He called on all the African religious leaders to make the church more self reliant materially.

    He saw greed, selfishness and ethnicity as the root causes to our many problems in Africa.

    Focusing on the social context of our continent, Emanuel Cardinal Wamala, Archbishop Emeritus of Kampala said though the great growth that has been witnessed in our continent, the new form of ‘mild dictatorship’ is sweeping across Africa, disguised by new leaders who have come to replace the old ones. He said that there was urgent need to evangelize even those in politics because in many of our countries, God is missing.

    Bishop Sithembele Anton Sipuka of Umtata Diocese in South Africa said racial challenges are so serious that they are affecting even recruitment in the seminaries. He said that the whites in his diocese were not at ease being together with their black colleagues.

    Recognizing the great work done by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission and that there was a leap forward in majority rule, however, the bishop said many injustices still exist.

    More sessions are underway with Cardinal John Njue later in the evening chairing the Commission for Information.

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    Orthodox Church Patriarch: "African is endowed"


    The Patriarch of Orthodox Church in Ethiopia His Holiness Abuna Paulus (Pictured, right) described Africa as a land wealthy endowed with diversity of people and a rich cultural heritage to offer.

    In his address to the Synod of Bishops for Africa that is going on in the Vatican, the Head of Orthodox Church in Ethiopia who attended the synod by invitation of the Catholic church appreciated the generosity of our continent as a land where refugees have always found a home with many including Jesus coming to our land, in search for hospitality.

    The patriarch however lamented the brain drain of the people of Africa and the consequent continued dependency on the West economically, politically and socially.

    On Justice, reconciliation and peace, which is the main theme of the Synodal meeting, Patriarch Abuna Paulus regretted the many civil wars fought on our Continent, while denouncing the use of child soldiers caught in the war of adults. He appealed to the church leaders to speak out in unity to oppose the use of child soldiers anywhere and everywhere in our continent.

    “Work for Peace”

    He urged all religious leaders to work for peace and to protect the natural resources.

    Asking the religious leaders to exercise their particular responsibilities given to them by God, Patriarch Paulus asked all team up in curbing religious extremism in our land.

    Pope Benedict XVI who was seated next to the patriarch during the address prayed that the churches should remain close and be a society of integrity and solidarity. He expressed gratitude to the Patriarch of Ethiopia for accepting the invitation to attend the Synod.

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    Synod calls for permanent evangelization

    By Fr. Martin Wanyoike, Vatican

    The first official day of business begun at the Vatican in the ongoing Synod of Bishops for Africa.

    The Synod Fathers gathered in the synod hall had the opening prayers led by the Holy Father Pope Benedict XVI who later sat through the first sessions.

    Archbishop Nikola ETEROVIC Secretary General of the Synod then read the opening speech in which he listed the numerous growth of the Church in Africa. He paid tribute to a number of people whom, since the last synod, 15 years ago, have sealed the ecclesial service with ultimate sacrifice of their lives.

    He hoped that the outcome of the Synod’s discussions would translate into initiatives of pastoral activities in evangelizations, human promotion, especially in reconciliation justice and peace.

    And Cardinal Peter Kodwo. Appiah Turkson of Cape Coast, Ghana, described the second synod as a continuation of the first. He saw the challenge of the church as a family of God in Africa as still an urgent matter for us all to address.

    He explored various challenges facing the church today. “The church in Africa must truly be the salt of the earth and light of the world, he said, adding that there is urgent need for deep and permanent evangelization.

    Family under attack

    While addressing the press after the morning session, Card Turkson lamented the numerous attacks against the family in the continent and hoped that the synod would seek to strengthen this marriage institution.

    The synod enters day 3 with more presentations and later the synod fathers going into discussion groups.

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    Monday, October 5, 2009

    SYnod Of Bishops Opens In ROME

    By Fr. Martin Wanyoike, Vatican

    The second special assembly for Africa of the Synod of Bishops was finally inaugurated at the St Peters Basilica by His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI in the presence of 239 Synod Fathers from all across the African continent.

    Speaking at the inauguration mass animated by a Congolese Choir together with the Sistine Chapel choir, His Holiness Benedict XVI recalled with great nostalgia his recent experience in the African continent of a people with a great treasure of faith and resources. The pontiff saw Africa as a continent of faith and hope.

    However, the Holy Father pointed saw materialism as an ailment in the west that is already infecting the people of Africa. He lamented that the first world had continued to ‘export’ spiritual toxic waste that continued to contaminate the people of our continent. He cited that while colonialism was over politically, it still continued to manifest itself in other areas in Africa.

    The pontiff went on to warn of a new ‘virus’ that could hit Africa, namely religious fundamentalism, mixed with political and economic interests. He lamented the spread of this virus with people teaching and preaching not love and respect for freedom but intolerance and violence.

    Appreciating the dynamism of faith in our continent, the Pope prayed that the church in Africa would always be a family of true disciples of Christ where the difference between the different ethnic groups becomes a reason for mutual human and spiritual enrichment. He said that though there is poverty, injustice, violence and wars in many countries in Africa, the Church in Africa can give a great contribution to the human family.

    Entrusting the proceedings of the synod to the care of Our Lady of Africa, and to the African saints, and to the intercession of St Francis of Assisi whose feast day was observed on Sunday 4th October, 2009, (the inauguration day for the synod), the Holy Father formally inaugurated the special assembly.

    The synod begins its sittings today on Monday 5th October, 2009.

    The Kenyan delegation is led by His Eminence John Cardinal Njue and has Archbishop Zacchaeus Okoth, Archbishop Boniface Lele, Archbishop Peter Kairu, Bishop Philip Sulumeti, and Bishop Martin Kivuva.


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    Monday, September 14, 2009

    Otunga’s Beatification: Cardinal Njue Appoints Postulator

    Dated: September 06, 2009

    To all the people of God
    Archdiocese of Nairobi

    The peace of Christ, the love of God the father and the communion of the Holy Spirit be with you all. I write you on this day, the 6th anniversary of the death of the late Maurice Cardinal Otunga.

    I have chosen this day, the anniversary of the death of our beloved Cardinal Maurice Otunga, to make special announcement, which I am certain will be cause of great Joy to all the people of the Archdiocese of Nairobi and indeed of the whole of Kenya.

    The date for the formal initiation of the cause of Beatification will be announced shortly, but meanwhile I have appointed Fr. Anthony Bellagamba, IMC, as Postulator for the cause of beatification of the late Cardinal Maurice Otunga. He will have the task of gathering evidence, especially from all those who knew Cardinal Otunga closely. Naturally we would like to gather such evidence first from older people – from all over the country who knew the Cardinal in his earlier days. It would be a great help to the cause if such people were to write to me now, with a brief account of when and how closely they knew Cardinal Otunga. I will then pass these letters on to Fr. Bellagamba, who will begin his work once the cause is officially initiated.

    All those who had the privilege of knowing Cardinal Otunga have no doubt as to his holiness. However, the church does not lightly proceed to declare publicly that a person is to be considered among the saints in Heaven, one whose life shows how it is possible to become very, very Christ-like. That is why the Holy See requires a proper process that will gather all the evidence of the person’s sanctity, that is, of how he lived the Christian virtues in a heroic manner. The first stage of the process will take place here in Kenya, the second phase will continue in Rome.

    Within a few weeks, it should be possible to announce the date of the formal initiation of the cause of Beatification and Canonization of our beloved late Cardinal. It will be a day of prayer and rejoicing, as and even more so, will be a day of the happy conclusion of the process.

    Expression of public devotion to the late Cardinal Otunga is not yet permitted by the church until such a date when in God’s providence, he be beatified. However, he always loved his flock and his people and was loved by them. Continue therefore, to have private recourse to his intercession, and get many graces and benefits on each one of us, on his church here in Kenya and on our whole country which he loved so much.

    Let us all remain united in prayer during this very important process. With prayerful best wishes, I bless you all.

    Your Shepherd

    (signed)


    +John Cardinal Njue

    Archbishop of Nairobi

    JCN/ans

    Cc – H.E. Alain Paul Lebeaupin

    Apostolic Nuncio to Kenya

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