I am good shepherd for you and for all, he declares
On a raised, meticulously decorated altar, in front of Saints Peter and Paul Cathedral, Embu diocese, His Excellency Archbishop Alain Paul Lebeaupin and several bishops joined thousands of faithful, including the clergy, religious, political and civic leaders, as well as faithful from other mainstream churches to witness as the Diocese got its third shepherd.
This was during a beautifully animated ordination Mass on July 25, 2009.
His Lordship Bishop Paul Njiru Kariuki became the third Bishop of Embu, with a double joy of being ordained and installed to the seat by the first Bishop of the very same diocese, His eminence John Cardinal Njue.
And the new shepherd declared that his primary goal is to ‘lead all souls to Christ, at whatever price’.
The Papal ‘Bull’, an official decree from Vatican that appointed and granted permission for the new Bishop to be ordained was read in Latin, English and finally in Ki-Embu, the local dialect to thunderous applause of the congregation.
“By the virtue of our supreme apostolic power, we appoint you the Bishop of the diocese of Embu. We further decree that you be ordained by a catholic Bishop outside the diocese of Rome according to the canonically authorised liturgy of the church,” read the ‘Bull’ that was released on May 9th, 2009, before concluding: “ May the Blessed Virgin Mary, Holy queen of Africa help you from Heaven, together with the faithful of this Diocese.”
Cardinal Njue, who presided over the ordination/ installation helped by the former Bishop and apostolic Administrator of the Diocese, Bishop Anthony Muheria of Kitui, and Archbishop Peter Kairo of Archdiocese of Nyeri, implored the faithful, clergy and religious of the diocese to support the new Bishop.
“He is going to be the custodian of the precious gift, the gift of faith that we received from our predecessors, the apostles. Let all church groups and genuine associations, and I repeat, genuine associations grow together with the new Bishop to be living stones of faith.
And to the new Bishop, Cardinal advised: “People of Embu will be looking at you as a point of reference. Give them the right direction to fulfil their call to holiness.”
His Excellency Alain Paul Lebeaupin, the apostolic Nuncio to Kenya described the ordination as ‘a huge responsibility bestowed and a great feast of the entire catholic church which is Universal’.
“On behalf of the Holy father, I want to thank you all, especially the priests for keeping the unity as you waited for the new Bishop,” he said, adding that this showed great communion in the church.
“You now have two bright sons from this diocese, the Cardinal and the new Bishop, and this means more responsibility,” said the Nuncio.
“This means to be open to all and help, to live the truth of the Gospel and express the love of our Lord to our brothers and sisters,” he said, adding: “God bless you, don’t be afraid, go out and help!”
The Nuncio reiterated the importance of church unity. “You are not a catholic If you are not in communion with the successor of Peter,” he said.
In front of the multitude, the new Bishop revealed his Episcopate motto as “I am the good shepherd for you and for all”.
He conceded that his appointment came as a surprise, as he had ‘never dreamt of such office of this calibre in our Catholic church’.
“I was happy in my humble duty to form the young people whom the Lord had called, but our Lord has decided to add another cross on my humble vocation. Therefore, in my humility, I come to you with no other greatness other than the ministry of the Gospel,” said Bishop Paul Kariuki.
“I appeal to you, pray for me, love me, listen to me and work with me, for united we stand, divided we fall. I will not fail to raise my voice for the voiceless,” he said
On ecumenism, he promised to work closely with ‘my brothers and sisters from other faiths’.
Before cutting the ordination cake, he executed his very first duty upon assuming the office: “I appoint Very Rev. Father Patrick Njiru as the Vicar-General of the diocese, with immediate effect.”
Prior to this appointment, the 46 year bishop was an acting Rector, and formator at the Christ the King Seminary, Nyeri. He holds a baccalaureate, licentiate and doctorate in Sacred Theology.
He becomes the third bishop for Embu Diocese since it was curved from Meru diocese in 1986. The first bishop is the current archbishop of Nairobi, His Eminence John cardinal Njue, with the second Bishop being Anthony Muheria, currently of Kitui Diocese.
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