Like Peter, Be Witnesses “with energy of the Holy Spirit”: Catholic Bishop to Candidates Confirmed at Nairobi Parish

Candidates, who received the Sacrament of Confirmation at Our Lady of Assumption Umoja Parish of the Catholic Archdiocese of Nairobi on Sunday, 14 April 2024. Credit: Capuchin TV

Candidates, who received the Sacrament of Confirmation at Our Lady of Assumption Umoja Parish of the Catholic Archdiocese of Nairobi on Sunday, April 14 were urged to recognize the power of the Holy Spirit in their respective lives and be bold witnesses of the Risen Lord after the example of the Apostle Peter.

In his homily, Bishop Rodrigo Mejia Saldarriaga called upon the Parishioners of the Kenyan Parish to examine the extent to which they are “connected with” God away from the Parish premises and the Eucharistic celebration on Sundays.

Addressing himself to the 470 candidates for the Sacrament of Confirmation, the Vicar Apostolic Emeritus of Soddo Vicariate in Ethiopia recounted the boldness of the Apostle Peter after Pentecost.

Bishop Rodrigo said, “A witness with the energy of the Holy Spirit is strong like Peter. When he was arrested after the resurrection and they told him, ‘Stop preaching, keep quiet, and don’t mention the name of Jesus any longer’, he told them, ‘It's up to you to judge whether we have to obey you rather than to obey God.  As for us, we cannot keep quiet about what we have seen, and we have heard. That is to be a witness.”

The Colombian-born member of the Society of Jesus (SJ/Jesuits), who was at the helm of Soddo Vicariate since his Episcopal Consecration in March 2007 till his retirement in January 2014  called upon the candidates for Confirmation to take up the role of witnessing to the works of Jesus Christ like the Apostles after the Pentecost experience.


“This means after this Sacrament, the Church does not consider you any longer as children, but as Disciples of Christ,” Bishop Rodrigo said, and added, “You are apostles for the Church. You are sent where you live to be witnesses. You have to defend not only the Church, but your own faith.  And that is why this Sacrament of Confirmation is sending you, all of you, as missionaries.”

He emphasized the need for the candidates he was to confer the Sacrament of Confirmation to foster their connection with the Holy Spirit, saying, “The Holy Spirit is like the electricity that makes us work; if we disconnect, the bad spirit will take advantage and we may go astray very easily.”

The needed to continually connected with the Holy Spirit “is the importance of what we are doing today, to confirm the connection of these 470 Christians to God; to connect them, not just for one day, not just for Sundays, but for life,” Bishop Rodrigo said.

“Without the Holy Spirit we can do nothing. And if ever by an accident we disconnect, there is the Sacrament of Reconciliation to reconnect and to continue receiving the energy of God,” he said.

He continued, “Sometimes with God, we think we are connected with Him because we pray, or we come to Mass. But how long is our connection? Maybe on Monday we disconnect; maybe on Tuesday we disconnect.”

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“If we are not connected to God, we cannot do anything,” the 85-year-old Nairobi-based Catholic Bishop emphasized. 

He went on to caution the Laity against relegating the Christian role of witnessing the Risen Lord to members of the Church hierarchy. 

He said, “The Church cannot count only on the witnesses of the Bishops, the Priests, and the Religious men and women alone; impossible.”

“You have to behave in such a way, you are example of life in such a way that those who see you may say, this is a Christian; he is really a believer, a disciple of Christ,” Bishop Rodrigo said, adding that to sustain the lifestyle of Christian witnessing, “you need the strength of the Holy Spirit.”

Referring to the 470 candidates for Confirmation, the Jesuit Bishop implored, “May the strength of the Holy Spirit come within you today so that each one of you may become a disciple and apostle and a missionary of Christ.”  


Nicholas Waigwa contributed to the writing of this story

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