Let’s Re-embrace the Culture of Reading the Word of God: Catholic Priest in Kenya

Fr. Bonaventure Luchidio during the 'Around the Table show' on Capuchin TV in prelude to the Sunday of the Word of God. Credit: Sr. Olga Massango

There is a need to revisit the culture of reading the Holy Bible and to make the word of God part of people’s lives, the Catholic Priest at the helm of the national Pontifical Mission Societies (PMS) in Kenya has said in an interview. 

In the interview with ACI Africa ahead of the January 23 celebration of the Sunday of the Word of God and Around the Table show on Thursday, January 20 on Capuchin TV where he would be a guest speaker, Fr. Bonaventure Luchidio underscored the need for meditating on the word of God.

“Let us go back to our culture of reading the word of God; we read physically; there is one aspect of reading and there is the other aspect, what is the word of God saying, that is the part of meditation,” Fr. Luchidio said in the Tuesdy, January 18 interview with ACI Africa.

The PMS Kenya Director urged the people of God to carry the Bible everywhere and to read it so as to deepen their faith and also to understand what Christ is saying to the Church.

“Let us carry the word of God wherever we are, in our handbags, pockets, let us be ardent readers of the word of God so that we deepen our faith, so that we can be rooted in Christ, we can understand what Christ is teaching us on a daily basis,” Fr. Luchidio told ACI Africa.


A poster announcing the 'Around the Table show' on Capuchin TV in prelude to the Sunday of the Word of God. Credit: Sr. Olga Massango

He said that the lives of Christians have an origin in the word of God and that is why it is the living amber that Christians need to run to when troubled.

Highlighting some of the situations that hinder Christians from reading the Bible, Fr. Luchidio said that most Christians are not growing in faith because they do not read the word of God.

“Situations such as secularism, materialism, social problems, family issues are causing people to run away from the word of God,” he said, and added, “These things combined make the word of God look like it does not have a strong base to support the social tie in the society.”

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He continued, “We need to come back and return the word of God where it is supposed to be, because we are replacing the word of God with very many things, like phones, pleasurable things, and our demands.”

The member of the Clergy of Kenya’s Kakamega Diocese insisted that the people of God carry a hard copy Bible saying that the authenticity of the softcopy version is questionable.

“We are advocating for the hard copy Bible, because we are not sure of what the soft copy is, and who has actually written that soft copy, where is it coming from,” he said.

Fr. Luchidio further said that if the word of God is read at family level every day, then the family will be able to journey together and commune together, which he says is the idea behind the ongoing Synodal process.

“We wish that each home should have a Bible, and not closed Bible, a Bible that is open in a corner where every day we go to read it as a family; a family that prays together, stays together,” the PMS Director in Kenya said, and added, “If we read the Bible together, we shall stay together; if we don’t read the Bible together, we shall not stay together and that is what we are doing at this time, the Synod.”


He explained, “Synod is about journeying together, walking together. What makes us commune, come together, it is the word of God; it is the center of our lives.”

The Nairobi-based Catholic Priest said that if the word of God is instituted and read from the grassroots, which is the family, then a community will be created.

He said that the people of God who are emboldened with the word of God are enriched with the spirit of participation because they are not affected by fear.

Fr. Luchidio further explained that the Holy Spirit is obtained through reading the word of God and that the Holy Spirit will in turn awaken the spirit of participation, which he says is an element of Synodality.

Speaking on the importance of using the word of God in daily prayers, the PMS Director in Kenya said the faithful have a personal responsibility of not only reading the word of God but also deeply meditating on it.

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He also said that the faithful need to utilize opportunities provided by the Church such as attending catechetical classes so as to enrich themselves with the word of God.

“It is time that we form our people to understand the importance of the word of God in their lives and the life of the community,” he said, and added, “We have some activities and materials that should be utilized by the faithful to understand the word of God, steps of reading the word of God, personal reading and reflecting on the word of God, and attending catechetical classes.”

He continued in reference to praying with the Bible, “Formation needs to be done to orient Catholics on the need to pray using the word of God. If one is taken through the steps on how to pray with the Bible, then you grow up with that.”

Fr. Luchidio also challenged those who have knowledge on how to pray to teach those who do not know, saying that it is an act of mercy.

“Those who know how to pray should teach those who do not know, through baptism and mission. It is also an act of mercy to teach those who are ignorant, those who are in doubt. So, if I have information and I keep it to myself, then I am not doing the mission of Christ,” he said.

On the feast day of St. Jerome in 2019, Pope Francis announced that the Third Sunday in Ordinary Time would be celebrated as the Sunday of the Word of God. He intended that the day is dedicated to the celebration, reflection, study and dissemination of the Word of God.

In his 30 September 2019 Apostolic Letter instituting the Sunday of the Word of God,  Aperuit Illis, Pope Francis stated, “Devoting a specific Sunday of the liturgical year to the word of God can enable the Church to experience anew how the risen Lord opens up for us the treasury of his Word and enables us to proclaim its unfathomable riches before the world.”

In Kenya, this year’s national Sunday of the Word of God will be celebrated at St Francis Riuru Parish of Nairobi Archdiocese.

Bishop Michael Otieno Odiwa of Kenya’s Homa Bay Diocese who doubles as the Vice Chairman of the Commission for Missions and the Pontifical Mission Societies (PMS) Operations in Kenya is expected to preside over the celebration.

Bishop Michael Otieno Odiwa of Kenya’s Homa Bay Diocese.

In the January 18 interview with ACI Africa, Fr. Luchidio said that the Church introduced the celebration of the Sunday of the Word of God so as to inform the people that the secret of overcoming worldly challenges lies in the word of God.

“The reason we have this Sunday, is to educate, advise, and inform our people, that the joy and sorrows of this world, the anxiety, frustration and desperation we have, the answer is in the word of God,” the Kenyan Priest said in reference to the Third Sunday in Ordinary Time.

“If we open the word of God and read, it cuts both sides. If you want answers to any situation, go back to the word of God. Let us go back to our roots; our root is Jesus Christ; he is the word made flesh, he is the light that lights up everything,” Fr. Luchidio said.

He cautioned against “search for success”, a temptation he described as popular among the majority of the people. He encouraged excellence, which he said is always followed by success.

Making reference to the biblical story of Moses, the PMS Director in Kenya said those who carry phones to the church with a view of reading the word of God from them undermine the reverence of the church as a holy place.

“Perversion from God is conversion to created things,” Fr. Luchidio said in reference to those who carry phones to the church, adding that those who have perverted from God have converted to four main things, which he listed as wealth, power, fame or honor.