Called by Christ, “put your strength, hope in Him”: Bishop to Catechists in Kenyan Diocese

Credit: Sr. Michelle Njeri

The ministry of Catechists is a calling by the Lord to carry on His ministry of evangelization in the world among His people, the Catholic Bishop of Kenya’s Nakuru Diocese has said.

Addressing Catechists and Health Workers serving in his Episcopal See on the occasion of the Catechists’ Thanksgiving Day and in anticipation, the 2024 World Day for the Sick, Bishop  Cleophas Oseso Tuka emphasized the need to rely on God’s grace and cautioned against despair.

“Christ is the one who sent you; put your strength and hope in Him, and He will continue to give you strength and courage to do that work,” Bishop Oseso told Catechists during the Tuesday, February 6 celebration at Christ the King Cathedral of Nakuru Diocese.

The Kenyan Catholic Bishop lauded the ministry of Catechists in the mission of the Church, saying, “I have also said you are an agent of grace, you are also an agent of mercy, and you are an ambassador of Christ.”

Credit: Sr. Michelle Njeri


“Priests can’t do without catechists,” he further said, emphasizing the important role of Catechists in the evangelization mission of the Church.

Referring to Pope Francis’ 10 May 2021 Apostolic Letter, Antiquum ministerium (“Ancient ministry”) in which he instituted the Ministry of Catechist, Bishop Oseso urged Catechists in his Episcopal See to regard their ministry as a vocation.

“As the Holy Father says, (to be) ‘a Catechist is a calling,’” he said, and cautioned the Catechists against taking their ministry “for granted”.

“Its work you do with or without money; so, that's what a calling is all about; you don't mind what you will get; your focus is on Christ who called you to this ministry,” the Kenyan Catholic Church leader, who has been at the helm of Nakuru Diocese since his Episcopal Consecration in May 2023 added.

In instituting the new lay ministry of catechist, Pope Francis said that the ministry would “emphasize even more the missionary commitment proper to every baptized person, a commitment that must however be carried out in a fully ‘secular’ manner, avoiding any form of clericalization.”

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Credit: Sr. Michelle Njeri

The ministry if for lay people who have a particular vocation to serve the Church as teachers of the Catholic faith.

In his letter issued motu proprio (“on his own impulse”), the Holy Father recalled the role of catechists in Church history, beginning with the New Testament’s First Letter to the Corinthians, which refers to “teachers” within the early Christian community.

In September 2021, addressing participants in a meeting that the Pontifical Council for Promoting the New Evangelization organized, Pope Francis said a rite for institution of Catechists would be issued “so that the Christian community may feel the need to awaken this vocation and to experience the service of some men and women who, living the celebration of the Eucharist, may feel more vividly the passion to transmit the faith as evangelizers.”

The Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments issued the rite of institution to the ministry of Catechist on 13 December 2021.


In his February 6 address, Bishop Oseso drew the attention of Catechists to the 2024 pastoral theme of Nakuru Diocese, “Proclamation of the Word of God”, and emphasized the need for them to “know the Word of God”.

"As catechists, spreading the Gospel is at the center of the work you do. Therefore, we must know the Word of God and we should read it,” he said.

Credit: Sr. Michelle Njeri

Bishop Oseso continued, “You know you can be a Catechist and you are not reading the word of God. People come to church to listen to the Word of God, so teachers, let us be the spreaders of the Word of God; read it, meditate on it so that we can deliver God's message to our people."

He went on to underscore the need for Catechists to take their role of preparing Catechumens seriously. The Catholic Church leader lamented, "I have been to other places where Christians are saying children are not being taught religion. Sometimes we baptize them through the back door. In such cases you are doing great damage to that child.”

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“There are things we cannot compromise about; let us teach religion well and if we teach well, the blessings and rewards that God will give you will be plentiful," he said.

Meanwhile, in his message for the 2024 World Day of the Sick, the Local Ordinary of Nakuru lauded health workers serving in his Episcopal See for their selfless service, love and compassion, and for giving hope to the sick.

Credit: Sr. Michelle Njeri

"Thank you for doing this difficult work; without love you cannot give that hope. May God continue to give you strength and continue to bring many more to join you in serving our patients," he said.

He called on the people of God to remember the sick in their daily petitions to God, imploring, “Let us pray for them every day".

Emphasizing the significance of offering prayers for the sick, the Kenyan Catholic Bishop said, "Perhaps they are waiting for that; only your prayer can pray for them and God's mercy can descend on them. This is a ministry of healing; so, let's put God first.”

Pope St. John Paul II established the World Day of the Sick in 1992 to encourage Christians to pray for the sick on February 11, the Feast of Our Lady of Lourdes. In 2024, the annual celebration is to be realized under the theme, “It is not good that man should be alone – Healing the Sick by Healing Relationships.”

Nicholas Waigwa contributed to the writing of this story

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