Let’s “return to integrity”: Catholic Archbishop at Lenten Campaign 2024 Launch in Kenya

The launch of this year's Lenten Campaign in Kenya in the Archdiocese of Nyeri. Credit: Kenya Conference of Catholic Bishops (KCCB)-Catholic Justice & Peace Department (CJPD)

At the launch of this year's Lenten Campaign in Kenya, the Catholic Archbishop of the country’s Nyeri Archdiocese has cautioned against pride, a vice he said has contributed to failure in service delivery. 

In his Friday, February 9 homily at St. Peter and Paul Cathedral of Embu Diocese, the venue of the Lenten Campaign 2024 launch in Kenya, Archbishop Anthony Muheria called upon leaders at all levels in the East African nation to nurture, at personal level, “integrity”.

“Pride has killed service, pride at all levels, in religious leaders and (in) the political leaders, (and) in regional leaders. I ask that we return to integrity so that we can build a better country," Archbishop Muheria said.

A leader is able to bring positive change to society “with integrity at personal level,” he further said, and to underscore the value of entegrity, added, “it is possible to bring light; Apostle Paul changed this world.”

“This Lent the church urges us, let integrity shine,” the Local Ordinary of Nyeri Archdiocese, who doubles as the Apostolic Administrator of the Catholic Diocese of Embu since his appointment in September 2023 said.


Credit: Kenya Conference of Catholic Bishops (KCCB)-Catholic Justice & Peace Department (CJPD)

He went on to highlight some of the challenges Kenyan families are grappling with, attributing to failures in integrity. 

“My dear Christians the evil that we see in our families, gender-based violence, abuse, sexual abuse to our kids, suicide, things that are happening in our families we wish could never happen” can be related to “our integrity”, he said. 

The Kenyan Catholic Archbishop cautioned members of the Clergy against silence and complacency amid vices in the society and urged especially Bishops and Priests to live their prophetic call after the example of Jesus Christ. Credit: Kenya Conference of Catholic Bishops (KCCB)-Catholic Justice & Peace Department (CJPD)

“My dear Priests, Bishops, we need to let Christ shine,” he said, adding, “That’s why the church cannot keep quiet; the church must speak. We can’t change the commands of God; we can’t change and say corruption is good when its bad and we can’t cease to cry with the people who cry.”

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The Catholic Archbishop, who serves as the Chairman of the Commission for Social Communications of the Kenya Conference of Catholic Bishops (KCCB)alluded to the six-month country-wide campaign against graft in Kenya that KCCB members launched in October 2019 under the theme, “Breaking the Chains of Corruption”.

Credit: Kenya Conference of Catholic Bishops (KCCB)-Catholic Justice & Peace Department (CJPD)

Through a declaration and a set of symbolic gestures on 5 October 2019 at the Village of Mary, the National Marian Shrine of KCCB in Subukia, Nakuru Diocese, Catholic Bishops in Kenya launched the campaign that involved, among other activities, the establishment of a corruption complaints desk in all Catholic Churches across the country “to keep a record of reports of corruption that the public may wish to make” and the renewal of “baptismal promises in all our Churches on Sundays, using the specific formula that highlights the rejection of the evil of corruption.”

In his February 9 homily during Holy Mass that Bishop John Oballa Owaa of Kenya’s Ngong Diocese presided over, Archbishop Muheria called for courage in the fight against corruption, saying, “Break the chains of corruption; we have been singing this like a song.”

Credit: Kenya Conference of Catholic Bishops (KCCB)-Catholic Justice & Peace Department (CJPD)


“My dear people, let us be light for the children coming after us; let us dare to be courageous. Our dear leaders, be courageous,” the Kenyan-born member of Opus Dei said, emphasizing the need for adults to spearhead the fight against graft in Kenya.

He called upon Christians to pay attention to church teachings and the voice of God, fostering a collaborative approach in their endeavors to follow Jesus Christ.

Credit: Kenya Conference of Catholic Bishops (KCCB)-Catholic Justice & Peace Department (CJPD)

“The horizon is hopeful because we are here, because we will act, because we will pray. God wants our cooperation,” Archbishop Muheria said, and added, “It’s not enough for us to kneel here the whole day and ask for God to change the world, our families, to change our country; it’s important that I do what I have to do to change my family, to change my church, my community, to change our country, to change the world.” 

As the Lenten Season begins on Ash Wednesday (February 14), he said, “we are asked to change our ways so that indeed we can make the light of Christ to shine through our weakness, lives, our heroism, to change the world for good.”

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Credit: Kenya Conference of Catholic Bishops (KCCB)-Catholic Justice & Peace Department (CJPD)

The Catholic Church leader, who started his Episcopal Ministry in January 2004 as Bishop of Embu Diocese challenged family members to foster the spirit of listening in their day-to-day interactions, paying keen attention to the promptings of the Holy Spirit.

“The fathers of the family, listen to the voice of the Holy Spirit; take care of your family; be there; listen to them. The Mother of the family, listen to the voice of the Holy Spirit. You are the sacredness of the Holy Spirit, the joy of the family. Mum you are the defender of life; do not listen to the spirit that tells you to destroy life,” he said during February 9 Holy Eucharist that had Bishop Paul Kariuki Njiru of Kenya’s newest Catholic Diocese of Wote among the concelebrants.

Credit: Kenya Conference of Catholic Bishops (KCCB)-Catholic Justice & Peace Department (CJPD)

Turning his attention to younger family members, the Catholic Archbishop said, “Listen our dear children, our dear students, don’t listen to the voice that leads you to evil; we seem hell bent to give Satan free ride in our lives.”

He went on to cautions Christians against laxity and indifference, saying, “A time has come when Christianity is not an appendix to life; something you do once in a while, a necklace you wear, a suit you wore one day and hang after your wedding.”

Credit: Kenya Conference of Catholic Bishops (KCCB)-Catholic Justice & Peace Department (CJPD)

Christianity, Archbishop Muheria warned, cannot be lived “like the Pharisees and our High Priests, who would wash their hands and would be so particular about washing of vessels and things but wouldn’t follow the law.”

Irene Wambui contributed to the writing of this story

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