“Go after the lost sheep”: Apostolic Nuncio in Kenya to Four Newly Ordained Priests

Fr. Emmanuel Tob Got of the Comboni Missionaries of the Heart of Jesus (MCCJ), and Fr. Daniel Matara, Fr. Anthony Wanyonyi, and Fr. James Omasete ordained inKenya’s Catholic Diocese of Kitale on 10 February 2024. Credit: Catholic Diocese of Kitale

The representative of the Holy Father in Kenya has called upon the four new Priests he ordained on February 10 to pay keen attention to “the lost sheep” in their Priestly ministry following the example of Jesus Christ, the Good Shepherd.

In his homily during the Priestly Ordination of Deacon Emmanuel Tob Got of the Comboni Missionaries of the Heart of Jesus (MCCJ), and Deacons Daniel Matara, Anthony Wanyonyi, and James Omasete of Kenya’s Catholic Diocese of Kitale, Archbishop Hubertus van Megen underscored the need for Priests to be in solidarity with the people of God under their pastoral care.

“You are to be like Christ, the Good Shepherd … to go after those lost sheep, the one who is isolated and doesn't know how to find his way back to the fold, to the church,” Archbishop van Megen said.

He acknowledged possible challenges in the process of seeking “the lost sheet”, and called for patience and perseverance as it is the mission of the Church.

“To bring those sheep, the ones who are not with our club, can be a difficult task,” the Dutch-born Apostolic Nuncio said during the Priestly Ordination event that was held at St. Joseph's Pavilion Kitale.


He went on to highlight examples of people, who need the attention of Priests through accompaniment, saying, “Think of the drunkards; think of the drug addicts; think of the people who live in irregular situations, who are in need of God's presence in their life.”

“As the latest document of the Holy See, Fiducia Supplicans, teaches us, you are called to be with those people as well, because they are the lost sheep who may have wandered far from the flock,” Archbishop van Megen, who also represents the Holy Father in South Sudan said, referring to the declaration that the Vatican Dicastery for the Doctrine of Faith (DDF) released on December 18 permitting the blessing of “same-sex couples” and couples in other “irregular situations”.

Alluding to the need for contriteness and desire for conversion on the part of “the lost sheep”, he said, “The grace of God works in the lives of those who do not claim to be righteous, but who acknowledge themselves humbly as sinners like everyone else.”

“With its untiring wisdom and motherly care, the church welcomes all who approach God with humble hearts, accompanying them with their spiritual aids that enable everyone to understand and realize God's will fully in their existence,” Archbishop van Megen said during the February 10 ordination celebration. 

He also addressed the challenge of “expectations” on part of the people of God receiving services from members of the Clergy and underscored the need for readiness and preparedness.

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“The expectations of the people of God towards its Priests are many, and at times it can be a heavy burden, and at times you may lament, like Moses did, ‘why have you brought this trouble on me, your servant? I cannot carry all these people by myself. The burden is just too heavy for me,’” Archbishop van Megen who started his service as Apostolic Nuncio in Sudan in 2014, shared.

He continued, “Many times we are not able to live up to the expectations of the people around us.” 

Under the pressure of such challenging situations, he went on to say, “you will feel that you are not sufficient, that your capacities, your skills, your knowledge is not enough to handle the many demands and expectations that are directed to you.”

The Nairobi-based Vatican diplomat challenged the Deacons he was to ordain Priests to examine their readiness for what entails the Priestly ministry, posing, “Are you ready to face those kinds of challenges? Are you ready to accompany the people of God in their daily struggles?”

“Are you ready to console the parents who lose a child? Are you ready to remain with a desperate person who is suffering in his illness? Are you ready to remain with a person who's struggling with his own sinfulness? Are you ready to remain with the parents who are hurt because of the behavior of their children?” Archbishop van Megen further posed.


He continued, “Are you ready to remain with the children who are abused by their parents? Are you ready to remain with the old people who are abandoned by their children?”

Turning his attention to challenging situations among members of the Clergy and women and men Religious, the Apostolic Nuncio further posed, “Are you ready to remain with your fellow Priest who finds himself in a moral or psychological crisis? Are you ready to accompany the religious who has lost his or her religious identity and is tempted to leave the congregation? “

“There are more questions than answers. But let's face it, when you become a Priest, you never become a Priest for yourself; in a sense, your own needs come at the last place,” he said.

Archbishop van Megen told the four Deacons, “Being a Priest, you are asked to give as a Priest, and that is going to happen today, for the first time, you're expected to celebrate the Holy Eucharist each and every day for the intentions of the church, for the intentions of the people of God, and, of course, for your own intentions as well.”

Jude Atemanke is a Cameroonian journalist with a passion for Catholic Church communication. He holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Journalism and Mass Communication from the University of Buea in Cameroon. Currently, Jude serves as a journalist for ACI Africa.