“The excitement, enthusiasm was uplifting”: Catholic Missionary Priest on Ordination of Auxiliary Bishops for Nairobi

A section of Priests, including Fr. Jeff Duaime during the Episcopal Consecration of two Auxiliary Bishops for Nairobi Archdiocese on 6 April 2024. Credit: ACI Africa

The Saturday, April 6 Episcopal Consecration of Bishop Simon Peter Kamomoe and Bishop Wallace Ng’ang’a Gachihi as Auxiliary Bishops for the Catholic Archdiocese of Nairobi in Kenya was “uplifting”, a U.S.-born Catholic Missionary Priest, who witnessed the celebration at St. Mary’s Msongari School grounds in Westlands, Nairobi, has said. 

In an interview with ACI Africa, Fr. Jeff Duaime lauded the organizers of the Episcopal Ordination liturgy that had 26,751 people in attendance and described the celebration as “very impressive and inspiring”.

“The preparation and organization for the event was extremely well done and rivals anything that would be fine for such a large event in Rome or North America,” the Rome-based member of the Congregation of the Holy Spirit under the protection of the Immaculate Heart of Mary (Spiritans/Holy Ghost Fathers) said.

Credit: ACI Africa

“The excitement and enthusiasm” that characterized the Eucharistic celebration, Fr. Jeff said, “was uplifting and very encouraging especially in relation to my experience coming from Europe and North America.”


The Spiritan Priest, who serves as the First Assistant of Fr. Alain Mayama, the first African Superior General of the 321-year-old Missionary Congregation, said that the lively liturgical celebration “is a sign of the vitality of the church in Kenya, which gives witness to the depth of faith among the people of God.”

“I was struck by how well the two new Auxiliary Bishops were received by the people. They obviously are held on high esteem and have done great work in the Archdiocese of Nairobi. I wish them many blessings and great success in their ministry,” Fr. Jeff told ACI Africa.

Credit: ACI Africa

“I was honoured to be part of the celebration,” he added about the April 6 event that had the Apostolic Nuncio in Kenya, Archbishop Hubertus van Megen, as the Principal Consecrator.

In his homily, Archbishop van Megen called upon the two Bishops-elect to have the person of Jesus Christ as their “anchor” during their Episcopal Ministry.

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“Stand strong my friends against the tides and with unwavering faith, your souls shall soar; and even if all these people abandon you, Christ is the anchor of the boat forever more,” the Nairobi-based Vatican diplomat, who also represents the Holy Father in South Sudan said. 

Credit: ACI Africa

He added, “Dear Simon Peter and Wallace, may God who started this good work in you bring it to completion and remember, even if all these people abandon you, remember you are not alone.”

“Within your heart courage resides, a beacon of light forever shone when shadows lengthen and hope,” the Dutch-born Apostolic Nuncio said.

He lauded the Bishops-elect for their humility, simplicity, and hard work, virtues he said other members of the Clergy should emulate.


Credit: ACI Africa

“Despite having achieved a lot … they remain humble, never showing off their titles, never showing the need to boast … they remain always ordinary men,” the Vatican diplomat said.

He added, “They are both hard workers; that is something we can emulate. The two were not chosen because they are excelling in intellectual gifts nor because of their administrative skills; Pope Francis chose them because of their quiet service, their moral rectitude, their spiritual fervor, their profound prayer life, and hard work.”

Credit: ACI Africa

“The kingdom of God is not built on the powerful and the mighty, nor on the bosses and the kings, but on the humble, the silent, and the ordinary people,” Archbishop van Megen said to underscore the virtues of two Bishops-elect he was about to consecrate, and added, “Christ is not looking for miraculous actions, beautiful words, or heroic deeds.”

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Meanwhile, in his remarks towards the end of the April 6 celebration, the Vatican diplomat, who started his service as Apostolic Nuncio in Sudan in 2014 highlighted the way of being Church that the ongoing Synod on Synodality, which Pope Francis extended to October 2024 has emphasized.

Credit: ACI Africa

“The speakers before me shared how the Catholic Church is not a Church closed in itself; we are not a sect; we open the doors and windows so that other people can get a bit of a sniff of the incense, all the people of faith and even those of non-faith, we as a Church are open to them, we serve them,” Archbishop van Megen said referring to the multi-year initiative under the theme, “For a Synodal Church: Communion, Participation, and Mission”, the first session having taken place in Rome last October.

He acknowledged with appreciation the Episcopal collaboration he has witnessed in the East African nation, saying, “I am already like five years in Kenya and it has been years of grace, years of happiness, and feeling fortunate to be able to serve this great Church with these splendid and good Bishops we have.”

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