“People are losing hope”: Catholic Bishop in Kenya Urges Priests at Ordination to Counter News Media Pessimism

The nine Priests ordained in Kenya's Catholic Diocese of Kakamega on 11 May 2024. Credit: Capuchin TV

Bishop Joseph Obanyi Sagwe of Kenya’s Catholic Diocese of Kakamega has noted with concern a growing trend of pessimism among Kenyans and faulted news media channels in the country for focusing on negative news stories that trigger feelings of hopelessness.

In his Saturday, May 11 homily during the ordination of nine Deacons to the Priesthood, Bishop Obanyi urged Priests to counter the pessimism that characterizes news media channels, including social media, so that people’s faith and hope are reestablished. 

“I have a feeling that in Kenya, people are very pessimistic. When you read papers, when you watch news, when you listen to radios, you hear a lot of pessimism among the people,” he said during the Priestly Ordination celebration at St. Mark's Nzoia Parish of his Episcopal See.

Amid news media pessimism, Bishop Obanyi observed with concern, “many people are losing hope; many people are losing faith because of what they hear, what they see, what they experience.”

“What's the work of a Priest in this kind of world, where pessimism is being spread by social media, where families are not being respected?” he posed and continued, “Your work must be to bring hope to the people. Let the people know that God is on their side. Let the people know that God will stand by them even when they feel they are not with God.”


“Let us bring the spirit of enthusiasm among the people to love God,” the Kenyan Catholic Bishop said. 

To emphasize the need for member of the Clergy to counter the trend of news media negativity, he cautioned against jumping on the bandwagon, saying, “As a Priest, I think you will never be a messenger of pessimism. That must not be part of our apostolate.” 

The apostolate of the Clergy, Bishop Obanyi reiterated, involves pointing the people of God “to God, to Christ who is the source of hope.”

“In the divine office, you are being mandated, being given a divine ministry to pray for the people of God, and to pray for the world,” he told the nine Deacons he was about to ordain Priests.

Bishop Obanyi highlighted “service to the poor, closeness to the poor among you” as an essential Priestly apostolate, and added, “A Priest must be closer to those who are sick, those who are weak, those who feel abandoned.”

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In his May 11 homily, the 57-year-old Kenyan Catholic Bishop, who has been at the helm of Kakamega Diocese since his Episcopal Ordination in March 2015 also highlighted other essential responsibilities of Catholic Priests and challenged the Priests-elect to understand “the power” God is entrusting them in the Sacrament of Holy Orders.

Alluding to the responsibility of Catholic Priests to preside over Eucharistic celebrations, he told the nine Deacons he was about to ordain Priests, “You have the privilege today to be given for the first time the power to invoke Christ upon the Eucharistic mysteries; you will have the power to command Christ to come in every Mass that you say.”

“You have every power to communicate Christ to the people of God,” Bishop Obanyi said, and emphasized referring to the moment Priests celebrate the Eucharist, “Give people Christ because you have the power to call Him down in (Holy) Mass.”

Having had the “power to transform” people into “children of God” through the Sacrament of Baptism as Deacons, when ordained Priests, “they will have the faculty to forgive sins and that’s a great mystery,” he further said.

The Local Ordinary of Kakamega Diocese went on to caution the Priests-elect against laxity and lethargy, saying, “You have not arrived. You are only beginning and as you begin, you must constantly listen to Jesus, who has called you to what he wants you to do.”


“You are now entering a school of Jesus. We constantly have to listen to Him, and this is a timeless school, a timeless seminary,” he said, and emphasized, “You must be formed by Christ. You are not complete yet, because Christ continues to form you so that you can form His people.”

The Catholic Church leader continued, “We must renew our commitment every year, every time, every day, every second of our Priesthood, that yes, here I am, Lord, send me because you have cleansed me not because I am worthy, but because you have made me worthy; not because I'm righteous, but because you have forgiven me; not because I'm perfect, but because you have used my imperfection to serve the people.”

Those ordained Priests during the May 11 celebration included seven Deacons of Kakamega Diocese, and two Deacons of the Order of Friars Minor Capuchin (OFM Cap.).

The Clergy of Kakamega include Carlos Tindi Musiko, Chrispin Wamalwa Wabukala, Desterious Agustomay Shikoli, Emmanuel Musinya Maloba, Kelvin Oduori Kusimba, Kenneth Masinde Wanyonyi, Kevin Onyango for Kakamega Diocese.

The two OFM Cap. Deacons ordained Priests are Kevin Malimo and Brian Mike Khamasi.

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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.