, 29 June, 2020 / 9:00 PM
Catholic Bishops in Kenya have reminded the people of God in the East African nation about their “duty and obligation” to continue worshipping God despite COVID-19 restrictions and urged families to turn their respective homes into a “domestic church.”
“With the closure of places of Worship, we may think we have lost our sense of oneness and the conventional way of worship...We have to recognize that while we cannot gather in the usual way, our duty and obligation to worship God remains indispensable,” the members of the Kenya Conference of Catholic Bishops (KCCB) say in a collective message read out at the end of the televised Mass, Sunday, June 28.
In their statement read out by the Chairman of KCCB’s Commission for Liturgy, Bishop Anthony Ireri Mukobo, the Bishops in Kenya invite the faithful to reflect on the question, “How does God want you to continue relating with Him during this time of COVID-19 when the places of worship are closed?”
Underscoring the need for individuals to find time to meditate and talk to God in prayer, the Prelates urge the faithful to mirror the early Christians saying, “When our lives are influenced by prayer, we go out of our way to love and serve God and our neighbors.”
“What routines have we set up in our families to ensure that there is time for communal family worship?” the Bishops in Kenya probe in their June 28 collective message reiterating Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI’s call for every home to become a domestic Church.
As a domestic Church, the Bishops say, the family is called “to proclaim, celebrate and serve the Gospel of life” and add, “It is here that the parents and caregivers impart the values of Gospels - respect, love, thanksgiving, charity, forgiveness, endurance, selflessness and generosity.”
Terming the home the “first school of faith virtues and values,” the Bishops emphasize that that homes should “be the first place of worship” where the faithful read the Holy Scriptures, sing their favorite hymns, recite the Rosary and pray together.
“Dear people of God, a strengthened domestic Church is one of the greatest positive offshoots of COVID-19,” Bishop Mukobo who presided over the televised Mass at the Holy Family Minor Basilica, Nairobi said on behalf of the Bishops in Kenya and added, “We have lost so much through the COVID-19; we cannot afford to lose our faith, our worship and our family values.”
The Prelates call on the youth and children in Kenya to “appreciate” that they too are “indispensable part of the family and the Church: you are our hope.”
They acknowledge the challenges the young people are facing amid COVID-19 restrictions and remind them that they cannot afford to lose hope and allow social media, anxiety, boredom, negative peer pressure and destructive behavior ruin their life.
“Let us not use the time we have on endless hours on using electronics negatively to keep yourselves busy,” Bishop Mukobo who is also the Local Ordinary of the Apostolic Vicariate of Isiolo advise the youth in Kenya.
“Instead, let us draw up realistic routines to see how to use our time wisely; I know you are capable of doing wonders,” the Kenyan Bishop said June 28.
While we create physical distance so as not to spread the virus, the Bishops in Kenya say in their collective statement, “we can do works of mercy to our neighbors by feeding and clothing them.”
“There is so much we can do at this time; we just need to ask the Holy Spirit for his inspiration,” the Bishops say and offer the challenge, “Could we inspire the suffering with hope, joy and courage?”
They thank the healthcare workers for their role in controlling the spread of the pandemic and urge them to be “resilient and patient.” The Bishops also call on the people of God in Kenya to continue adhering to COVID-19 containment measures.
ACI Africa was officially inaugurated on August 17, 2019 as a continental Catholic news agency at the service of the Church in Africa. Headquartered in Kenya’s capital, Nairobi, this media apostolate will strive to facilitate the telling of Africa’s story by providing media coverage of Catholic events on the African continent, giving visibility to the activities of the Church across Africa where statistics show significant growth in numbers and the continent gradually becoming the axis of Catholicism. This is expected to contribute to an awareness of and appreciation for the significant role of the Church in Africa and over time, the realization of a realistic image of Africa that often receives negative media framing.
Father Don Bosco Onyalla
Editor-in-Chief, ACI Africa