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Strive to Live in Harmony with Each Other, Kenyan Prelate at Ordination

Archbishop Peter Joseph Kairo speaking during the ordination of four Priests and seven Deacons for Kenya’s Nyeri Archdiocese Saturday, November 7.

A Kenyan Archbishop has urged candidates he was about to ordain to always strive to live in peace and harmony with each other, noting that it is human for members of the Clergy living in a rectory to sometimes disagree.

Archbishop Peter Joseph Kairo spoke during the ordination of four Priests and seven Deacons for Kenya’s Nyeri Archdiocese, the same day the 79-year-old retired Prelate celebrated his Golden Jubilee of Priesthood.

Archbishop Kairo encouraged the members of the Clergy who he said were expected to live in communities to always embrace a spirit of forgiveness, reconciliation and that they should learn to bear with one another.

In a report availed to ACI Africa, Fr. Casmir Odundo who is the Parochial Vicar of St. Mary's Parish Kabarnet of Kenya’s Nakuru Diocese says that during the Saturday, November 7 event, Archbishop Kairo encouraged the candidates he was about to ordain to always “promote good relationships and good communications among the clergy.”

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“It is important to plan together pastoral work,” the Kenyan Archbishop said at the ordination event that was live streamed on YouTube.

He encouraged the candidates he was about to ordain Deacons and Priests to be ready to face the challenges that await them in the mission saying, “There is no life without challenges; even priesthood has its own fair share of challenges.”

The Archbishop Emeritus of Kenya’s Nyeri Archdiocese further encouraged the 11 men to always follow the example of Jesus the Good Shepherd, who he said came not to be served but to serve and to give his life as a ransom for many.

Archbishop Kairo cautioned the young men not to aspire for the Priesthood because of money or riches saying, “The Priesthood is a vocation and a life of sacrifice.”

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In the words that Jesus used to instill a sense of discipline in his disciples, the Prelate added, “Foxes have holes, and the birds of the air have nests, but the Son of man had nowhere to lay his head.”

Prior to the ordination ceremony, the Archbishop had preached an eight-day retreat to the candidates he was about to ordain.

Recalling events of the retreat during the ordination event, Archbishop Kairo who retired in April 2017 observed, “During your retreat, I admired you. I envied you because I saw you were men of prayer. Please always maintain that atmosphere of prayer.” 

He exhorted the members of the Clergy to have good friends who will respect their vocation and not those who will destroy it saying, “Tell me your friends and I will tell you who you are.” 

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The Archbishop encouraged the men to be reading the lives of saints as part of their spiritual reading and gave an example of the life of St. John Maria Vianney, the Cure of Ars and the Patron of all Priests.

“St. John Maria Vianney was sent to a faraway parish where there was very little faith. However, because of his good example of prayer, his humility, catechesis, and life of penance the parish gradually changed. Later many other people came from very far to listen to him,” he narrated.

And recalling his own experience on his Golden Jubilee celebration of his Priestly ordination, Archbishop Kairo further narrated how he had to leave his native Diocese of Nakuru to shepherd the people of God in Nyeri Archdiocese, away from home.

Born in 1941 into a family of four sons and five daughters, Archbishop Kairo first worked at Holy Rosary Parish in Kenya’s Nakuru Diocese before he was appointed Administrator of Christ the King Cathedral and Vicar General of the same Diocese.

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In March 1983, he was appointed by Pope John Paul II as the first Bishop of the newly erected Diocese of Murang’a and ordained Bishop of the Diocese in May the same year. After 14 years in Muranga, in April 1997 at the age of 55, he was appointed the Bishop of Nakuru.

Sharing his experience at the appointment, he said, “My greatest challenge having been appointed Bishop of Nakuru – my home Diocese, was if I would be accepted, because Jesus said that a prophet is not accepted in his hometown.”

After serving in Nakuru for 11 years, Pope Benedict XVI appointed him Archbishop of Nyeri where he ministered for another eight years until he retired, paving way for Archbishop Anthony Muheria.

During the November 7 event, Archbishop Kairo was celebrated as “a man of God with many firsts.”

“He is the first Priest ordained for Nakuru Diocese. He is also the first Priest to be ordained by Bishop Ndingi. He is also the first Priest of Nakuru to be elevated to a Bishop. Again, he is the first Bishop of Murang’a,” Fr. Casmir wrote in the report shared with ACI Africa.

Archbishop Kairo was the Local Ordinary of Nyeri during the historic beatification of Blessed Irene Stephanie (Nyaatha) in May 2015, the very first beatification ceremony in Kenya.