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“St. Joseph, model of men in marriage, fatherhood”: Kenyan Couple Involved in Counselling

A poster announcing the March 19 Webinar organized by the Daughters of St. Paul (Paulines) in Kenya’s Archdiocese of Nairobi.

A Kenyan couple dedicated to nurturing marriages through counselling has, at a webinar, described St. Joseph as a guide and a model for men who have committed themselves to the institution of marriage.

Speaking during the Friday, March 19 event, the Solemnity of St. Joseph, Tom Lichuma and Lynette Lichuma called on married couples to emulate the Saint who is a role model of fatherhood, striving to model their respective families on the Holy Family of Nazareth.

“St. Joseph is a guide and model for all men of goodwill living their vocations of marriage and fatherhood,” Tom Lichuma said during the event organized by the Daughters of St. Paul (Paulines) in Kenya’s Archdiocese of Nairobi.

Just as St. Joseph's faith in God helped him overcome various hurdles in his role as the foster father of Jesus Christ and husband of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Tom further said, “today’s husbands and fathers need strong faith in God to meet the challenges and dangers of our world.”

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“As leaders in the families and the cradle of the society, let us remember that the society we live in springs from us parents. Therefore, if we do not nurture children well, then we are nurturing a society that will be stubborn to the future generations,” Tom who has been married to Lynette for 42 years added during the March 19 webinar.

The father of seven who, together with his wife, are members and formators of the worldwide Marriage Encounter movement went on to urge men to emulate St. Joseph and the Holy Family of Nazareth so as “to build our relationships and marriages and attend to the urge to make our marriages better every day.”

On her part, Lynette, who has co-authored six books on family life with her husband, urged women to be supportive to their spouses in view of making their respective marriages work and their families become like the Holy Family of Nazareth.

“St. Joseph lived to fulfill God’s plan of salvation. Let us lead our families to holiness and it is by our support as wives and ladies that we have to support our spouses to live these God’s plans,” she said.

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Acknowledging that making marriages and families work in the modern times is challenging, Tom emphasized, “The role of husbands and fathers is invaluable to the society.”

“We have heard of absent fathers. Where are they? Where do they go?” he posed and explained, “What it means is that fathers have put more value to other activities than to the family and that’s why we are facing many challenges at the moment.”

Bringing up children is not the responsibility of mothers but the responsibility of both parents as a couple, he emphasized and appealed to fathers to spend their free time with their families so that “the kids we are nurturing can pick virtues that will make them responsible persons in the society.”

The retired civil servant went on to decry challenges facing children in contemporary societies such as teen pregnancies and substance abuse and cautioned, “If parents cannot talk to their children from young age to the time they leave the nest, then we are about to get a society that is so disorganized.”

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Amid the challenges of modern-day parenting and family life, Tom who, together with his wife, have been facilitating premarital sessions in several Kenyan Parishes since 1985 reminded married couples that just like them, St. Joseph and his family faced hurdles and overcame them and went on to “live happily as the Holy Family of Nazareth.”

“We too can do the same based on the challenges that we are facing now,” Tom added during the March 19 two-hour virtual event, and underscored the need for a positive attitude, togetherness and sharing as spouses in order to overcome life’s hurdles.

Towards becoming like the Holy Family of Nazareth, Lynette who, alongside her husband, have been Married Couples’ Pacifiers since 2002, called on spouses to adhere to the “Three Cs” of a relationship - communication, cooperation, and commitment.”

On his part, the Chaplain of Families and Marriages in Kenya’s Archdiocese of Nairobi, Fr. Simon Peter Kamomoe whose presentation focused on the virtues of St. Joseph called on husbands to entrust their marriages to God just like St. Joseph did.

Making reference to husbands, Fr. Kamomoe further said, “They should not just take that responsibility on their own without God’s support, inspiration and graces. They need to bring God on board in their marriage. They need divine support and providence to help them face the challenges they encounter.”

"St. Joseph was able to face the challenges because he had faith and trust in God and depended on God in everything that was coming along,” Fr. Kamomoe who has been nicknamed the “Father of families” due to his passion for family life added during the March 19 webinar under the auspices of the Pauline Sisters in Nairobi Archdiocese.

According to the Clergy of Nairobi Archdiocese, COVID-19 pandemic is an opportunity for Christian fathers to be role models by showing their children how to protect themselves from the disease and from other dangers.

On navigating modern-day challenges facing children such as the consumption of harmful social media content including pornography, Fr. Kamomoe who has authored the book “Marriage Through the Priestly Eye” emphasized the need for parents to have conversations as opposed to “talking to” their young ones lest they appear authoritarian.

He thanked Pope Francis “for giving us this challenge to explore and also dig more about the role of St. Joseph in the economy of salvation.”

Fr. Kamomoe further implored God to bless the Holy Father “with good health of the body and mind to continue guiding and taking care of the flock of the children of God in the world in the world like St. Joseph.”

“May St. Joseph, the Patron Saint of the Universal Church intercede for the Holy Father, for the entire church and also for the Christian families,” Fr. Kamomoe who is the Administrator of the Holy Family Minor Basilica of the Archdiocese of Nairobi implored during the March 19 event.

He also sought the intercession of St. Joseph in the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic, asking God to “save the world through the fatherly love of St. Joseph.”