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Catholic Bishop in Kenya Calls for Parental Support in Fostering Priestly Vocation

Bishop Willybard Lagho commissions 160 new members of the Catholic Women Association at Bishop Francis Baldacchino Primary School Grounds on 29 August 2021. Credit: Catholic Diocese of Malindi/Kenya

The Bishop of Kenya’s Malindi Diocese has called upon parents in his Episcopal See to encourage vocations to the Priesthood in their respective families amid an increasing number of Parishes in the Kenyan Diocese.

The need for parents to foster Priestly vocations in Malindi Diocese is based on the fact that the Kenyan Diocese, one of the youngest Dioceses in the East African country, “has been experiencing a steady growth in her laity population in the recent years resulting in creation of new parishes and missions,” a Monday, August 30 report indicates.

In the report authored by Moses M. Mpuria, Bishop Willybard Lagho notes that the Diocese does not have enough Priests to serve in the new missions.

Bishop Lagho who was commissioning new members to the Catholic Women Association (CWA) in his Diocese has been quoted as appealing to parents saying, “I call upon you to encourage and promote vocation to the Priesthood among your families. As caregivers, parents are best positioned to identify and nurture future Priests.”

In the August 30 report, the Kenyan Bishop says that the Diocese is reviewing her strategies in reaching out to youth and children from an early age with an aim of nurturing vocations to the Priesthood, adding that some parishioners miss Sunday Mass due to this shortage.

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“In some of our Parishes and missions we only have one Priest and that is not desirable since they are supposed to live as a community,” Bishop Lagho says, and adds, “Many of our Outstations miss Holy Mass on Sundays due to this situation. We are also faced with the challenge of creating new Parishes where it is thus becoming pastorally necessary because we are lacking Priests.”

Making reference St. John Paul II's Post-Synodal Apostolic Exhortation on the formation of Priests, Pastores Dabo Vobis, the Kenyan Bishop adds, “The family is truly a ‘domestic Church’, which has always offered favorable conditions for the birth of vocations.”

“Families should be the first seminary in which children can acquire an awareness of piety and prayer and love for the Church,” he emphasizes.

“All the members of the Church, without exception, have the grace and responsibility to look after vocations. The duty of fostering vocations falls on the whole Christian community,” Bishop Lagho is quoted as saying, referencing St. John Paul II.

He also makes reference to Pope emeritus Benedict XVI’s 2009 message underscoring the need for Diocese to have enough Priests because “the function of the clergy is essential and irreplaceable in announcing the Word and celebrating the Sacraments, especially the Eucharist.”

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The Kenyan Bishop presided over the commissioning of 160 new CWA members from the Southern Deanery of Malindi Diocese, the August 30 report indicates.

During the August 29 commissioning event, Bishop Lagho cautioned CWA members against discrimination saying, “In your interactions, do not despise or isolate your fellow Catholic women who are yet to be commissioned into your Association.”

“Let CWA be an instrument of Evangelization, of true love of Christ; through your deeds and words, attracting other women to serve Christ and the Church the way you do,” the Bishop has been quoted as adding.