Catholic Bishop in Kenya Decries Discrimination, Urges Fostering of “unity in diversity”

Bishop John Oballa Owaa places ashes on a Priest's forehead during Ash Wednesday Mass. Credit: Ngong Diocese

A Catholic Bishop in Kenya has urged the people of God in the East African country to stop discriminating each other based on their various differences but instead to foster unity in their diversity.

In his Wednesday, March 2 Lenten message, Bishop John Oballa Owaa of Kenya’s Ngong Diocese reflected on the biblical story of the good Samaritan and said that love for one’s neighbor is the first step towards embracing diversity.

“Diversity is a blessing just as our identity is; any form of discrimination on account of diversity is to destroy that gift of unity in diversity that God himself has given us,” Bishop Oballa said, and added, “We nurture this unity by considering who our neighbor is; a neighbor is any one in need of gesture of love.”

The Kenyan Catholic Bishop said, “We are diverse in gender, in level of education, in our backgrounds whether ethnic or racial. We hold diverse political and religious beliefs.”

The Local Ordinary of Ngong Diocese who doubles as Chairman of the Catholic Justice and Peace Commission of the Kenya Conference of Catholic Bishops (KCCB) said that the love of neighbors entails helping those in need.


“A Good Samaritan did not care to find out the cause of the suffering of that one first; he did not care to find out where he came from; what mattered to him was that, here was a brother, a fellow human being who needed his help and he reached out and did everything he could to restore the life of this person,” he said.

The Kenyan Catholic Bishop said that Christians need to create bonds of trust, which he said can be achieved through shunning of injustices of social inequalities.

He underscored the need for Christians to be kind, and to reach out to the suffering with their material gifts.

“The season of lent calls us to be kind with money; we know how people are hurting economically, mentally, socially. Let us be generous with one another. It is not only money; let us be generous with our time,” the 63-year-old Catholic Bishop said in his March 2 message.

He added, “Nothing creates greater unity and communion with others faster than charity. Console the sick and the distressed; tithe, and donate to charity. Alms giving heals and restores our relationship with others.”

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He further said that the Lenten Season is a good opportunity to tackle laziness and embrace the Catholic faith through reciting the Holy Rosary, which he said many Catholics avoid on the claim that it is long.

The Bishop who has been at the helm of Ngong Diocese since his Episcopal Ordination in April 2012 urged the People of God in the East African country to familiarize themselves with the word of God by sparing about five to 10 minutes of reading the Bible on daily basis. 

He spoke about the importance of adoration of the Blessed Sacrament during this Lenten Season and urged the people of God to meditate on their lives as a way of entering into their interior and spiritual life.

Silas Mwale Isenjia is a Kenyan journalist with a great zeal and interest for Catholic Church related communication. He holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Linguistics, Media and Communication from Moi University in Kenya. Silas has vast experience in the Media production industry. He currently works as a Journalist for ACI Africa.