Let’s Embrace “collaborative ministry” for Church’s Progress: Catholic Bishop in Kenya

Bishop John Oballa of Kenya's Ngong Diocese. Credit: Nairobi Archdiocese

The Bishop of Ngong Diocese in Kenya is calling upon the Laity and Clergy in the East African nation to foster togetherness in realizing the mission of the Church.

In his homily during the Eucharistic celebration to mark the Golden Jubilee of Priesthood of John Cardinal Njue, Bishop John Oballa said that the Kenyan Cardinal succeeded in his Episcopal Ministry because he fostered the spirit of collaboration. 

“The collaborative ministry with one another, with Priests, Religious and the Laity is ever necessary for carrying out the mandate of Christ and the mission of the Church,” Bishop Oballa said during the Friday, January 6 event that was held at the Queen of Apostles Catholic Parish of Nairobi Archdiocese.

He added, “Nairobi Archdiocese and all other places that the Jubilarian served were left better than they were because of the support and that building of a community of oneness among the Priests, the Religious, and the Laity.”

In fostering collaborative ministry, Bishop Oballa said there is need to give space and attention to the youth and children in the Church.


He said the fact that children and young people are part of the Church proves that they must be given not just attention but also the space to participate in the Church’s activities.

“The Cardinal himself is convinced that the future of a child lies in the formation in faith of these young ones and the youth,” the Local Ordinary of Kenya’s Ngong Diocese who was consecrated Bishop on 14 April 2012 said.

Bishop Oballa went on to reflect on the New Year 2012 Message of Pope Benedict XVI during the celebration of the 45th World Day of Peace on educating young people in justice and peace, saying, “The Church looks to the young people with hope and confidence; she encourages them to seek the truth to defend the common good and to be open to the world around them willing to see new things."

Bishop Oballa said that giving young people and children attention and space in the Church will reduce the rate at which they are leaving the Church.

Incorporating young people in the Church activities will enable them “know that Christ alone can satisfy their longing and search," the Kenyan Catholic Bishop said during the Holy Mass on the occasion of the golden jubilee of Priesthood of Cardinal Njue.

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Born in 1944 in Kenya’s Embu Diocese, Cardinal Njue was ordained a Priest for the Catholic Diocese of Embu in January 1973.

He was consecrated Bishop of his native Diocese of Embu in September 1986. In March 2002, he was transferred to Kenya’s Archdiocese of Nyeri as Coadjutor Archbishop.

The Kenyan Catholic Church leader succeeded the late Archbishop Raphael Ndingi Mwana’a Nzeki as the Archbishop of Nairobi in October 2007.

He was elevated to the rank of Cardinal in November 2007, becoming the second Cardinal in the history of Kenya after the Servant of God, Maurice Michael Cardinal Otunga.

In his homily during the January 6 Golden Jubilee event, Bishop Oballa said the 50 years of Priesthood of Cardinal Njue was a moment to thank God. 


“Your eminence, you are a milestone to us; as we celebrate your 50th Priestly anniversary, we truly call this to attention and thank God for you,” he said. 

He commended the Cardinal who retired in January 2021 for championing for self-reliance in the Church in the region of the Association of Member Episcopal Conferences in Eastern Africa (AMECEA) in general and in Kenya in particular.

“In the Conference of Bishops, and in all other roles that he played, even in the AMECEA region, he is the champion of self-reliance in the Church,” said the 64-year-old Local Ordinary of the Catholic Diocese of Ngong in reference to Cardinal Njue.

Bishop Oballa urged the people of God in the East African nation to emulate Cardinal Njue’s simple Priestly lifestyle and detach from materialism, saying, “Don’t we see a simple Priest among us? The diocesan Priest who has no bank account, and personal property.”

He said that a simple lifestyle is essential in the present world that is characterized by phrases such as “more is better; the wealthier the better.”

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“We see what is happening in the society, cases of corruption, people doing anything to just have one more shilling,” Bishop Oballa said during the January 6 Golden Jubilee event. 

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.