Cardinal in Kenya Lauded for Defending Human Life, Family in 50 Years of Priestly Ministry

John Cardinal Njue. Credit: Nairobi Archdiocese

In his 50 years of Priestly Ministry, John Cardinal Njue was committed to defending human life and safeguarding the “family as the basic unit of society”, members of the Kenya Conference of Catholic Bishops (KCCB) have said.

In their collective message on the occasion of Cardinal Njue’s Golden Jubilee of Priesthood marked on Friday, January 6, KCCB members have also acknowledged with appreciation the “wonderful service” to the Church of the 79-year-old Kenyan Cardinal.

“Throughout your priesthood, you have demonstrated your word and deed, your commitment to defend human life and safeguard family as the basic unit of society,” Catholic Bishops in Kenya said in the collective message that was read out by the Chairman of KCCB, Archbishop Martin Kivuva Musonde.

They implored that God grants Cardinal Njue “health in the abundance of joy and courage to continue defending what is right and sacred.”

“You have stood firm and spoken out with courage against attempts to erode the institution of family through the introduction of foreign ideologies,” KCCB members said during the event that was held at the Queen of Apostles Catholic Parish of Nairobi Archdiocese.


They recognized the active role the Kenyan Cardinal has continued to play in the affairs of the Church in the East African nation even after his request to retire had been accepted on 4 January 2021.

“You have remained active in the ministry even after your retirement and this is recommendable," KCCB members said in their collective message addressed to Cardinal Njue during the January 6 event, and added, “You retired but not tired, congratulations.”

As you celebrate this important milestone, they said, “We thank God for this goodness and for giving you the grace to serve in his vineyard.”

KCCB members described Cardinal Njue as a source of hope and strength for Catholic Church leaders in Kenya, and urged members of the Clergy in the East African nation to look up to the immediate former Archbishop of Nairobi for inspiration.

"Dear Priests, you have a great example; you are a great man who never tires to speak for the truth and to fight for justice; a man who is selfless among us,” KCCB members said in the message read out by the Local Ordinary of Kenya’s Mombasa Archdiocese. 

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They added, “We at the KCCB have the privilege of knowing your eminence and throughout our interaction with you, you have always been a great sense and source of inspiration, wisdom, and fatherly care. We were pleased to work closely with you your eminence.”

They went on to laud the apostolic fidelity of Kenya’s second Cardinal, and implored, “May your faithful apostolate be a source of inspiration for all Priests.”

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.

Cardinal Njue served as the Chairman of the Seminary Episcopal Commission for Major Seminaries in Kenya from 1987 to 1991. He served as the chairman of the Bishops' Conference for two terms that ran from 1997 to 2003 and 2006 to 2015.

In their collective message during the January 6 event, Catholic Bishops in Kenya said the Archbishop emeritus of Nairobi gave his best when he was at the helm of KCCB.

“You stood strong during those moments of election, working with Justice and peace and truly steering the country and the church ahead," said KCCB members.

In their message to Cardinal Njue during the January 6 event, the youth of Nairobi Archdiocese thanked him for his “incredible contributions” to the Church and for his support to the youth ministry.

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“Over the years, you have made many incredible contributions to the Church and to the community,” the youth said in their message read out by the Assistant Youth secretary of the Archdiocese, Mary.

They added, “Your tireless work and unwavering commitment to your ministry has touched the lives of many people.”

Meaning, the representative of the Catholic Women Association (CWO) in Nairobi Archdiocese lauded the Kenyan Cardinal for his wise leadership, saying, “Your eminence, 50 years are not just years, but they are years of blessings, of great and increased wisdom that not just benefits you but has touched so many of us.”

“As women and the entire Catholic community, we have been touched by you and as for the ladies in CWA, you have really inspired us and led us to the growth of our faith,’ Agnes said.

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.