Kenyan Catholic Missionary Priest Dies in Unclear Circumstances in Venezuela

Late Fr. Josiah Asa K’Okal. Credit: Consolata America

A Kenyan-born member of the Institute of Consolata Missionaries (IMC) who went missing on Monday, January 1 in the town of Guara, Monagas state in Venezuela, has been found dead.

The cause of death of Fr. Josiah Asa K’Okal, the 54-year-old missionary Priest whose body was reportedly found on the morning of Tuesday, January 2 in a forest by Venezuelan authorities, is yet to be known. 

According to Agenzia Fides, the Consolata Missionary left his residence in Paloma Sector, Tucupita Municipality, on his bicycle at around 9 a.m. on January 1 without his phone or any identification document. He is said to have visited residents of the Janokosebe settlement on a section of the national highway before he disappeared at around 11 a.m.

Born in September 1969 in Siaya, Kenya’s Archdiocese of Kisumu, Fr. K’Okal took his vows as a Consolata Missionary in 1993. He was ordained a Priest in August 1997. The late Priest has been serving in Venezuela since his priestly ordination. 

Fr. K’Okal received Venezuelan citizenship and was recognized as a missionary "with a big smile" for his dedication to the people.


The late Priest has been eulogized for his dedication and service to the indigenous Warao community of Venezuela.

According to the Pontifical Mission Societies (PMS) of Venezuela, Fr. K'Okal "became an apostle and brother of the Warao people, with whom he lived most of his priestly life. Always attentive to their needs and companion in their struggles.”

“We are left with the best memory of a joyful missionary who knew how to welcome everyone to offer comfort and closeness,” PMS officials in Venezuela say.

The Indigenous Council of Brazil (CIMI), says Fr. K’Okal was "one of the people with the greatest trajectory in working with the Warao people, contributing a lot in Brazil with pastoral groups and agents.”

For officials of the Pan-Amazonian Ecclesial Network (REPAM), the late Consolata Missionary was a "dedicated caretaker and defender of our Amazonian peoples and realities.”

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“His intense process of embodiment and commitment to these communities and surrounding realities led him to collaborate on a larger scale in the international coordination team of the Nucleus of Amazonian Peoples of REPAM,” they say and add, “REPAM mourns the departure of dear Father Josiah and stands in solidarity with his family, the family of the Consolata missionaries and the communities with which he lived."

Meanwhile, Fr. Juan Carlos Greco, a Consolata Missionary serving in Brazil, has called on the people of God who have encountered Fr. K’Okal to remember him with gratitude.  

“It's time to imitate examples! And to silence some words that can incite feelings contrary to everything that K'Okal taught us in the famous schools or workshops on forgiveness and reconciliation!” Fr. Greco said.

Magdalene Kahiu is a Kenyan journalist with passion in Church communication. She holds a Degree in Social Communications from the Catholic University of Eastern Africa (CUEA). Currently, she works as a journalist for ACI Africa.