Wednesday, May 10, 2023

Nuncio Urges New Bishop in Kenya to Foster “a humble church, devoid of any clericalism”


The representative of the Holy Father in Kenya has urged the newly Consecrated Bishop of the country’s Catholic Diocese of Nakuru to foster “a humble church” that prioritizes service rather than the seeking of “the first position”.

In his homily during the Episcopal Consecration of Bishop Cleophas Oseso Tuka on Saturday, May 6, Archbishop Hubertus van Megen cautioned the candidate he was about to Ordain Bishop against clericalism. 

“Dear Cleophas, I would like you to stand for a humble church, a church that is aware of its own failings, a church that is able to deal with the ignorant and the wayward and the sinner,” Archbishop van Megen told the 55-year-old Bishop-elect who was appointed Bishop for Nakuru Diocese in February.  

He urged him to foster “a church that is devoid of any clericalism, a church that doesn't boast on itself, doesn't want to have the first position.”

Support a church that stands with the poor, and "jealously maintains its freedom so as to speak out in any case of abuse of power, against corruption within the church, in the institutions of government and the judiciary,” the Apostolic Nuncio in Kenya who doubles as the representative of the Holy Father to South Sudan further told the new Bishop.

The new Kenyan Bishop will need to promote "a church that is not afraid to be battered and excluded by the powers of this world because it is ready to give its life for the small and humble, a church that rather prefers to be trampled upon than to trample upon others,” the Dutch-born Vatican diplomat said.

“Dear Cleophas, you will be a Bishop in God's church and Jesus is asking you to feed his sheep and to attend to them despite all your weaknesses and sins,” he said, adding, “One does not presume to take this honor, but takes it only when called by God.”

He continued, “Your election to Bishop is not in the first place about your qualities though many but purely because of the grace of God, who knows everything, who knows about our virtues, but also about our sins.”  

The Apostolic Nuncio urged the new Kenyan Catholic Bishop to foster stewardship as he governs the people of God in Nakuru Diocese, saying, “This Diocese doesn't belong to you personally. You are a steward, not the owner." 

He called upon Mons. Oseso to serve the people of God under his pastoral care through preaching the Word, dispensing Sacraments, and ensuring good governance and transparent financial administration.

“Feed your lambs with the bread of life, the body and blood of Christ. Celebrate the Eucharist and remind your Priests of their daily duty to celebrate that Holy Eucharist also,” Archbishop van Megen further said. 

He explained, “The Sacrament of Eucharist is the most precious and holy gift to humanity and therefore the Sacrament of the Eucharist should not be exploited as the occasion for political gathering.” 

The representative of the Holy Father in Kenya and South Sudan advocated for financial transparency, adding that “only in this way will you be able to be a true shepherd of the people of God."

Bishop Oseso succeeds Archbishop Maurice Muhatia Makumba who was transferred to the Archdiocese of Kisumu in November 2021.

Born in November 1967 in the Diocese of Nakuru, the Bishop-elect was ordained a Priest for the same Diocese in June 1995 after his Priestly formation at St. Augustine's Mabanga Senior Seminary in Bungoma Diocese, and at St. Matthias Mulumba Tindinyo Senior Seminary in Eldoret Diocese.

At the time of his Episcopal appointment, Bishop Oseso was serving as the Vicar General of Nakuru Diocese.

In his homily May 6, the Vatican diplomat told the new Bishop not to be afraid of his Episcopal Ministry.

"Praise the Lord and the good work he has begun in you. Do not be afraid for I am with you to deliver you, says the Lord,” Archbishop van Megen said. 

Bishop Oseso is expected to serve as the fourth Local Ordinary of the 18,149 square-kilometer Diocese that was erected in April 1968.

The Diocese has a population of 614,043 Catholics, according to 2019 statistics, and is part of the Metropolitan See of Nairobi.