Priestly and diaconal ordinations at St. Camillus seminary, Nairobi

It is the first time, in thirty years of formative activity, that the Delegation of Kenya had such an abundant harvest: seven ordinations in a single day, four Priests and three Deacons. It is not common for the Cardinal of Nairobi, His Eminence John Njue, to preside over the ordination ceremony outside the cathedral; generally he sends the Auxiliary Bishop or any retired Bishop. This time he came in person here at our Seminary. Third and the last record: the ceremony took place at the St. Camillus Seminary in Nairobi, but – for the first time – it did not take place in the church, as the church would not have contained the large number of people gathered for the celebration: the number, in fact, exceeded 1200 people. For this reason, it was necessary to rent tents and set up the event in the sports ground.

The ceremony began exactly at 10.00 o’clock, but the Cardinal, who personally drove his car, was already there an hour earlier. The liturgical function continued until 14.45, almost five hours! Our fear was that the rain and the wind – which characterize the rainy season – could turn the sports ground into a swamp or at least undermine the tents, leaving the shepherd – Cardinal Njue – and all his sheep underneath the water. Well, the rain came, but 15 minutes after the function was over!

Apart from these journalistic details – that make the joy of the media operators and users – our Ordinations Day represents an important stage for the Delegation of Kenya. It represents, in a certain sense, a small rebirth after a few years of commotion and dispersion. It is a confirmation that the raw material – religious vocations – are still a beautiful reality in this part of the globe. Even if only God knows how much care and concern it needs to devote to these seedlings that are fragile and easy to decay by their nature and – not infrequently – due to the inexperience (or negligence) of farmers.

I answer in advance to a question that is placed in events like this: “What will you do with all this workforce? How will these confreres filled with new energies be employed? How many will you send to Europe to give a helping hand to those who are old and crushed?” I believe that, for the moment, we must disappoint you. Ministerial activity has been fully developing in this Delegation. We have just opened a new hospital chaplaincy and one is in progress. We must reinforce the current positions where there are signs of failure. We must give opportunities to those who – sometimes for a long time – have asked for a period of studies or specialization. At the conclusion of this great celebration, which took place on April 14, 2018, led by Provincial Delegate Fr. Dominic Mwanzia, the first spontaneous feeling is to thank wholeheartedly the Lord of the harvest, who – despite human limitations – continues to call the workers for his harvest. Secondly, we must thank all those who have cultivated this harvest day after day for many years. Finally – and we say it with infinite gratitude – our thanks go to those who have contributed materially to the huge expenses of the formation houses. In our case, the Mother-Province of Northern Italy is the one with the greatest role in this sector. A heartfelt thanks, then, to all those who – in one way or another – have planted, irrigated or harvested the seedlings of Camillian vocations in Kenyan land (see: 1 Cor 3: 1-9). But let’s not stop keeping watch, because the harvest is still a lot and the workers are still a few, particularly in some parts of the globe. Paolo Guarise