16 scholastics from the Hekima Jesuit Community on February 18, 2023, were ordained Deacons at the Guadalupe Parish in Nairobi, Kenya.

Families, friends, and well-wishers joined Jesuits for a colourful prayer event to welcome them into the ministry of the service of God’s people. Among the 16 ordained, were other two men; one from the Carmelite of Mary Immaculate (CMI) and the other from the Congregation of Mariannhill Missionaries, (C.M.M.). The procession of the 16 Ordinandi for the Mass was comprised of the Ordaining Prelate, the Bishop of Garissa, His Lordship George Muthaka, OFM Cap., accompanied by the Jesuit Conference of Africa and Madagascar (JCAM), President Rev. Fr. Agbonkhianmeghe E. Orobator, SJ., JCAM Major Superiors, and concelebrating priests.

His Lordship George Muthaka, OFM Cap., in his homily reminded the Ordinandi of the threefold ministry of the church, which, is that they are called to be ministers to the word, to the altar, and to charity. His message to them was that of service, speaking on the Order of Diaconate, as one that is not a stage but a lifestyle, a commitment that is not transitory, he said, “You are ordained today to serve and so your ordination today is an entry into a whole life of service this is a commitment that you are called to keep until your last breath... the bishop and the priest retain their diaconal office while they minister to God's people”. The Bishop noted by giving the example of Pope Francis who whenever he washes people’s feet at the Mass on Holy Thursday evenings and takes off his vestments, he is always wearing a Deacon’s stall. He further said, “today when you are ordained a deacon, remember once a deacon always a deacon, and therefore when washing feet while wearing the diaconal stall the Holy Father is reminding us that diaconate is not something that you stay for six months but it is something that you continue with throughout your life by this ordination”.

Bishop Muthaka, also called on the Ordinandi to be courageous in response to God’s call, which comes every day through the service of the young people, the marginalised, and all those who need accompaniment in various ways. This response to the call, he said, will also come through the Superiors and sometimes they will send one to a place he does not want to go. However, to be faithful to God’s call is to say YES! A show of readiness to serve anywhere. Just like Pope Francis who since when he was elected has not forgotten the poor. The Bishop, encouraged them to stay true to the service of the poor in society today and always, saying “I remind you today don’t forget the poor”, as in Pope Francis’s example of closeness to the poor, to “be shepherds with the smell of sheep.” He further urged them to not hide at the altar, but, to stay close to the people of God, especially the poor.

The homily was followed by prayers of consecration and other rites, after which the Ordinandi were finally adorned with their stoles, and dalmatics.

Hearty congratulations to the newly ordained deacons as they respond to the call of the proclamation of the Gospel and the service of the people of God.

We pray to Mary our Mother to intercede for them as they partake in the mission of Christ and the service of the Church. We pray that God may continue to be with them and grant them the graces of this ordination as they look forward to their priestly ordination.

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