Ordinations at the Provincial Vicariate of Eastern African

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On Saturday 18 May 2013, Most Revd Zacchaeus Okoth, Archbishop of Kisumu, Kenya, ordained our brothers; Leo Itabari Mwenda and Thomas Nicholas Odhiambo to the diaconate and John Baptist Ssemugabi to the priesthood. The three novitiate classmates were ordained at St. Theresa's Cathedral of Kisumu, in western Kenya where our brothers have their priory, St Martin de Porres which houses the Novitiate and the Postulancy.

Archbishop Okoth based his homily on O Sacrum Convivium, the prayer composed by St Thomas Aquinas. He emphasized particularly the aspect of the mind/soul being filled with grace and linked this to our prayer life, saying that a preacher who does not pray cannot have his mind/soul filled with grace.

The Archbishop’s fondness towards the Dominican dates back to his days at the St. Thomas Aquinas Major Seminary, the national seminary in Kenya that was established by the Dominicans in the 1960’s when they first worked in Kenya. He amused the faithful when he said that he was ‘half Dominican and half diocesan’. The Archbishop has been very supportive of the Dominican ministries in his diocese, where the brothers’ novitiate community stands a few meters from his residence.

It should be noted that this is the first time the brothers are having an ordination in Kisumu after many years. Previously they have always been held in the brothers’ home parishes and recently in Nairobi. The joy was great for the Dominican family, the natural family and friends.

Bro. John Baptist Ssemugabi is from Hoima in Uganda while the other two; Leo Itabari Mwenda (Meru) and Thomas Nicholas Odhiambo (Kisumu) are Kenyans. They all entered the Order in 2005, made their first profession in 2006 and their solemn profession in 2011. John Baptist was ordained a deacon in 2012 and he has been the Assistant Novice Master in Kisumu. Bros Leo and Thomas are currently in their fourth year of Theology at Tangaza College, Nairobi. We thank God for the gift of three new labourers in his vineyard and we congratulate our three brothers

The Provincial Vicariate of Eastern Africa vicariate was established in 1991 by the friars of St Joseph Province, New York. Although, the territory of the Vicariate comprises; Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda and South Sudan, for the moment, the brothers are present only in Kenya with three communities, namely, St Dominic and St Catherine of Siena in Nairobi, and St Martin de Porres in Kisumu.

Bro. Gabriel Samba, OP (Socius for Africa)
(28 May 2013)