- Inés San Martín
- Dec 12, 2017
When Bishop Dominic Kimengich was appointed auxiliary bishop of Lodwar in 2010, the bishop who had ordained him a priest asked him the equivalent of “what did you do to get sent there?”
The developing world debunks American stereotypes about most everything, including the Catholic Church. Kenya this week offered proof of the point on the categories of left v. right, women, and how big help can come in small gestures.
Reporters covering the Church go to a lot of Masses, but even by that standard, an Immaculate Conception celebration under an acacia tree in Turkana, Kenya, one of the hottest, poorest, and most abandoned places on earth, was something special.
As random as it may seem, the dioceses of Lodwar in Kenya and Kalamazoo in southern Michigan have a very tight bond. The contrasts between what it means to do mission in both places offers an important lesson in the realities of the global church.
Westerners sometimes assume that their issues are those of the entire world, and Kenya offers a terrific wake-up call. For instance, the Church here has to be concerned with “human/wildlife conflict,” such as the perils of wandering elephants that sometimes pose risks to small farmers who depend on crops they don’t want damaged by peripatetic pachyderms.
A new Catholic radio station in Mombasa, Kenya, often a hot-spot for Muslim/Christian conflict, has an expansive understanding of “evangelization.” Its audacious aim is nothing less than changing the world, or at least their piece of it.
Although the deck often seems stacked in favor of Muslim/Christian animosity, Archbishop Martin Kivuva Musonde of Mombasa, Kenya, says his city’s experience in the wake of a horrific 2015 attack by Islamic militants on a local university shows it doesn’t have to be that way.
On Tuesday afternoon, my Crux colleague John L. Allen, Jr. and I paid a visit to St. Martin Catholic Church, where 150 children put up a wildly raucous, enthusiastic and upbeat welcome for two strangers they’ll probably never see again in their lives.