Njue urges leaders to unite as Otunga sainthood in top gear
Bernard Gitau @benagotau
The head of the Catholic church in Kenya, John Cardinal Njue, yesterday urged Kenyans to pray for unity of leaders in the country.
Speaking during the 17th anniversary of his predecessor, Maurice Cardinal Otunga, whose beatification process is in its final stages.
Njue said there is need for leaders to avoid confrontations for the sake of peace in the country.
“Let us pray for all our leaders, for them to be instrumental in uniting us and avoid confrontation and divisions that will push us to deeper problems,” he said.
Father Lawrence Njoroge, the newly appointed Vice Postulator said Otunga was a true reflection of Christ. Njoroge is leading the journey of the late Otunga to sainthood.
“Otunga was a wise person, he could read the mind of cunning and tricky characters,” said Njoroge.
He revealed what transpired when Otunga offered him a job as Education secretary in the Diocese of Nairobi- a job he never liked.
“He invited me to his house in Lavington and after the offer, I told him I had a health issue and was not up to the task.
I thought I had convinced him but the following day, he sent his secretary with the letter of appointment with only three sentences,” he said.
Ordained as a priest of the Archdiocese of Nairobi in 1981 by Otunga, Njoroge recalled the cardinal’s impact in his education and career.
“He sent me for higher education; he contacted the University of Notre Dame in Indiana, USA, in order for me to do both theology and education,” he said.
Currently, Njoroge is going through the late cardinal’s biography to seal the gaps. The beatification will be the second in Kenya and Africa, after the first one in Nyeri of Sister Irene ‘Nyaatha’ Stefani five years ago.
The road to sainthood for Otunga began in 2009 when Njue made a petition to the Vatican.
The petition is the first step in the process of beatification and canonisation which has two phases; Diocesan and the Roman one.
Diocesan work ended in 2013 after it was launched in 2011 and the draft of his biography was submitted to Rome and is awaiting publication.
The process is in the last stage which is the writing of the Positio — the official biography. When published, it will be studied by two groups in Rome; the group of Theologians and Bishops.
If the groups unanimously give an affirmative, saying that the biography proves that he was a holy man, they will submit the findings to Pope Francis, who will elevate Otunga from being a servant of God to being Venerable.
Sainthood journey is a long process and no one can predict when Otunga’s will end.