The SSPX rejoices at the ordination of its first Kenyan priest!
All Saints Day 2013 will remain a memorable date for the African District of the Society of St. Pius X and for Holy Cross Priory of Nairobi in Kenya. On this great feast day, Bishop Bernard Fellay carried out the priestly ordination of the first Kenyan priest of the Society of St. Pius X, Fr. James Ngaruro.
The event was prepared over a long period in concert with the seminary of Winona in the United States. The seminary rector, Fr. Le Roux, Fr. Wood, and a dozen or so seminarians and brothers travelled to be present with the future Fr. Ngaruro, who completed his seminary studies in the United States after beginning them at the seminary of Goulburn in Australia.
The American clergy were setting foot on African soil for the first time. It was a new world to them. In the course of a visit to the beautiful nature reserve of Lake Nakuru, they observed the local fauna. They rode in a typical local bus and sat in long lines of Kenyan traffic, watching the flow of inhabitants walking alongside the road amongst businesses of all types. They visited the novitiate of the Missionary Sisters of Jesus and Mary in Karen. They enjoyed the welcome and the kindness of the faithful, as convinced as they of the necessity of defending the Faith. They sampled African specialties and locally produced liqueurs.
However, the main purpose of their trip was to prepare and serve the ceremony. The masters of ceremonies held long practices in the sanctuary, which was certainly narrower than the ordinations tent or the seminary chapel to which they were accustomed. The sacristans prepared the vestments and the liturgical objects, and the cantors practiced the Gregorian chant.
At Holy Cross Priory, both priests and faithful waited and prepared for the great day. The priory was scrubbed from top to bottom, tents were rented, and an audiovisual system was set up for the faithful outside the church to follow the ceremony. Meals were planned and lodgings for guests arranged; they came from all over Kenya but also from Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia and South Africa. The ladies cleaned, arranged a multitude of bouquets, and cooked; the choir practiced the hymns and the Kyriale, leaving the Propers to the seminarians. The security of the priory was tightened by night watchers and, on the day of the ceremony, a police presence.
On the morning of November 1st, everything was ready and Bishop Fellay, who had flown in from Australia on the previous day, was able to begin the ceremony on time. The congregation was recollected and aware of the extraordinary grace descending on Kenya and on all of Africa. The ordination rite and the solemn Pontifical Mass lasted several hours; never had the priory church known so long and so beautiful a ceremony. It was no doubt the first priestly ordination in the traditional rite of the Catholic Church carried out in Africa for many years. But not the last: others will follow and provide this immense continent with the priests needed to spread the Catholic Faith and the reign of Our Lord Jesus Christ.
After the Mass and the young priest’s first blessings, an enormous meal was served to 400 guests, in the course of which several of the faithful made speeches recalling, among other events, the origins of the Society’s work in Kenya, and the guests were entertained with singing from the faithful, the sisters, the seminarians, and even the young pupils from the priory school. The meal ended with a few words and a blessing from the bishop.
The next day, November 2nd, the young priest celebrated his first Solemn Mass. It was a wonderful grace to begin his priestly life with the celebration of three Masses. Fr. Ngaruro offered the Holy Sacrifice clad in black vestments for the souls of the faithful departed, in the presence of his colleagues from the seminary, his family and the faithful of the parish.
The many blessings of these days will certainly strengthen all those who fight the good fight for the Faith, sometimes in extreme isolation, and the many graces that follow will plant the desire in young men’s hearts to follow the beautiful example of these young priests. Days like these are unforgettable; they warm hearts and make them more ardent and more generous on the path to sanctification.
From our special correspondent.