Ordination to Diaconate
Ordinands Vitalis Nyongesa and Alexander Munyao will be ordained Deacons in St.Augustine’s Church Coffs Harbour on the 9th April at 7pm by Bishop Geoffrey Jarrett.
Vitalis Nyongesa grew up in the western part of Kenyaon the outskirts of Mt Elgon in a place called Bungoma. He is the youngest in a family of nine children. His father died when Vitalis was two years of age, and his mother left her work as a teacher to raise her family in human values and the Catholic faith. Two special places in their family life was the local church ad the school.
Deciding to become a priest Vitalis joined the Consolata Missionaries.He was a missionary for nine years – three in Temporal Vows. As a missionary he resided in different communities including those in Italy and Uganda.
Speaking of how his interest in the Lismore Diocese came about, Vitalis said “Towards the end of my Theological studies in Rome, I felt called to become a diocesan priest.This occurred as I interacted and shared much with Priests and other fellow seminarians sentby their dioceses from around the world to study at the Urbaniana Pontifical Universityin Rome. I decided to be open to this idea and prayed about it as well. When I had made a resolution of approaching my superiors about joining my home diocese as directed by my spiritual director, I encountered Most Rev Bishop Geoffrey Jarrett, the Bishop of Lismore, through a priest friend who had also acted as my spiritual director. This is how I found my way to Australia and specifically to the Lismore diocese. Many people ask me from time to time why I want to become a priest. My response is that I passionately believe that Priesthood is where God is leading me, for my own sanctification and at the same time for the sanctification of those entrusted to me. I yearn to be able, as a priest of the Church,to continually sanctify the people of God and myself by celebrating Mass as the highest offering ever to be made, through Sacramental life and through my personal prayer life.”
Alexander Munyao was born on 25 February 1982 the sixth born child in a standard African family of nine siblings, five brothers and three sisters. The family lived in Machakos District in the larger administrative Province of Eastern Kenya. He belongs to the Kamba tribe which is the fifth largest tribe in Kenya according to the 2009 population census by the Kenya Bureau of Statistics. Alexander speaks seven local languages. He comes from a small village called Muthesya in expansive Yatta plateau overlooking the great Yatta/Mt. Kilimanjaro ridge.
Alexander likes to speak about his call to Priesthood as he looks forward to his ordination: “My call to priesthood started when I was a young boy growing up in the savannah plains of Africa. My local parish was being looked after by Irish Missionary Priests (of the Holy Ghost Fathers) and I was utterly touched by their sheer determination and call of duty to spread the word of God despite the deplorable conditions under which they worked including their undeterred efforts to master my local Kambalanguage.This challenged my young heart so profoundly that I started discerning that one day I would also become a missionary.
Just to put you in the picture, my local parish has a population of about 50 thousand people spread over a rugged geographical area the size of the entire Lismore diocese with no permanent roads. The parish is served by two priests who sometimes doubled as local teachers and agricultural extension workers at the same time. As a result, we hardly got a chance to celebrate Mass once a month.
As part of my long journey to fulfil my dreams, I joined a local minor seminary which was run by Irish Missionaries in Kenya. After successful completion I first had a short stint in the Kenya Police Services as a paramilitary soldier. In this services while on duty we were attacked severely injured but God saved me and I just survived. After sometime I left the military service and continued my journey towards priesthood by joining the Consolata Missionaries. Under their guidance I studied for 5 years in Kenya and then 3 years in Rome (Italy).
Finally my journey took me from Rome to Australia where I am currently doing my final years of formation God willing and through your prayers too.
After this phase I would like to totally dedicate my life to the service of the Church by receiving the Sacrament of Holy Orders i.e. to become a priest for the Church of God.”