Profiles in Catholicism
 

An Interview with Father Joseph Mungai, FMH


by
Gordon Nary





 

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Gordon:   When did you received you vocation, with whom did you discuss this, and what was their advice?
     
Fr. Joseph:

 
 

I can't say exactly when I received the vocation but as young as I was 10 years. I admired the priests who were serving in my parish back in Kenya and as soon as I started serving at the altar at the age of 12 years, I grew up knowing that I wanted to be a priest. When I finished secondary school, I shared it out with my parish priest and he gave me the address of The Franciscan Missionaries of Hope. My mother did not object it, so I went ahead. My parents had separated when I was only 5 years old, so I was brought up by my Mother.

     
Gordon:   Where did you attend seminary and what were your favorite courses ?
     
Fr. Joseph:   I attended seminary formation in Kenya. First I did the postulate year 2005-2006,then  in 2006- 2007 I did my novitiate year  After that I proceed to philosophical studies until 2010, then from 2010- 2014/ I did my theological studies. I was very interested In political philosophy, Canon Law and Liturgy.
     
Gordon:   What percentage of Kenya is Catholic and what are some of the pressing spiritual challenges in Kenya?
     
Fr. Joseph:   Kenya is country with freedom of religion. So you will find all kinds of religions in Kenya. Christianity forms the highest percentage with Catholics being 30% of the population. Just like any part of the world,  secularism is great danger to Christianity but also culture brings in some challenges. A certain percentage could still subscribe to African traditional culture.
     
Gordon:   Where you initially assigned when you became a priest? Please share with our readers some of the initial challenges that you faced.
     
Fr. Joseph:

































































 
 

My first appointment right after my priestly ordination on June 7th 2014 was in St John the Apostle,  Awasi, Kisumu (Western part of Nairobi) which is 250 Miles from my birthday place. In that assignment I was first to learn the new language because in Kenya we have 43 different languages and my mother tongue is Kikuyu, where I was sent they speak Luo. So I had to struggle with the new culture.  Being a remote parish, I had to struggle with the means of transportation. It's a very vast parish with  close to 7,000 families, 21 mission churches, 30 primary schools and 11 secondary schools. It also had 18 mission churches attached to it.

So the challenge of reaching out to all these people was unbearable  So through my twitter friends, they helped me raise some funds for a small saloon car which could not manage to move around the parish due to poor roads and  floods during the rainy season.

But the main challenge which still remains is accessibility to clean drinking water. People would walk for miles to get water from rivers and dams which was not clean, so there were a number of diseases associated to dirty water and I feared for my life.

Where I come from that is my birth village we still face the same challenge of accessing clean drinking water but unlike my former parish, in our area we do not have any river flowing or any lake near by.

 

 

 

The only way to access this water is to drill a borehole which is extreme expensive to do.

Many of us have no idea what it's like to be thirsty. We have plenty of water to drink in the United States.  But many people around the world don't have that luxury. Every day, about 1,400 children  throughout the world die from diseases caused by unsafe water and poor sanitation.

     
Gordon:  

The life-threatening water shortage crisis in Kenya caused your mother's death. Please explain the bore hole project for which you are seeking donations that will be dedicated to her memory.

     
Fr. Joseph:




 
  The borehole that intend to drill in honor to my late Mum, is because according her medical report, lack of water in her body contributed to her health deterioration. 

We mostly rely on rain water or community provide water by the government but as many of you could be aware, in African and in most parts of the world the governments' projects are not the best to run. So with lack of water provision in December; many families went without water and yet it was on dry season. The borehole intend to have will benefit close to 2000 families a primary school and a secondary school in the neighborhood. I have already done the geologist study which has indicated that the water table is 300 metres down and will be charged between $85-100 per metre. We will again need to install the electricity, buy awater pump, built a water tower, lay underground pipes, etc  So my estimation would amount to &50,000 in total cost

     
Gordon:   Where can people send donations to support this life-saving project?
     
Fr. Joseph:   Donations should be sent to Water With Blessings.  Please send donations to Sr Larraine@waterwithblessings.org with a notation that they are for Father Joseph Mungai's Mum's well.
     
Gordon:   Your online homilies are great  How helpful has Pinterest been in helping you evangelize?
     
Fr. Joseph:   I came to know them online and every time I sent them my typed homilies they post them on their website.
     
Gordon:   When were you transferred to the United States and where do you serve?
     
Fr. Joseph:   I was transferred to the USA in the month of November 2017. I had to go back towards the end of December for my Mum's funeral and I stayed with my brother and sisters in January before I came back early February to begin my hospital ministry as a Chaplain .
     
Gordon:



 
  We ask or readers to send a donation to Water With Blessings. We realize that  people are often requested to make donations. However, this is in many ways a pro-life challenge. We need to ask ourselves what the dollar value of a human life is, and then send a donation in any amount.

We also ask our readers to say a prayer that you will be successful in helping get donations to a life-saving well for your village in remembrance of your Mum.

We also suggest that parishes consider taking up a special collection for our Kenyan bothers and sisters in Christ to provide the clean water that they need to survive.