International News

For First Blind Catholic Priest in Kenya, Ordination is a ’Dream Turned Reality’

Father Michael Mithamo King’ori prays during his Jan. 14, 2023, ordination Mass at St. John Bosco Kiamuiru Primary School in the Archdiocese of Nyeri, Kenya. Ordained by Archbishop Anthony Muheria, Father King’ori is the first-ever blind Kenyan deacon to be ordained a priest. (Photo: OSV News)

By Francis Njugna

NAIROBI, Kenya (OSV News) — When Father Michael Mithamo King’ori lost his sight as a deacon, he thought his dream of becoming a priest was lost. But nothing is impossible for God, and on Jan. 15, Archbishop Anthony Muheria of Nyeri ordained Father Mithamo King’ori as the first-ever blind Kenyan Catholic deacon to become a priest.

Father King’ori could hardly hide his happiness.

“This has fulfilled my long-standing hope of being a Catholic priest,” Father King’ori told OSV News.

In a telephone interview from his Mweinga Catholic Parish in Nyeri in central Kenya, he said that “this has been a dream turning into a reality.”

He did not expect it because he thought the “journey of serving my God as an ordained priest was shattered.”

However, he said, “God has assisted me to fulfill a long-standing desire of serving him as an ordained priest.”

“He knew that he would fulfill his great promise, with (my) eyesight or not,” Father King’ori told OSV News.

Five other deacons were ordained alongside Father King’ori during Mass at St. John Bosco Kiamuiru Primary School venues.

Father King’ori became blind immediately after completing his theological studies. He has since used Braille to pursue his theological degree.

Archbishop Muheria helped the newly ordained priest to fulfill his dream and God’s plan.

“He has journeyed with me tirelessly, encouraging me then and now. He has even sponsored me to the country’s Kenya School for the Blind to study Braille. What a great caring father he is,” Father King’ori said.

Asked what he feels about being the country’s first-ever blind Catholic priest, Father King’ori said: “Simply put. God’s plan is not our plan. He has proven to me that even in the midst of this human tragedy, all is possible.”

Addressing the worshippers gathered at the ordination Mass, Archbishop Muheria said the historic ordination of a blind priest in Kenya “is a moment to also embrace that disabilities are gifts that God gives so that those people can develop other new gifts and enrich our society.”

He stressed that “when Our Lord walked on the streets of Jerusalem, Galilee, Nazareth, where he spoke to the crowds, he always had a special eye for those in need.”

Father King’ori “will help us to appreciate, in a very new way, the capacity, the ’enablement’ of people who may have a deficiency of ability because of (their) situations,” he said.

Archbishop Muheria added that Father King’ori’s ordination “is a reason for great joy because in spite of his limitation, in spite of the hurdles he has had to go through, he has come out to give testimony that disability is not an obstacle to answer(ing) God’s call, that disability is not inability.”

This, he said, “is a great wake-up call” for everybody to give opportunities to people living with disabilities.