The Joy of 50 Year of Priesthood

December 27 this year, as we celebrate the feast of St. John Apostle and Evangelist, the patronal saint of our parish, I celebrated with you the joy of my 50 years as a priest. As I look back over these 50 years, I feel that God has been so generous to me. The journey that I started on December 14, 1968, has been extraordinary. I vividly remember that Ordination day at the Basilica of the Holy Family in Nairobi as I lay prostrate to give myself totally to God as the congregation prayed the Litanies of the Saints asking for their intercession for me. I remember being called forward for the prayer of Ordination by Archbishop John J. McCarthy followed by the imposition of hands by the archbishop and all the priests present. I recall the archbishop consecrating my hands with Holy Chrism and binding them with a purificatory. With my hands still bound, I was called to kneel before the archbishop to declare my obedience to him and all his successors. This whole day was deeply moving. My soul glorifies the Lord for that day of my ordination; that day that God set me apart to serve his people.

The highlights of my 50 years of priestly ministry may be divided into three: 1) Faith formation of adults (priests, religious men and women, and lay Catholic) from 1976 to 1982; 2) Official of the Vatican Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity from 1986 to 2006 and 3) Pastor of St. John Apostle & Evangelist from 2011 to present. These three moments for me have been the most enriching in my vocation. I saw growth in the people I served and the people also helped to deepen my priestly vocation. Let me just highlight my experience here at St. John Apostle & Evangelist. Being pastor here at St. John's given me a challenge to first get to know where the parish was and what the needs were and how to realize these needs. Our Parish 5-Year Planning was an important process for the whole parish to identify the priorities and plan together on a strategy of implementing these priorities. This also gave me the opportunity to reform the parish in view of these priorities in order to be the parish that God intends for us to be in the 21st century. These seven years as your pastor have been my best productive years, thanks to your challenge that drove me to be more creative in responding to the emerging needs. St. John’s is a wonderful parish to lead, only if one is humble enough to tap the many resources you all bring into our parish family. The joy of my priesthood is due to you for making me a better priest in these seven years here at St. John’s.

May God bless all who have touched my life in my priestly ministry these 50 years. A blessed Christmas season and Happy New Year 2019.

Monsignor John S. Mbinda