Unsuspecting parishioners in a church in Siaya County were greeted with a ‘deadly’ surprise after their bishop engineered an unsettling way of spurring them into shunning corruption.
Coming into the St Leo the Great Mban Parish one morning, the faithful were greeted by a coffin-like box at the gate and would have been forgiven for wondering whose funeral was underway.
As reported by the Daily Nation on Sunday, March 15, the parish priest, Fr Steve Clement Onyango, had placed a mirror in the coffin to shock his congregants into personalising the war against corruption.
Faithful of the St Leo the Great Mban Catholic Church line up to view a coffin-like box modified with a mirror in Siaya County on February 19, 2020.
He requested the Christians to form two queues on both sides of the box – child and adult alike then had to pass by the window-like slide of the box only to be greeted by their own reflection.
After the strange viewing, the faithful took a vow of commitment to fighting corruption in their own small ways.
Samuel Nyatata, one of the priests that organised the event, explained that even though the approach seemed a deviation from established catholic traditions, it still fell within their freedom to come up with new ways to address modern problems.
“It was not cast in stone that everyone had to go by the routine proposals. There was freedom to adapt,” he stated.
The unusual rite was a product of an initiative adopted by the Catholic Church in October 2019. Then, the Kenya Conference of Catholic Bishops (KCCB) had launched a six-month national anti-corruption campaign.
To mark that commitment, the clerics also established a new unique rite. Barefoot, with a cross in hand and adorned in a green and white ribbon on the lapel of their holy vestments, the men of the cloth led the gathered faithful at the Subukia Shrine in Nakuru County, in signing pledges to fight corruption.
Catholic Bishops sign a commitment document to fight corruption during the National Prayer Day at Subukia Shrine in Nakuru County on October 5, 2019.
The abandonment of shoes, in this case, was meant to signify their disappointment with Kenya’s disregard for God’s law and for the exploitation of the poor.
“We have launched a campaign by removing our shoes in solidarity with those who have suffered and continue to suffer as a result of corruption,” asserted the bishops present.
As per the Corruption Perception Index (CPI) released by Transparency International on January 23, Kenya scored 28 out of 100 points. A score of zero denoting highly corrupt while 100 indicates very clean.
The current global average as per the index stands at 43 while sub-Saharan Africa has an average score of 32.