Kenya’s Newest Oblate Priest


By Very Rev. Ken Thorson, OMI, Provincial, Lacombe Oblate Province, Canada

Very Rev. Ken Thorson, OMI

Last summer Fr. Ken Thorson, O.M.I. attended the ordination of Fr. Cosmas Kithinji Kubai in Nkubu, Kenya.  Father Cosmas spent seven years in the United States preparing for the priesthood: one year at the Oblate Novitiate and six years as a student at Oblate School of Theology.  Here Fr. Ken writes about his brother Oblate’s first days as an Oblate priest.

Surrounded by family, friends and his Oblate community, Fr. Cosmas Kithinji Kubai, O.M.I. was ordained a priest in a joy-filled celebration June 8, 2019 at the minor seminary in Nkubu, Kenya.  The next day he celebrated his first Mass at his home parish in Kiirua, near Mount Kenya.

Méru Diocese Bp. Salesius Mogambi, a friend of the Oblates, presided at the liturgy and ordained Fr. Cosmas.  Close to 2,000 people attended the ceremony.  In his homily, Bp. Mogambi encouraged Fr. Cosmas to lead a simple life, to serve God’s people, and to avoid getting drawn into the culture of accumulation.

At the end of the ordination Mass, it was my pleasure to announce Fr. Cosmas’s first obedience.  He was assigned to the Kenya mission and commissioned as superior of the Oblate pre-novitiate in Nairobi.

Following the celebration, the parishioners of Kiirua served a meal for parishioners and for the family and friends of Fr. Cosmas.  Not far away, Oblate Associates from Kionyo Parish, which is just down the road from Nkubu, served a meal for the parishioners of the Oblate parish in Kisaju, a small town south of Nairobi.  The 50 parishioners from St. Paul’s in Kisaju began their four-hour bus journey at 1:00 a.m. that morning.

The next day, at his home parish in Kiirua, Fr. Cosmas celebrated a Mass of thanksgiving.  Vested for Pentecost in a red chasuble, a gift from friends in San Antonio, Texas where he had completed his studies, Fr. Cosmas presided and preached with confidence, quite comfortable in his new role.  His preaching and presiding at the Eucharist was surely the highlight of the day, followed closely by the joy expressed by the gathered community.

In a lovely moment, parishioners invited Fr. Cosmas down from the sanctuary to present him with a new suit and black shoes.  Then they lifted him onto their shoulders, singing and cheering as they carried him through the congregation.