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Beatification of Otunga in final stages, Cardinal Njue says

Monday January 21 2019

Maurice Otunga

Kenyatta University Vice Chancellor Paul Wainaina (left) presents a gift to Cardinal John Njue at the university on January 20, 2019. Mr Njue said Maurice Otunga's beautification is ongoing. PHOTO | MARY WAMBUI | NATION MEDIA GROUP 

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Cardinal John Njue on Sunday said the beatification of Cardinal Maurice Otunga is in its final stages, calling on Kenyans to pray for the success of the process.

Speaking at Kenyatta University where he presided over a special mass to promote the awareness and progress of beatification, Cardinal Njue said Otunga - whom he described as humble and selfless - should be emulated.

"Be instruments of unity. Focus on the positive side of others and not where they come from or their shortcomings. Let us shun negative ethnicity, corruption, greed and utterances that make the country bleed," Cardinal Njue said.

The mass was attended by Kenyatta University Vice Chancellor Paul Wainaina who cautioned the youth against engaging in crime.


Cardinal Otunga was born in 1923 and died in 2003 at the age of 80.

The following year, Cardinal Njue announced that the cause of beatification and canonisation of Otunga had been officially launched.

According to the Roman Catholic Church, beatification and canonisation are initiated on three categories of candidates: a person who has died defending the faith through martyrdom, a person who lives an ordinary life in an extraordinary manner and whose virtues impressed the people he shared life with, and a person whose writings impressed people’s spiritual life in a deep way.

Otunga falls in the second category, Cardinal Njue said. Beatification is in two phases: diocesan and Roman.

During the diocesan phase, the petitioner chooses a postulator to compile the theological, historical and moral information required to ascertain the holy life of the candidate.

The petitioner then sends the written proof with a request to the Vatican. When accepted, the candidate assumes the title “Servant of God”.


The petitioner appoints a postulator and his assistant, where necessary, to spearhead the process and a tribunal to interrogate witnesses.

All the documents relating to Cardinal Otunga's life and post life virtues were collected in a huge biography that was publicly sealed and sent to the Vatican for validation.

That is when the Roman phase of the beatification began.

In January 2014, the Vatican sent a decree of validity of Cardinal Otunga's biography and the writing of a posisio — a comprehensive biography — started.

The posisio is written by a postulation team under the guidance of a representative of the Vatican.

Once completed, the posisio will be sent to Rome for evaluation. "The team has been working and defending the posisio since 2014, a long process that entails scrutinising Cardinal Otunga's documents from birth to his death and even after death.

"We are waiting for them to approve the biography after which the cardinal shall be declared venerable, and the process of scrutinising a miracle attributed to him shall begin," Sr Esther Gichugu, the vice postular, said.