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Cardinal Otunga on course to be first Kenyan-born saint

Saturday May 23 2015

 

SAMUEL KARANJA
By SAMUEL KARANJA
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The Catholic Church in Kenya is likely to witness another beatification and canonisation if the Servant of God Maurice Michael Cardinal Otunga meets the requirements.

The road to sainthood for Cardinal Otunga began in 2009 when John Cardinal Njue made a written request (petition) to the Vatican (Congregation of the Causes of Saints) that the process of his beatification and canonisation be initiated.

This was after ascertaining through documentation done by Fr Anthony Bellagaba of Consolata Missionary (now deceased) that indeed the late Cardinal had lived a life of heroic virtues.

This now ushered his canonisation process to what is referred to as the “Diocesan Stage” which was officially started on November 11, 2011 through a ceremony called First session.

During this stage, a tribunal carried out investigations regarding the life, death and life after death of Cardinal Otunga by interviewing witnesses.

The information (Acts of the Diocesan Inquiry) collected was then sealed in a closing ceremony in September 2013 and sent to the Congregation of the Causes of Saints in Rome to start the second stage — the Roman Phase. This phase has six stages and the late Cardinal is in the last which is the writing of the Positio — the official biography.

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Writing of the biography takes time because all the material has to be summarised and compiled according to the criteria of the Congregation of the Causes of Saints. Then the Holy Father will promulgate the Decree of Heroic Virtues if he is satisfied with the information provided.

Once this decree is issued, Cardinal Otunga will now be called “Venerable”.

The remaining step before beatification is the approval of a miracle, evidence of the intercessory power of the Venerable Servant of God and thus of his union after death with God.

With the Holy Father’s approval of a Decree of a Miracle, the Cardinal will then be beatified and declared “Blessed”. After beatification, the Church will look for a second miracle before proceeding to canonisation. This process can take years.