Cardinal otunga

Servant of God




By 6 August 2008, five years had elapsed since the death of Cardinal Otunga. After private consultations with brother-bishops, members of the clergy and lay leaders, Archbishop John Cardinal Njue began setting up the canonical structures to formally initiate the Cause of Beatification and Canonization of Cardinal Otunga. On 11 May 2009, Cardinal Njue formally appointed three priests as Theological Censors who would examine the doctrinal orthodoxy of Cardinal Otunga’s writings. On that same day, Cardinal Njue formally appointed two priests and one layperson as members of the “Historical Commission” that would search for and gather the unpublished writings of Cardinal Otunga.

In all beatification causes, the task of following the course of the process is undertaken by a Postulator in behalf of the Petitioner of the Cause (who in this case is the Archbishop of Nairobi). On 6 September 2009, Cardinal Njue appointed Fr. Anthony Bellagamba, a Consolata Missionary, as Postulator of the Cause. His first major task was to write to Cardinal Njue a formal request – the so-called Supplex Libellus – to open the Cause of Beatification and Canonization. The Supplex was submitted and accepted on 30 October 2009.

Shortly after accepting the formal request of the Postulator, on 6 November, Cardinal Njue wrote to the Congregation of Causes of Saints in the Vatican – the papal office responsible for matters of beatification and canonization – to see whether there was on the part of the Holy See any obstacle to the opening of the cause. Four months later, on 1 March 2010, Archbishop Angelo Cardinal Amato, prefect of the Congregation of Causes of Saints published the decree Nihil Obstat to signify that the Cause of Beatification and Canonization of Cardinal Otunga could proceed without opposition from the Holy See.

After receiving this decree, Cardinal Njue appointed on 15 May 2010 the members of the Archdiocesan Tribunal who would be responsible for formally interviewing potential witnesses to the life and virtues of the Servant of God Maurice Michael Cardinal Otunga. These are:

Rev. Fr. Dr. Patrick Njung’e, Episcopal Delegate,

Rev. Fr. Dr. Daniel Ngure, Promotor of Justice, and

Rev. Fr. Calisto Nyagilo, Notary.

On 6 August 2010, Cardinal Njue published the Edict announcing to the faithful of the Archdiocese of Nairobi that the Cause of Beatification and Canonization has been launched. One month later, on 15 September 2010, the members of the Kenya Episcopal Conference gathered in Nakuru for their Ordinary Plenary Assembly overwhelmingly gave their approval (or placet) for the opening of the Beatification and Canonization Cause.

In the months that followed, work began on finding substantial witnesses on the life and virtues of the Servant of God, gathering his published and unpublished writings, and forming the committees that would support the financial needs of the Cause and disseminate information on the Servant of God. In the middle of all this, an unexpected tragedy took place – Fr. Anthony Bellagamba, the Postulator, died on 12 August 2012.