The Catholic Church’s Homa Bay diocese has silenced the microphones for an ordained priest using rap to reach youths for a year for misconduct.
Father Paul Ogalo, an ordained priest of St. Monica Catholic Church in Rapogi area, Uriri constituency was suspended for a year.
The suspension took effect from June 3 after the church’s authority took issues with Ogalo’s style of preaching and wants him to ‘reconsider his manner of preaching.’
Ogalo, 45, after mass entertained his parishioners with rap music, which he said he used to urge the youth in church to abandon the ‘evil deeds of the world and turn to Christ.’
His mood of music attracted youths back to the church and he was a sensation with the faithfuls, the Star carried his story on May 08.
After each mass, Father Masaa, as he was fondly called by his congregants, would change from priests garbs into shorts and baggy shirt, completing the rap look with a red bandana before rapping.
Father Charles Kochiel, judicial vicar of the interdiocesan tribunal of Kisumu and also the dean of studies at St. Aquinnas Seminary, confirmed the priest’s suspension.
He said the priest was to first consult with bishops to find out if what he was doing was in accordance with church doctrine.
“We have suspended him for a year to give him time to reconsider his ways. Every institution has its own code of conduct and there is nothing wrong in suspending the priest for going against our code of conduct,” Fr Kochiel told Catholic News, an online news site for news in the Catholic Church.
He added: “When something is wrong, even if the crowd goes for it, it’s still wrong.”
On Sunday parishioners at St. Monicah parish said they were disappointed with the decision.
They called on the church headquarters in the country to intervene and have the suspension reversed.
“We loved him and his way of preaching to us. We liked his entertainment but we also learnt crucial message from what he used to do. It is unfortunate that he was suspended,” said Anthony Owino, a parishioner.
Owino said already church members were looking at ways to reverse the suspension since they “believe he has done no wrong.”
Norah Akinyi, a youthful parishioner, said most colleagues have stopped going to church following the decision:
“The priest has been attracting the youth to church. As a result, he has been able to influence us to shun social evils such as drug abuse. He taught us how to take care of the environment. We feel bad that he has been suspended,” said Akinyi.
She said since Ogola was suspended, the church masses have never been the same. Scores of people, both young and old, do not attend church. Besides, many activities in the church, including youth functions, have stopped.
“Catholic Church mass was changed from latin to local language, some aspects of local dances added why do they refuse when youths have to be included in the mass?” said one of the youths.
Homa Bay diocese bishop Philip Anyolo said the priest will only be suspended from conducting mass, but will continue to do other priestly duties in church.
The Star/Manuel Odeny