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Church to assess Cardinal Otunga miracles

By Brigid Chemweno | September 8th 2016

Maurice Cardinal Otunga. [Photo: File/Standard]

The late Maurice Cardinal Otunga's journey to sainthood received a boost when two miracles he performed were identified.

Vice Postulator Reginald Cruz said the beatification team received numerous reports of miracles attributed to Otunga, but they are investigating two which are of extraordinary nature.

"Because of privacy issues, I cannot say what they are, but the two show some extraordinary nature," Rev Cruz told The Standard.

He continued: "Since Cardinal Otunga died, several people have reported to us that he had worked a miracle in their favour. We have multiple reports on such. However, in order to prove that the miracle was extraordinary, we have to get medical records and various doctors affirming that it was a miracle."

The process is now in Rome where an investigation is ongoing to ascertain whether Otunga was a man of holiness or not.

Rev Cruz explained: "Diocesan work was finished in 2013. The draft of his biography has been submitted to Rome and so we are waiting for its publication. When that is published, it will be studied by two groups in Rome; the group of Theologians and Bishops. If both groups give an affirmative, saying that the biography proves that he was a man of holiness, then they will submit the findings to Pope Francis and the Pope will elevate Cardinal Otunga from being a servant of God to being venerable."

Venerable is a title that is reserved for a deceased person whose degree of sanctity has been affirmed by the Catholic Church.

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"All of us are hoping that after he becomes venerable, he will immediately become blessed. But for that to happen there needs to be an extraordinary miracle which has no scientific explanation," he added.

Nonetheless, Cruz believes that after Otunga is declared venerable, someone will receive a miracle from God through the intercession of Otunga.

"When that happens, then the Holy Father, Pope Francis, will set the date for the beatification and definitely it will be in Nairobi," he said.

Interestingly, after the beatification, there must be another miracle for him to be declared a saint in a rite of canonisation which will take place in Rome. "If the miracle is of the same nature as the first one, it will be approved again by the Pope and then Cardinal Otunga's canonisation will be scheduled and it will take place in Rome and thereafter he will become a saint," Cruz added.

Accordingly, he said the sainthood journey is a long process and no one can predict when this will happen.

He said: "The one thing we can predict is the time he will be called venerable, maybe in two to three years."

Nairobi Catholic Archbishop John Cardinal Njue while addressing a congregation yesterday at the Holy Family Minor Basilica in Nairobi during the 13th anniversary of the late Cardinal Otunga, urged Catholic faithful to pray for the beatification process.

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