In the Kenya Conference of Catholic Bishops’ (KCCB) Strategic Plan of 2014 to 2023, the Commission for Interreligious Dialogue and the Commission for Ecumenism are separate. The two were, however, merged through a resolution of the Plenary Assembly of the Bishops in 2019 into the Commission for Interreligious Dialogue & Ecumenism (CIRDE).
CIRDE aims to promote and restore mutual understanding, unity, peace and reconciliation, collaboration respect and tolerance among different religions to ensure peaceful co-existence and harmony among other religious groups. The Commission is also made to collaborate and work closely with other Christian Churches in Kenya to promote, restore and implement Christian Unity at both the National level and grassroot levels.
To bring mutual understanding and respect among faiths and religions through advocacy, inclusivity, collaboration & by recognising each religion’s diversity.
This is achieved through:
- Planning and carrying out trainings for the diocesan coordinators on inter-religious dialogue and ecumenical activities.
- Sharing knowledge on interreligious dialogue and ecumenical matters through meetings, dialogue forums, workshops, joint prayers and publications to create space for mutual understanding and respect among different religions and Christian churches.
- Researching on interreligious dialogue and ecumenism to develop a database to inform CIRDE initiatives.
- Developing and publishing sufficient materials on interreligious dialogue and ecumenism.
- Fostering a strong network to enhance collaboration among different faiths/religions
CIRDE envisions a harmonious & peaceful world, where every religion is respected.
- Faith: The goal and grounding of all that we do is our shared faith in Jesus Christ; we seek to be faithful to God and committed to our journey together.
- Holiness: Willing to be opened and changed by God as we connect with each other and meet together in the Lord; experiencing God’s holiness as we spend time together in prayer and seeking to be reconciled in Christ.
- Respect: Respecting and seeking to understand each other’s beliefs; we are aware of our diversity while recognising the presence of Christ in each other as we seek to understand the fullness of God’s revelation for the world.
- Hope: Hoping in Christ and living in the power of the Holy Spirit sustaining us and fuelling our courage; we are courageous in our vision and mission having the strength together to fulfil our reason to be.
- Witness: Witnessing to God’s kingdom of justice, peace and reconciliation through word and action; and to our common discipleship in the way we live and work together; and also, as we listen to the world in which we live and serve.
It is the ultimate goal of the Catholic Church to strengthen CIRDE structures in the dioceses and that the commission becomes a permanent feature in each diocese. This goal is derived from the Vatican II documents, which indicate that the Catholic Church takes the upper hand in interreligious and interfaith dialogue.
Annul General Meeting
The 2021 Annual General Meeting of the Commission for Interreligious Dialogue and Ecumenism took place from the 15th of November to the 19th of November 2021 at the JJ McCarthy Center in Nairobi. Compared to the 2019 and 2020 AGM, the number of participants increased constantly from 14 and 39 respectively to 53 in 2021. With every Diocese having a representative for CIRDE, the Commission has established a strong basis in Kenya. In 2021, for the first time, CIRDE invited also Youth representatives, as well as women and men groups from the Catholic Church.
During the AGM, the participants were actively engaged in various presentations on monitoring & evaluation, women in interreligious dialogue, the Popes encyclical “Fratelli Tutti”, proposal writing, politicization of religions, religious extremism and exercises in praying together. These inputs provided the participants with an enriching content to further strengthen their work in the respective Dioceses. The AGM with its review of activities of the Dioceses and the National office of the past year functions also as a training of trainers for the participants who are asked to multiply their gained knowledge in their institutions.
It was widely viewed by the participants that the AGM provided new knowledge and deepened their understanding of interreligious and ecumenical dialogue. The attendance of the chair Bishop Lagho, CIRDE underlined its momentum and importance to the Catholic Church. With the ideas and concepts shared during the one-week meeting, the participants went back to their institutions to share these with fellow colleagues and enrich their future activities.
We thank all participants for the active participation and the continued interest in interreligious and ecumenical dialogue as we continue to journey together with our partners throughout Kenya in 2022.
Week of Prayer for Christian Unity
For the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity, throughout Kenya, the Diocesan Commission for Interreligious Dialogue & Ecumenism (CIRDE) engaged in ecumenical dialogue through shared masses and celebrations. This week is celebrated annually in the middle of January.
In Meru, for example, Christian Unity prayers were held for all the seven days of the week. The joint prayers were used for meetings with religious leaders from various Christian denominations.
In Malindi, the CIRDE chairman Rt. Rev. Wilybard Lagho let together with other religious leaders an ecumenical ceremony on 29th of January 2022.
In Ngong Diocese, they held an ecumenical mass at the Catholic Church of St. Mary’s Ongata Rongai on the 25th of January 2022.
Institute for Interreligious Dialogue
and Islamic Studies (IRDIS)
Kenyan Catholic Diocesan CIRDE Offices