Remembering Fr. Kennedy Katongo, OMI
September 15th, 2016
Reflection by Fr. Antonio Ponce, OMI
On Wednesday, September 14 we received the sad news that Fr. Kennedy Katongo, OMI, had passed away in Rome at the age of 36. We lost a young, enthusiastic and committed missionary. Over two years ago he happily accepted the task to lead the ministry of Justice, Peace and Integrity of Creation (JPIC) for the general service of Missionary Oblates of Mary Immaculate. As part of his ministry, just a couple of weeks ago he and other Oblates, myself included, attended the World Social Forum in Montreal, Canada. There we spoke about his commitment to continue raising awareness in the congregation around issues of JPIC. It is hard to imagine that he is no longer with us. We are ever grateful for his vocation, ministry and Oblate life.
On behalf of the entire US Missionary Oblates staff, I would like to express condolences to Fr. Kennedy’s family and pray to our Lord to welcome him into his eternal home. May he rest in peace.
Fr. J. Antonio Ponce, OMI
Director, Justice, Peace and Integrity of Creation – US Province
Fr. Kennedy Katongo was born in Zambia in 1980. Before entering the Oblate pre-novitiate in Lusaka in 2000, he was a volunteer with the national program “Youth Alive Zambia,” which sponsors programs for youth about prevention of HIV/AIDS, child abuse, unemployment and poverty.
Fr Kennedy did a seminary internship in Kalabo, Zambia where he worked with the Catholic Commission for Justice and Peace (CCJP) and Youth Ministry. The CCJP offers outreach programs on civic education, trade and debt in Zambia, human rights, human trafficking, rights of refugees, access to clean water, and food security.
He graduated from the Oblate School of Theology in 2009 with a Master of Arts degree, writing his thesis on the following: “Beyond Vulture Funds: A Catholic Social Teaching Response to Zambia’s Economic Debt Reality”. He also earned a Master of Divinity degree in 2010.
In 2007, Fr. Kennedy did a summer internship at the Oblates JPIC office in Washington DC. During this time he focused on trade and debt advocacy, climate change, human trafficking and corporate engagements.
Fr. Kennedy was ordained to the priesthood in Zambia in 2010 and immediately appointed as associate pastor in Kalabo Mission and director of youth ministry in the Delegation of Zambia. Later, he was named Director of OMI-JPIC for Zambia.
In 2014, Oblates Superior General named Fr. Kennedy Katongo, OMI, Director General for JPIC in Rome, where he remained until his passing on September 14, 2016. Fr Kennedy was also representing the Oblates to the Europe Africa Faith and Justice Network (EAFJN), a coalition that lobbies the European Union and member states to promote sustainable development in Africa.