Glenmary Father Charles Aketch, professed his Final Oath on May 25, 2018. He was ordained a transitional deacon July 5 in his hometown of Kisumu, Kenya. Charles’ ordination to the priesthood took place April 27, 2019 in Cincinnati, Ohio.
As he grew up in Kisumu, Kenya, Charles learned to value community life from living with his parents and seven siblings, who were later very supportive of his vocation call. He attended Mass regularly with his grandmother. And his pastor mentored him, paid his high school fees, and eventually—by his example—inspired Charles to enter the seminary. “He was always present for the people, and he loved and identified with them,” he says.
He first learned about Glenmary in 2006. He learned much more at the 2013 Glenmary retreat by meeting, talking to, and praying with Glenmarians in person, before deciding the religious society was the answer to his vocation call.
“I began feeling at home (at the retreat). I admire the way Glenmary makes present the love of God and the Catholic faith in the rural areas and small towns of the United States, and the way it identifies with and serves the marginalized and the poor in those areas. I longed to work outside my own country the way the first missionaries did. And I longed to be a member of Glenmary.”
“It’s hard to leave one’s homeland,” Charles says. “But I thank the Glenmarians who came to Kenya to give the retreat I attended, and who visited my home to assure my parents I would be safe and in good hands. I was worried about the cultural differences, too. But they helped me gain courage and later prepared me psychologically for meeting and responding to the changes. Everyone’s prayers have helped a lot, too. I feel very comfortable with Glenmary’s rural ministry and with being part of their work.”