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Fr Eddie Khaemba CSSP (Geraldton Diocese)

More than 12,000km from his home and family in Kenya, Fr Eddie Khaemba CSSP says while it has taken some time to become accustomed to life in a new country, he feels completely at home now as one of Australia’s many migrant priests. Source: The Bridge.

The youngest child of a family of 17, Fr Eddie (as he is best known) was ordained in 2011 in Kenya for the Congregation of the Holy Spirit – often known as Holy Ghost Fathers or Spiritans – an international religious congregation with members based in almost 50 countries around the world. Australia is home to nine active and two retired Spiritan priests.

During his seven years in the Western Australian dioceses of Broome and Geraldton, Fr Eddie said he quickly observed great benefits from getting involved in the lives of community members.

“When I was in Broome, what helped me was going out for activities like camping and fishing, and getting involved in sports,” he said.

“When you go out and involve yourself in those activities, you meet people in their original state.”

Unlike his home in Kenya, where priests have to sneak away from large crowds of people seeking them, Fr Eddie said the Australian context requires priests to go out to the people.

“In Africa, the people come to us, but here you have to make an effort after Mass to stand outside the church and say ‘hello’ to people,” he said. “It’s so different, and that’s why, as a new priest, you really need to take time just to learn the culture.”

Now based at Holy Spirit Parish in Bray Park, in the Brisbane Archdiocese, Fr Eddie said his advice for migrant priests coming to Australia is to participate in the regular activities and gatherings of the community as much as possible and to be patient.

“Take time to learn, because we do things differently where we come from,” he said. “Don’t be in a rush to make an impression, don’t be in a rush to solve things, don’t be in a rush to prove what you are worth. Just take time and learn from the people; and join them in their activities because I think that’s very helpful in getting used to the culture.”


From Africa to regional Australia: Fr Eddie’s missionary journey (By Matthew Biddle, The Bridge)