A Catholic Seminarian From Kenya Fights to Get Sisters to U.S. for Ordination
A Catholic seminarian from Kenya who has been studying in Baltimore to become a priest is battling bureaucratic red tape to try to get his family to come see his ordination, and a senator from Maryland is helping to plead his case.
Deacon Isaac Makovo, of Kenya, has been studying at St. Mary's Seminary in Baltimore and will be ordained as a priest on June 9.
It's taken Makovo nearly a decade to get to this point, and he said it's like a wedding day -- he wants his family to be here for it. But as it currently stands, Makovo's family will not be able to attend the ceremony.
"It is very, very important to have my family here because, through all the years, they are there praying for you and looking forward to that day you become a priest. It is like the biggest day in my life," Makovo told 11 News.
He said his two sisters were denied a travel visa to come to the U.S. for the ordination.
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"I was really, really sad about that. I cannot explain how sad it is that they will not be able to be with me during this occasion," he said.
Josephine and Mary Makovo still live in Kenya. Both have children. But Isaac Makovo said the reason given for denial was that the women didn't have strong family ties.
"I don't think that was the case because when I talked to my sisters, they said they were not asked that question. They were only asked one question -- how much do they make per month?" Isaac Makovo told 11 News.
An appeal is in the works, and US. Sen. Ben Cardin, D-Maryland, is helping to make the soon-to-be priest's case.
"We think it's pretty obvious they want to come over to see their brother get ordained," Cardin said. "This is something you'd think would be routine, but nothing is routine these days."
A hearing is scheduled at the consulate in Nairobi, Kenya, for May 2.
"I am hopeful, and you can always trust in God that it will be possible," Isaac Makovo said.