On the day the universal church celebrates the memory of the great missionary, Pope St. John Paul II (22 October), in Maralal, the diocese this Pope wanted 21 years ago, there was the episcopal ordination and installation of Mons Hieronymus Emusugut Joya, a Kenyan Consolata missionary.
The main celebrant was His Excellency Mons. Hubertus Matheus Maria Van Megan, the Apostolic Nuncio to Kenya and South Sudan, accompanied by Mons. Peter Kihara Kariuki, bishop of Marsabit and Mons. Virgilio Pante, bishop emeritus of Maralal, both Consolata missionaries.
The celebration, which was well-planned (with songs and dances according to the local culture) and amply attended saw thousands of the faithful and so many other people who came to experience this great moment of grace. Present were a good number of the Kenya’s Conference of Catholic Bishops, many Consolata missionaries, many other priests and religious, leaders of other denominations, and representatives of the government
The new Bishop, Rt Rev Joya, born in 1965 and ordained priest in 1998, has held various positions in Kenya: basic formation for future missionaries, pastoral service, leadership as vice Regional Superior and later Regional Superior of the Kenya-Uganda region. He is the second bishop of the diocese of Maralal.
The outgoing ordinary, Bishop, Virgilio Pante, IMC, who has led the diocese from its creation until now, has retired having reached the canonical age for such. His contribution to peace and reconciliation is remarkable, just as his motto: “with the ministry of reconciliation”, says so well. The church of Maralal is grateful for his tireless service, carried out with goodness, humility, courage, and so much missionary zeal in the proclamation of the Word of God and in human promotion. Heartfelt thank you for his testimony.
There are three main ethnic Nilotic groups in the zone: the Samburu, the Turkana and the Pokot, all essentially nomadic. Sometimes coexistence between them is not easy. Mutual tensions, conflicts and attacks often occur. It is for this reason that it is necessary to work for peace, forgiveness, and reconciliation. The work of the new bishop will certainly be in the same line as his predecessor, as it is evident in his motto “omnia vincit amor”, that is, love wins all.
The diocese currently has 25 diocesan priests, 2 male and 7 female congregations with 15 parishes.
Padre Godfrey Msumange imc
General Councilor, Africa