By Paschal Norbert
NAIROBI, MAY 10, 2022 (CISA) – “I look forward to making my contribution based on the experience I got from East Pokot. It hardened me for the mission and prepared me to be able to move forward without expecting so much, but emptying myself to be a true servant to fit in the situation of the people and to walk with them as they discover life and as they grow in their standards of living,” said Rev. Fr. John Mbinda, C.S. Sp., bishop-elect of the Catholic Diocese of Lodwar, in an interview with CISA on May 7.
The bishop-elect is resolved that his initial pastoral assignments as Assistant Parish Priest in charge of pastoral work in Tangulbei Catholic Mission and Parish Priest at Kositei Catholic Mission in East Pokot, for cumulative six years, formed him to understand the nature of the diocese he has been appointed to shepherd.
Fr Mbinda also pointed out that he received the news of his election as bishop with great surprise since for many years the Holy Ghost Fathers or Congregation of the Holy Spirit (Spiritans) in Kenya have not had a bishop.
The former Provincial Superior of Spiritans in Kenya and South Sudan referenced the history of the oldest missionary congregation in Kenya since 1889.
“It is the grace of God and I find it as a great moment in life because you remember the Spiritans are the ones who brought the word of God to Kenya and for many years we have not had a Spiritan bishop, we have just had two: the bishop of Mombasa and Archbishop of Nairobi, JJ McCarthy, and since then we have not had a Spiritan bishop and this came as a great surprise because the Church had come of age and I thought that the local clergy could go for this but because God has made it possible, I take it with great humility, simplicity, openness and ready to move forward to work with the clergy, religious, and laypeople in Turkana County and beyond,” the bishop-elect opined.
Moreover, Fr Mbinda praised the hard work of his predecessors in Lodwar and believes their first evangelization work deepened the faith in the diocese over the years,” I was told there are a number of baptisms which have taken place and I think also in terms of sacraments the Church has grown.”
In his message of hope and resilience, the bishop-elect pledged to work in synodality with the faithful of the Catholic Diocese of Lodwar.
“I have committed myself to be with you and to work with you and to listen, to learn from you and you learn from me and to be able to work together to uplift our faith and our standards of living together,” Bishop-elect Mbinda averred.
Fr Mbinda will be consecrated and installed on June 7 as the fourth bishop of the Catholic Diocese of Lodwar. He will also become the third Spiritan bishop in Kenya after the late Bishop Eugene Joseph Butler, C.S.Sp., emeritus of Mombasa and the late Archbishop John Joseph McCarthy, C.S.Sp., emeritus of Nairobi.