KENYA: Kitui Diocese to Install New Bishop under Strict Covid-19 Guidelines

KITUI, AUGUST 28, 2020 (CISA)– Fr Joseph Mwongela will tomorrow August 28 be consecrated and installed as the fourth Bishop of the Catholic diocese of Kitui in an event that will take place under strict guidelines as prescribed by the Interfaith Council on Covid-19.

“We are in phase one of the reopening of places of worship which allows as many people as possible provided you adhere to the 1.5 meter social distancing,” Archbishop Anthony Muheria of Nyeri, the Apostolic Administrator of the Catholic Diocese of Kitui diocese, and chairman of the Interfaith Council of Covid-19 told CISA, in an interview.

The event to be held at St Charles Lwanga Secondary School will be limited to 1,500 people with the attendees expected to have identification cards distributed earlier.

In order to achieve the 2 hours 15 minutes target for the duration of the Mass, priests will not be part of the procession to the altar, and speeches will be kept short.

Archbishop Muheria noted that although the consecration ceremony involves a lot of contact of the ordaining bishop, presiding bishop and other bishops, there will be a lot of sanitizing at points of contact and on shared tools during the Mass.

Fr Joseph Mwongela was appointed bishop of Kitui by Pope Francis on March 17 and was to be consecrated within three months of the appointment as guided by the Canon Law. However with the suspension of public worship due to coronavirus, the Holy See accepted a request to delay the consecration.

“We first planned for August 8, but again we realised it could not work because of the very stringent gathering guidelines given by the interfaith council. Therefore the event was set for August 29,” Archbishop Muheria said.

The consecration Mass will be the first public religious gathering since the introduction of regulations for the first phase of reopening of places of worship amid Covid-19.

“We hope that it will set a good standard for many other people who would be wondering how to carry out this kind of ceremony with proper protocols,” the Archbishops said adding that he hoped the event will set a good example for future religious gatherings amid the Covid-19.

The event will be broadcasted live on Kenya Broadcasting Corporation (KBC) TV and Capuchin TV, and Radio Thome.