KENYA: Pope Appoints Vicar General of Eldoret Auxiliary Bishop

By Paschal Norbert

ELDORET, MARCH 29, 2024 (CISA)- Pope Francis has appointed Fr John Kiplimo Lelei as auxiliary bishop of the Catholic Diocese of Eldoret, currently the Vicar General of the same diocese, and assigned him the titular See of Monte di Numidia.

Bishop-elect Lelei becomes the second auxiliary bishop of Eldoret after the late Bishop Emilio Njiru who died in 1970, barely a year into his episcopate. He will assist the 62-year-old Rt Rev Dominic Kimengich, the bishop of Eldoret in running the diocese.

Fr John Kiplimo Lelei was born on August 15, 1958, in Soy, Uasin Gishu County, in the Catholic Diocese of Eldoret. He studied philosophy at St. Augustine’s Senior Seminary in Mabanga and theology at St. Thomas Aquinas Major Seminary in Nairobi.

He was ordained a priest on October 26, 1985, for the Catholic Diocese of Eldoret.

He has held the following positions and carried out further studies: Doctorate in Theology, with specialization in Liturgy, at the Universit├Ąt Wien; Parish Vicar in Suwerwa and Chepterit from 1985 to 1987; parish priest in Yamumbi, Suwerwa, Chepterit and Tachasis, and Vicar Forane of the Deanery of Kitale and Nandi from 1987 to 1996; Parish collaborator of St. Brigitta and Zum Gottlichen Erloser, in the Catholic Archdiocese of Vienna from 1996 to 2002; parish priest of St. Patrick in Kapcherop from 2002 to 2003; and parish priest of St. Boniface in Tindinyo from 2003 to 2007.

He was a teacher at the following institutes: AMECEA Pastoral Institute of Gaba from 2003 to 2004; Institute of Development Studies in Kobujoi from 2004 to 2009 and at St. Matthias Mulumba Senior Seminary-Tindinyo from 2003 to 2008; parish priest of St. Peter’s in Kapsabet from 2007 to 2008; Teacher and trainer at the St. Matthias Mulumba Senior Seminary in Tindinyo from 2008 to 2017; Rector of St. Thomas Aquinas Major Seminary in Nairobi from 2017 to 2023.

He was appointed Vicar General of the Catholic Diocese of Eldoret on August 28, 2023, by Bishop Kimengich.

From the 2019 National census, the area covered by the Catholic Diocese Eldoret, which includes the counties of Uasin Gishu, Elgeyo Marakwet and Nandi, has a total population of 2, 503, 377. The Catholic population in the diocese is estimated to be around 890,000 with 101 parishes and 5 chaplaincies.