By Faustin Litanda, OMI
Over the years, the Oblate Mission in Kenya has grown both in number and in resources. Until recently, we have been operating 3 parishes (St. Stephen’s, Kionyo; St. Paul’s, Kisaju, and St. Eugene’s, Irinda), but starting in November 2019, we have added another parish in Nakuru Diocese in Kenya.
Nakuru Diocese is situated in the western part of Kenya in the region of the Rift Valley. It has within it 4 counties: Nakuru county, Baringo county, Kericho county and Pokot county. This is our first presence in the Nakuru Diocese. Saint Joseph the Worker/Larmudiac Catholic Parish has existed since 1989, served by many different priests in the past. Now, it is the time for us, the Missionary Oblates of Mary Immaculate. The Parish has nine sub-stations, four bordering Mau-Forest and five others in the villages. The people living near Mau-Forest run the risk of being evicted anytime by the government in order to protect the forest. The place where the parish is located suffered in the post-election violence of 2007-2008. Many people relocated, trying to save their lives. The remains of the burnt houses tell you how bad things were at that time. The displacement has also been a cause for the reduction in the number of Christians in the area.
Most of the people in Nakuru today, are farmers with low income. Unfortunately, the Catholic population in Nakuru is very small, due to the arrival of so many Christian denominations. We are taking time to learn the mentality of the people, since we are still new to the parish and the diocese. The people are welcoming and lovely. The bishop is very supportive, and trusts us as true missionaries. He expects the Oblates to be a sign of love to the people and witnesses of the Gospel. The Diocesan clergy also seems to be happy with the Oblate presence in the diocese. As Missionary Oblate of Mary Immaculate, we hope to make our presence a unique one for the faithful in the Diocese of Nakuru.