New bishop named for Diocese of Kitui

| March 19, 2020 | 0 Comments

On March 17, the Diocese of Kitui, Kenya, which has a close relationship with the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis, learned it will have a new bishop.

Pope Francis appointed Father Joseph Mwongela, who has been serving as the diocese’s vicar general, as the fourth bishop of the diocese.

Since 2004, the Minnesota archdiocese has been in “a partnership of solidarity” with the Diocese of Kitui, said Deacon Mickey Friesen, director of the Center for Mission in the archdiocese. The partnership has included regular, alternating visits to each diocese and sharing faith and resources, he said.

For example, the dioceses exchange prayers of the faithful each month and a common “partnership prayer” can be used at appropriate gatherings.

The archdiocese has partnered with Kitui to increase access to water in the Kenyan diocese by helping construct water tanks, sand and earthen dams. The Kitui diocese recently shared one of its priests with the archdiocese — Father Robert Mutui arrived in late 2015 to serve two years at parishes including St. John the Baptist in Dayton.

Bishop-elect Mwongela led delegations from the Kitui diocese to the archdiocese in 2015 and 2018, and has played a key role in growing the relationship, Deacon Friesen said.

The Diocese of Kitui serves more than 240,000 Catholics and includes 82 priests and 28 parishes. Each parish serves 10 to 20 mission stations in communities with no resident priest.

The arhdiocese’s partnership was initiated as a result of the U.S. Bishop’s 2001 pastoral letter “A Call to Solidarity with Africa.”

Facilitated by Catholic Relief Services, visits are a time to exchange faith and share each other’s inner gifts, Deacon Friesen said. “We continue to deepen the relationships and discuss how we can be of mutual support to one another on our journey.”

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Category: Local News