Newly Ordained Catholic Bishop in Kenya Commits to Fostering Peace in His Episcopal See

Bishop Hieronymus Emusugut Joya of Kenya's Catholic Diocese of Maralal unveiling his coat of arms during his Episcopal ordination. Credit: Catholic Information Service for Africa (CISA)

The newly Consecrated Bishop of the Catholic Diocese of Maralal in Kenya has committed himself to fostering peace in his Episcopal See.

Bishop Hieronymus Emusugut Joya who was explaining the symbols that will define his Episcopal Ministry captured in his Coat of Arms at the end of the October 22 Ordination event acknowledged with appreciation efforts toward peace that his predecessor, Bishop Virgilio Pante made in the Diocese that covers Kenya’s Samburu County. 

The inhabitants of Samburu County have been in conflict with their neighboring Turkana County counterparts as a result of cattle rustling and theft, gender-based violence, as well as intra and inter-ethnic rivalries. 

“As I start my Episcopal duties in this Diocese, I intend to enlighten about love that cuts across divides, and through this, we will be able to address the challenge of insecurity in this Diocese,” Bishop Joya said.

He said that though his predecessor “dwelled on peace and reconciliation” in the 21 years he served as the Local Ordinary of the Diocese located in the Northern part of Kenya, violent conflicts have not yet been overcome. 


For this reason, the 57-year-old member of the Institute of Consolata Missionaries (IMC) invited the people of God in the Kenyan Diocese “to reflect on the importance of love that may help us to address the ills that our Diocese is facing.” 

Bishop Joya was appointed to head the Diocese of Maralal that had been left vacant after Pope Francis accepted the retirement of Bishop Pante in July.

Prior to his Episcopal appointment, Bishop Joya had been serving as lecturer and formator at the Consolata Institute of Philosophy in Nairobi, Kenya.

In his maiden speech during the October 22 event held at the Allamano Grounds in Maralal, Bishop Joya explained the symbols in his Coat of Arms, which he said “is hinged on the virtue of love because God Himself is love and that Jesus instituted love as the greatest commandment.”

At the top of the Coat of Arms is a green hat with 12 ropes. Within the green cap is a red zucchetto. The ropes represent the 12 apostles while the zucchetto symbolizes service to the people of God even to the extent of dying while defending faith, the new Bishop of Maralal explained. 

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The zucchetto “represents martyrdom that is spiritually or physically given”, Bishop Joya further said, adding that other elements on his Coat of Arms include a shield, a dove, a Bible, two sheep, mountains and the image of Mary. 

He newly Ordained Kenyan Bishop said that the shield represents Christ who died on the cross because of His love for humanity. Inside the shield on the top left is the hand of God representing the presence of God who “blesses and directs our life”, he further said.

The dove represents the Holy Spirit who fosters peace, he went on to say, adding that the dove has a ray of light that goes directly to the word of God.

The image of Mary on the right side of the shield, Bishop Joya said, indicates that Maralal is one of the Dioceses under the patroness of the Blessed Virgin Mary and that the people of God in the Kenyan Diocese count on Mary’s intercession to reach her son and God.

“At the center of the shield is the Bible, which feeds us with the Word of God and to also direct our life,” the native of Kenya’s Bungoma Diocese who is the immediate former Regional Superior of IMC members in Kenya and Uganda said. 


He said the male and female sheep in his Coat of Arms indicate that God created human beings as male and female and that service should be to all people regardless of their gender.

The mountains indicate that God speaks to His people on mountains, the IMC member who previously served as Diocesan Pastoral Coordinator and Director of Blessed Joseph Allamano Pastoral Centre of Maralal Diocese said during the October 22 celebration.

Bishop Joya is the second Local Ordinary of the 20,809 square kilometer Maralal Diocese.   According to 2020 statistics, the Kenyan Episcopal See has an estimated population of 83,760 Catholics.

Silas Mwale Isenjia is a Kenyan journalist with a great zeal and interest for Catholic Church related communication. He holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Linguistics, Media and Communication from Moi University in Kenya. Silas has vast experience in the Media production industry. He currently works as a Journalist for ACI Africa.