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Eastern Africa Bishops Congratulate New Archbishop for Nairobi ahead of His Installation

Arrival of Archbishop Philip Anyolo. Credit: ADN

Catholic Bishops in Eastern Africa have shared their best wishes with Archbishop Philip Anyolo on his appointment and his installation as the Local Ordinary of Kenya's Archdiocese of Nairobi (ADN). 

The installation of Archbishop Anyolo who was appointed as the Local Ordinary of the Kenyan Archdiocese on October 28 to succeed John Cardinal Njue has been scheduled for Saturday, November 20  at St. Mary’s Msongari grounds, the venue that played host to Pope Francis in November 2015 during his meeting with women and men Religious and Clergy.

In a Friday, November 19 statement, the leadership of the Association of Member Episcopal Conferences in Eastern Africa (AMECEA) says Archbishop Anyolo’s appointment “is certainly a gesture which shows the trust that His Holiness Pope Francis has in you as a leader and Shepherd of God’s flock.”

“As AMECEA Bishops, we thank God for this appointment, aware of the support which you gave to our association even when you were in the Diocese of Homabay and in Kisumu Archdiocese,” Catholic Bishops in Eastern Africa say in the letter signed by the Chairman of AMECEA, Bishop Charles Kasonde of Zambia’s Solwezi Diocese.

The Catholic Bishops whose Secretariat and institutions of learning and formation are located in Nairobi say they look forward to Archbishop Anyolo's "continued support" and pledge to collaborate with him.

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They add that Archbishop Anyolo will "certainly" be expected to carry out some responsibilities on their behalf, making reference to the operations of the two AMECEA institutions in Nairobi, that is, the Catholic University of Eastern Africa (CUEA) and the Blessed Bakanja AMECEA College (BBAC). 

"Our Grace, I extend our best wishes to you and pray that the good Lord may continue to give you good health and strength which you need to faithfully carry out the mission which our Lord Jesus and the Church have entrusted to you in the Archdiocese of Nairobi, and to do it with joy and courage," the leadership of AMECEA says.

The Catholic Church leaders in the nine countries of Eastern Africa (Eritrea, Ethiopia, Kenya, Malawi, South Sudan, Sudan, Tanzania, Uganda and Zambia) and Somalia and Djibouti as affiliate members pray that "Our Lady of Africa and Saint Joseph continue to support you (Archbishop Anyolo) with their intercessory prayers.” 

The Archdiocese that is headquartered in Kenya’s capital, Nairobi, has been vacant since January when John Cardinal Njue retired at the age of 77.

In their November 19 statement, the Catholic Bishops in Eastern Africa express gratitude to Cardinal Njue for "tirelessly" serving the Church in the region. 

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“We shall certainly miss his (Cardinal) services and sense of humor. May the Lord continue to bless him with good health as he enjoys his retirement," AMECEA members say. 

Archbishop Anyolo was ordained a Priest for the Catholic Diocese of Eldoret in 1983. He was the first Bishop of Kenya’s Diocese of Kericho, which was erected in 1995. 

In March 2003, he was appointed Bishop of Homabay, succeeding the late Bishop Linus Okok Okwach who had resigned the previous year. Bishop Okok died on 12 September 2020.

Archbishop Anyolo succeeded Archbishop Zacchaeus Okoth as the Local Ordinary of Kisumu in November 2018.

He was received in the ADN on November 19 by the Apostolic Administrator of the Archdiocese, Bishop David Kamau. 

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Upon arrival in the ADN, Archbishop Anyolo was hosted at Our Lady of Mount Carmel Ngarariga Parish and Sts. Peter and Paul Kiambu Parish before proceeding on to the Holy Family Minor Basilica where he led the Vespers, professed his faith and took a vow of faithfulness.

Once installed, the 65-year-old Archbishop who has been at the helm of Kenya’s Kisumu Archdiocese since January 2019 is expected to serve as the fifth Local Ordinary of the 3,271 square kilometer Archdiocese with an estimated population of 3,829,700 Catholics, according to 2020 statistics.