Pioneer of South Sudan Apostolic Nunciature Appointed Bishop for Kenya’s Bungoma Diocese

The Bishop-elect of Kenya’s Diocese of Bungoma, Mons. Mark KadimaCredit: Radio Bakhita/Twitter

The Catholic Priest who spearheaded the establishment and official opening of the South Sudan Apostolic Nunciature as its pioneer Chargé d’Affaires has been appointed Bishop for the Catholic Diocese of Bungoma in Kenya. 

The Episcopal appointment of Mons. Mark Kadima by Pope Francis was published by the Holy See Press Office on Tuesday, December 14.

In the East African nation, the Apostolic Nuncio in Kenya and South Sudan sent an official letter to the Kenya Conference of Catholic Bishops (KCCB), communicating the appointment of the Kenyan-born Vatican diplomat.

“I have the honour and pleasure to inform you that Pope Francis has appointed the Reverend Monsignor Mark Kadima as Bishop of Bungoma,” Archbishop Bert van Megen announced in his letter to KCCB.

The Diocese of Bungoma has been vacant since June 2018 following the transfer of Bishop Norman King’oo Wambua to Kenya’s Machakos Diocese.


The Diocese that is situated in Western Kenya has been under the leadership of Bishop Joseph Obanyi Sagwe of the Catholic Diocese of Kakamega as Apostolic Administrator.

Mons. Kadima who spearheaded the establishment, official opening, and operations of the Juba-based South Sudan Apostolic Nunciature since his appointment as Chargé d’Affaires on 1 July 2018 is a member of the Clergy of Kakamega Diocese in Kenya.

Credit: Courtesy

The 57-year-old Bishop-elect was enrolled at the Rome-based Pontifical Urbaniana University first as a Seminarian, obtaining bachelor degrees in Philosophy and in Theology.

As a Deacon, he studied a master’s degree in Canon Law at the same institution where he also obtained his doctorate in Canon Law after he had been ordained a Priest in October 1993.

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Before joining the Pontifical Ecclesiastical Academy for training to serve in the diplomatic corps in 1999, Mons. Kadima had served in various positions in his native Diocese of Kakamega, including Parish ministry, Rector of St. Peter’s Minor Seminary, member of the College of Consultors Diocesan Canon Law Advisor, member of Diocesan Renewal Program Implementation Team of the African Synod, member of the Board of Governors and Canon Law Society of Kenya, and member of the Kisumu Metropolitan Ecclesiastical Tribunal, among others.

In the last 20 years, since he completed his training at the Pontifical Academy in 2001, Mons. Kadima has served in over half a dozen Apostolic Nunciatures as a Vatican diplomat, including Colombia, Angola, Ghana, Bangladesh, Greece, Brazil, and South Sudan.

Announcing the appointment of the Bishop-elect to members of the Clergy, women and men Religious, and Laity who gathered at St Patrick's Pastoral Centre Kabula in Bungoma Diocese on December 14, the Apostolic Nuncio in Kenya and South Sudan recognized the vast experience Mons. Kadima has had over the years of his service as a Vatican Diplomat.

“We have been looking around for a long time, but we thought that he, with the experience he has, with the background he has, he might be the best choice at this point for Bungoma; because he knows a lot already about Bungoma itself; many of you know him, and he knows many of you … it is good that we try to receive him,” Archbishop van Megen said.

The Nuncio added, “The good thing about Mons. Mark Kadima is that he has had a lot of experience … He went through many countries … and he followed the Church in Kenya always very closely. I have been his Nuncio for a while and I can tell you he knows the Church in Kenya much more than I do; and also the Diocese of Bungoma, in many ways he knows much more than I do; he has very much inside knowledge about the Diocese.”


Speaking at the same event, the Apostolic Administrator of Bungoma Diocese thanked the Apostolic Nuncio for facilitating the appointment of the new Bishop for the Kenyan Diocese, which he said currently has 83 Priests serving in 43 Parishes and Catholic institutions.

Bishop Obanyi further acknowledged with appreciation the decision of the Holy Father to appoint a Local Ordinary for Bungoma Diocese saying, “We take the appointment with a lot of love and faith.”

Speaking to Kenya-based Capuchin Television soon after the news of the appointment of Mons. Kadima became public, members of the Clergy of Bungoma Diocese expressed their excitement, thanking God for the gift of a Bishop after a three-year period.

“What a joy that God has granted us a Bishop, Mark Kadima. We have welcomed him with all our hearts. We are happy about the news of his appointment because for a period of three years, we did not have a Local Ordinary,” Fr. Martin John Wanyonyi said.

Fr. Wanyonyi, “The Apostolic Administrator has been overwhelmed with Episcopal duties; with this news of the appointment of a new Bishop, it is happiness for the Catholic Diocese of Bungoma.”

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“We have a Bishop who will take up and continue evangelization in our beloved Diocese of Bungoma. We are grateful to the Apostolic Administrator who has been taking care of us in the Diocese; from his care, we now have a new Bishop,” the Kenyan Priest said.

Another member of the Clergy of Bungoma Diocese, Fr. Peter Masiga, said, “We thank God for the Bishop-elect, Mons. Mark. We pray that God protects and blesses him to fulfil well his Episcopal ministry. Bishop-elect, welcome to Bungoma, welcome home.”

On his part, the Bishop-elect said, “I thank you all for welcoming me to the Diocese. We shall continue to communicate effectively. I just request that you pray for me, for the Diocese, and for all the people of God so we may succeed in the service.”

In his message after learning about the Papal appointment, the Governor of Bungoma County extended his congratulations to the Bishop-elect in a Facebook post saying, “I take this singular honor and opportunity to congratulate Rev. Monsignor Mark Kadima on his appointment by the Holy Father Pope Francis as Bishop of the Catholic Diocese of Bungoma. On behalf of the people of Bungoma, I extend our warmest welcome into the County.”

Governor Wycliffe Wangamati also expressed his “warmest gratitude to the Bishop of the Catholic Diocese of Kakamega, Joseph Obanyi, for the spiritual guidance while he served the Apostolic Administrator of Bungoma.”

“As a government, we commit to continue working with the Catholic Church in service of our people and for the sake of humanity,” says the Governor his December 14 Facebook post. 

In a separate message shared with ACI Africa, the Deputy Governor of Bungoma County described Mons. Kadima’s appointment as “good news from the Kenya Conference of Catholic Bishops.”

“We want to assure him of our unwavering support as he executes God’s mandate upon his people,” Ngome Kibanani says in his December 14 message.

Once he is ordained a Bishop, Mons. Kadima is expected to oversee the Kenyan Diocese that has a population of 685,976 Catholics, according to 2018 statistics

The 4,540 square-kilometer Catholic Diocese that was erected in April 1987 is part of the Ecclesiastical Province of Kisumu.

Magdalene Kahiu is a Kenyan journalist with passion in Church communication. She holds a Degree in Social Communications from the Catholic University of Eastern Africa (CUEA). Currently, she works as a journalist for ACI Africa.