“We are losing some of us to other faiths and denominations because, with only two Priests, Holy Masses are not celebrated in some outstations on Sundays,” parishioners of St. Joseph Freinademetz Witu-Kipini Parish are quoted as telling Bishop Lagho.
They explained, “Some parishioners opt to go to other denominations where the Pastor is available every Sunday and is close to them throughout the week.”
Responding to the concerns of the parishioners, the Kenyan Bishop, the first native Local Ordinary to shepherd the people of God in the Coastal Diocese that covers Lamu, Tana River, and Kilifi Counties underscored the need to nurture local vocations to the Priesthood and Religious Life.
Parishioners of Kakathe Mission Station in Witu Zone present their pastoral success stories and challenges to Bishop Willybard Lagho. Credit: Moses Mpuria
The faith of the missionaries can be maintained “by sustaining vocations through nurturing and encouraging calls to Priesthood and Religious Life”, Bishop Lagho during his second visit to St. Joseph Freinademetz Witu-Kipini Parish this year.
The Catholic Bishop who said he had received similar requests from other Parishes in his Episcopal See noted, “For a longtime our Diocese has been served by missionary priests and Religious brothers and sisters from without.”
“Even today, most of our parishes are run by missionaries because we only have 17 Diocesan Priests,” Bishop Lagho who has been at the helm of the Kenyan Diocese since his Episcopal Ordination in March this year said.
He continued, “When I say that we need to be self-sustaining as a Diocese, I mean doing so in all aspects including vocations. For there are not many missionaries available anymore to serve in our Parishes; the only way we can be assured of sufficient pastoral care is by having our Priests, Religious Brothers and Sisters.”
Bishop Lagho arrives at ‘Vatican’ Mission Station in Witu Zone for a meeting with parishioners of the Outstation situated in SendeMke village of Lamu County. Credit: Moses Mpuria
The December 21 report that details events of the previous day indicate that St. Joseph Freinademetz Witu-Kipini Parish is an “expansive Parish that spans two (Kenyan) Counties, borders Boni Forest and has 16 Mission Stations … served by two Missionary Priests.”