New Catholic Archbishop in Kenya Pledges to Deepen Evangelization in Metropolitan See

Archbishop Maurice Muhatia Makumba blessing the different groups of people who attended his Saturday, March 19 Installation as Local Ordinary of the Archdiocese of Kisumu. Credit: ACI Africa

The newly installed Archbishop of Kenya’s Archdiocese of Kisumu has noted with admiration the great work done by his predecessors and promised to deepen evangelization in the Kenyan Metropolitan See.

Unveiling his coat of arms at the Saturday, March 19 installation event at Tumsifu Centre in Kisumu, Archbishop Maurice Muhatia Makumba said that he would continue to dedicate his Episcopal Ministry to the Holy Eucharist.

Credit: ACI Africa

In the Kenyan Archdiocese of Kisumu, he said, he would foster growth of Christianity in numbers and in quality and that he would also cultivate a culture of hope.

“My dear people of Kisumu, I am aware of the great work that has been accomplished in this Archdiocese by my predecessors, particularly in the last 50 years… Thank you very much for the work you did,” Archbishop Muhatia said.


Credit: ACI Africa

Mentioning his predecessors in the Archdiocese, he said, “I make mention of Reverend Philip Sulumeti, the first African Bishop of Kisumu. I make mention of the most reverend Zacchaeus Okoth, the first Archbishop of Kisumu; and I make mention of the most Reverend Philip Anyolo, the second Archbishop of Kisumu and my immediate predecessor.”

The 53-year-old Kenyan Archbishop acknowledged that the “rootedness of faith” in the Kenyan Archdiocese was everywhere to be seen and said, “Working on, and with this rich history of faith, it is my desire to keep the hand on the plow and never to look back.”

“It is my yearning, that together as an Archdiocese, we may launch our nets into the deep and be nourished together as the family of God at the banquet of his mysteries,” Archbishop Muhatia said. 

Pope Francis appointed Archbishop Muhatia last month to head the Metropolitan Archdiocese of Kisumu that had been left vacant following the transfer of Archbishop Philip Anyolo to Nairobi Archdiocese. 

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The transfer of Bishop Muhatia who has been serving as the Local Ordinary of Nakuru Diocese since his Episcopal Ordination in December 2009 to Kisumu Archdiocese was published by the Holy See Press Office on February 18.

The Kenyan Archbishop will oversee the Kenyan Archdiocese of the 4,616 square kilometer located in Western Kenya. The Archdiocese has an estimated population of 1,586,232 Catholics, according to 2020 statistics.

In his March 19 inaugural speech following his installation, Archbishop Muhatia said that his coat of arms for the Archdiocese of Kisumu is composed of three principle symbolisms: the Holy Eucharist, evangelization and hope.

In his coat of arms, at the top, there is a host inscribed with ‘IHS’, a combination of letters that represent the holy name of “Jesus” in Greek.


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There is a chalice with grains of wheat on a branch on the side, symbols of the Eucharist, Archbishop Muhatia said. 

The Vice Chairman of the Kenya Conference of Catholic Bishops (KCCB) and Principal Administrator of Kenya’s Catholic Secretariat explained, “I will be dedicating my Episcopate in the Archdiocese of Kisumu to the Most Blessed Sacrament of the Altar, the Sacrament of the Body and Blood of Christ.”

He further explained that the Catechism of the Catholic Church, following upon the spirit of Vatican II, rightly emphasizes that the Eucharist is the source of Christian life.

The Catechism, the new Archbishop went on to explain, goes on to say that the other sacraments and ecclesiastical mysteries of works of the Apostolate are bound up with the Eucharist and oriented toward it.

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“In the Blessed Sacrament is contained the whole spiritual good of the Church, namely Christ Himself,” Archbishop Muhatia said, and added, “Because the Holy Eucharist is the source and summit of our faith, our way of thinking is attuned to the Eucharist, and the Eucharist in turn, confirms our way of thinking.”

He noted that the centrality of the Eucharist in the life of the Church, particularly in the Archdiocese of Kisumu, could not be overemphasized.

The native of Kenya’s Kakamega Diocese who holds a licentiate and a doctorate in philosophy from the University of Santa Croce in Rome said that the centrality of the Eucharist in his coat of arms is significant, and explained, “The Eucharist makes us one and nourishes us to go into the deep of mission.”

“I dedicate my Episcopate to Jesus in the Eucharist because he is the true anchor of our lives who sends us on a mission to go and cast into the deep for human touch. Together, we shall become catchers for men and women by our solid obedience of faith, unwavering hope, and love unbound,” he said. 

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The lower left part of Archbishop Muhatia’s coat of arms is a man on a boat on a large mass of water. In the man’s hand is a fishing line with fish on it and in the background, there is a mountain and a sky.

The Kenyan Archbishop explained that the second symbolism resonates with Duc in Altum, Latin for “put out into the deep or cast into deep water.”

“This motto is the key to understanding the coat of arms. Duc in Altum are the words of Jesus addressed to Simon (Peter) ‘put out into deep water, and let down the nets for a catch’. Peter had labored the whole night to no avail,” he explained.

The Archbishop of Kisumu said that the words, Duc in Altum, are a typical example of what the Lord says through the Prophet Isaiah, “The word that goes forth from my mouth does not return empty without carrying out my will and succeeding.”

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He said that the words of Jesus to Simon were not just for success in the miraculous catch of fish but rather, what the Lord was preparing to do through Simon Peter and his companions and the generations that would follow after them.

“Who can fail to see that since after the resurrection of Jesus, the miracle of the multiplication of his followers continues unabated, not just in number but also in quality,” Archbishop Muhatia said.

He added, “It is my desire that by obedience of faith comparable to that of Simon, I, together with the entire family of God in Kisumu, may both experience the multiplication and at the same time become ambassadors of it.”

The anchor is the third and final symbolism inscribed with the sign XP on the right of the coat of arms of Archbishop Muhatia at the bottom.

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He explained that the anchor is one of the most ancient Christian symbols which reminded Christians during the most difficult times that Christ is their safety.

“Early Christians used the anchor a lot more than the Cross on the tombs of Christians to express that firm home that believers buried in the tombs were admitted into heaven. It was a symbol of hope in future existence,” the Local Ordinary of Kisumu Archdiocese said March 19.

He added, “I say to you the people of Kisumu, we have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure.”

“The vision and mission of the Archdiocese shall be driven by this conviction. And as the Lord told Simon, so he tells us, ‘Do not be afraid,’” the Kenyan Archbishop said.

Expressing confidence in his coat of arms, Archbishop Muhatia said, “The way of the Eucharist is therefore the privileged path which I choose as the unique launchpad for plunging into the deep.”

“We shall put out into the deep of the grain of wheat the work of human hands so that deep inside, we may own the truth that unless the grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies it remains only a single grain, but that if it dies, it bears much fruit,” he said.

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“There is no Christianity without sacrifice,” he went on to say, and continued, “It requires the ultimate sacrifice of dying like the grain of wheat to bear abundant fruit. We shall launch into the deep of the chalice of salvation, the fruit of the vine, so that we may be nourished by the unfathomable treasures of the savior.”

The Kenyan Archbishop said that his “pleasant duty” would be to ensure the Church of Kisumu “continues to be anchored in Christ Jesus, the King of eternal glory and thus anchored neither the waves of sea nor the depths of the underworld can prevail against it.”

“I beseech the intercession of St. Joseph, the husband of Mary whose solemnity we celebrate today, has had a huge influence on evangelization in this Archdiocese, through the work done by the Mill Hill Missionaries, significantly the oldest Parish in the Archdiocese is under his patronage,” Archbishop Muhatia said March 19.

Meanwhile, in his speech at the installation event, the Holy Father’s representative in Kenya, Archbishop Hubertus van Megen noted that Archbishop Muhatia has what it takes to steer the Archdiocese of Kisumu to greater heights.

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“This is a great day today. It is a wow day because of the new Archbishop that we have received, Archbishop Maurice Muhatia Makumba, who has been chosen by the Holy Father to be the third in line now to guide the Archdiocese of Kisumu further and deeper into the kingdom of God,” the Apostolic Nuncio in Kenya said. 

He added, “It is the Pope himself who writes that he has seen in the person of Archbishop Maurice Muhatia Makumba the qualities to lead this Archdiocese further and I may personally attest to that he has the qualities. The speech he gave here shows that this is indeed a man of great gifts who will help this Archdiocese to develop further.”

Pledging his support for the new Archbishop, the native of the Netherlands said, “I will accompany you with my prayer and with my effective help wherever it is possible and I trust that all of you all, especially the Clergy will help him to implement and to plant that kingdom of God in the fertile soil of the Archdiocese of Kisumu, the soil of this great Archdiocese which was already plowed and prepared by the missionaries.”

Agnes Aineah is a Kenyan journalist with a background in digital and newspaper reporting. She holds a Master of Arts in Digital Journalism from the Aga Khan University, Graduate School of Media and Communications and a Bachelor's Degree in Linguistics, Media and Communications from Kenya's Moi University. Agnes currently serves as a journalist for ACI Africa.