Principals of Catholic Schools in Kenya Urged to Ensure “a distinctive Catholic identity”

Participants at the seventh edition of Kenya’s Catholic Schools’ Principals Association (CaSPA) conference in Nairobi. Credit: Courtesy Photo

Principals of Catholic Schools in Kenya have been urged to ensure “a distinctive Catholic identify” in their respective institutions of learning.

In his Monday, July 4 address during the official opening of the seventh edition of Kenya’s Catholic Schools’ Principals Association (CaSPA) conference in Nairobi, Archbishop Philip Subira Anyolo underlined the need to “create a culture of care that nurtures a value-based education that recognizes the dignity” of everyone.

“It is the task of the Catholic schools’ leadership to ensure that a distinctive Catholic identity is maintained by helping parents and all staff and students understand what this identity is all about,” Archbishop Anyolo said at the start of the three-day event taking place at the Catholic University of Eastern Africa (CUEA).

He explained, “There is need for the parents and the teachers to be empowered by you our dear Principals so that they can effectively educate their children on such matters as human sexuality, radicalization, drug and alcohol abuse, and on the dangers of comprehensive sexuality of education.”

The conference that the Kenya Conference of Catholic Bishops’ (KCCB) commission for Education and Religious Education is spearheading seeks to equip teachers with values, morals in faith formation.


Organized under the theme, “Catholic Schools: Centres of Spiritual Formation, Character Development & Lifelong Competencies for a Happier Society”, the conference also seeks to encourage parents to raise their children in the faith that guarantees a successful future for families.

In his remarks while presiding over the official opening of the conference, Archbishop Anyolo underscored the need for those at the helm of Catholic schools in Kenya to witness to the teachings of Jesus Christ.

Archbishop Philip Subira Anyolo's address during the official opening of the seventh edition of Kenya’s Catholic Schools’ Principals Association (CaSPA) conference in Nairobi. Credit: Courtesy Photo

Witnessing to the teachings of Jesus Christ is an “important aspect of making schools centers of spiritual formation, character development and lifelong competences,” the Kenyan Archbishop said, and added, “It is through witnessing that our students will develop in a holistic manner and desirable character.”

“Witnessing of educators as leaders is of great importance,” he emphasized. 

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The Local Ordinary of Nairobi Archdiocese challenged Catholic School Principals in Kenya to be open to learn, to renew and update their knowledge, and also enhance their spiritual and religious formation.

“Your role as leaders in Catholic schools goes beyond the professional mandate to a personal vocation,” Archbishop Anyolo told Catholic Schools Principals in Kenya July 4.

In being committed to updating and renewing their knowledge, the Principals will be able to contribute to the character and spiritual formation of all those under their care, the 66-year-old Archbishop who started his Episcopal Ministry in Kenya’s Kericho Diocese in February 1996 said.

Turning his attention to parents, Archbishop Anyolo recognized the challenge they have in bringing up children in Christian faith in contemporary society.

“Parents have the greatest responsibility to raise their children in faith that guarantees a successful future for our families, Church and society,” he said, adding that to succeed in this responsibility, “parents need knowledge and values embedded in the faith as well as the skills of parenting in the 21st century.”


Archbishop Anyolo reflected about those enrolled in Catholic Schools in Kenya and emphasized the need to deepen the faith of non-Catholic learners who decide to embrace Catholicism.

“As much as Catholic schools do not demand adherence to the Catholic faith, those who decide to cross over to the Catholic faith should be offered the means to deepen their faith,” he said.

In all circumstances, he added, “We must never compromise our ethos, our values, and our Catholic traditions. We must always remain faithful to our beliefs so that we may inform, form and transform.”

Based on the history of Catholic schools that is characterized “by welcoming learners from different cultural and religious backgrounds,” Archbishop Anyolo said that there is need for one to have knowledge on “how to dialogue with the existing diversities.”

“We are called upon to allow the various cultural expressions to coexist and to promote dialogue that fosters a peaceful schooling community,” he said, and added, “Mother Church is reminding us that Catholic schools are families, communities to thousands of children. Therefore, we are called to learn how to live and relate to others in the spirit of mutual respect.”

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The Archbishop who has been at the helm of Nairobi Archdiocese since November 2021 spoke further on the culture of care, saying that it is marked by patience, forgiveness, listening, constructive dialogue, and understanding.

He said that the culture that is needed to foster academic performance and character formation is one that promotes healthy relationships among stakeholders, including learners, teachers, parents and community members.

To achieve character formation in learners, there is a need for “a culture that protects children and vulnerable adults from all forms of abuse … and supports them to strive in their lives,” Archbishop Anyolo said in his remarks while presiding over the official opening of the seventh edition of CaSPA conference at CUEA July 4.

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.