Pope Francis Accepts Retirement of Catholic Bishop of Kitale in Kenya, Appoints Successor

Mons. Henry Juma Odonya, appointed Bishop of Kenya's Kitale Diocese on 4 November 2022. Credit: Courtesy Photo

Pope Francis has accepted the retirement of Bishop Maurice Anthony Crowley from the pastoral care of the Catholic Diocese of Kitale in Kenya and appointed Mons. Henry Juma Odonya as his successor.

The latest administrative change in Kenya’s Kitale Diocese was made public on Friday, November 4 by the Holy See Press Office and confirmed by the Apostolic Nuncio in Kenya, Archbishop Hubertus van Megen.

“I have the honor and pleasure to inform you that Pope Francis has appointed the Reverend Father Henry Juma Odonya as the Bishop of the Catholic Diocese of Kitale,” Archbishop van Megen said in his statement to the members of the Kenya Conference of Catholic Bishops (KCCB).

A member of the St. Patrick’s Society for the Foreign Missions (Kiltegan Fathers), Bishop Crowley is retiring at the age of 76 years after serving as the Local Ordinary of Kitale since August 1998. 

Born in December 1976 in the Archdiocese of Nairobi, the Bishop-elect Odonya was ordained a Priest for the Catholic Diocese of Eldoret in February 2006. 


Mons. Odonya started his Priestly formation at St. Mary's Propaedeutic Molo Seminary in Kenya's Diocese of Nakuru in 1997. 

He later joined St. Augustine Mabanga Seminary in the Diocese of Bungoma, and St. Thomas Aquinas Seminary in the Archdiocese of Nairobi for his philosophical and theological studies, respectively. 

As a Priest, the Bishop-elect has served in various capacities, including Parish Vicar of Kapcherop and Ndalat Parishes in the Diocese of Eldoret; Parish Priest of Kapcherop and Kolongolo, and Chepchoina Parishes of Kitale Diocese and as a Fidei Donum Priest.

Nationally, the alumnus of the Pontifical University of Urbaniana in Rome where he obtained a Licentiate in Missiology in 2018 has served as the President of the Association of Fidei Donum Priests in Kenya, and President of the Diocesan Priestly Association.

At the time of his appointment as Bishop, Mons. Odonya was serving as a Formator at St. Patrick’s Philosophy House in the Archdiocese of Durban, South Africa.

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Once he is Consecrated Bishop, the Kenyan-born Cleric who will become the youngest Catholic Bishop in the East African country will serve as the second Local Ordinary of the 11,737 square-kilometer Diocese that was erected in April 1998.

The Diocese has a population of 264,000 Catholics, according to 2019 statistics and is part of the Ecclesiastical Province of Kisumu.

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.