The Apostolic Nuncio in Kenya who also represents the Holy Father in South Sudan acknowledged with appreciation the readiness of the Kenyan-born Bishop-elect to shepherd the people of God as a Bishop.
“Thank you Fr. Odonya, for accepting this appointment. It needs a kind of courage for that because you get into a new phase in your life where basically you do not know what is going to happen,” Archbishop van Megen said, and added, “You just step into the dark hoping that things will go on well.”
The Dutch-born Vatican Diplomat told Mons. Odonya that he will come across “good and bad” experiences as a Bishop, and encouraged him to trust in God and to remain optimistic especially in the face of challenges.
“As a Bishop, you will hear many things, good and bad ones, things that might give you hope or make you despair, things that will make you understand that God’s grace is very much present in the Diocese and things that will make you see that evil is at work,” said Archbishop van Megen.
He continued, “The good things you may announce; the evil ones keep for yourself to work it out; that is what the Bishop is for. That is also what a father does; he does not expose his children in public; he works with them and tries to correct them.”
Mons. Odonya is expected to succeed Bishop Maurice Anthony Crowley whose retirement was made public on November 4. The member of St. Patrick’s Society for the Foreign Missions (Kiltegan Fathers) has served as the Local Ordinary of Kitale since 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.
At the time of his Episcopal appointment, Mons. Odonya was serving as a Formator at St. Patrick’s Philosophy House in the Archdiocese of Durban, South Africa.
Speaking at the November 29 event, the chairman of the Priests in Kitale Diocese, Fr. James Oranga, assured the Bishop-elect of support from the Clergy.