President of Kenya Hails Pioneer Catholic Bishop of Kitale Diocese as “a giant of faith”

Cake cutting session after Episcopal Consecration of Kenyan Bishop. From left: Newly Consecrated Local Ordinary of Kitale Diocese in Kenya, Bishop Henry Juma Odonya, President of Kenya, Dr. William Ruto, Bishop emeritus of Kitale Diocese, Maurice Anthony Crowley. Credit: Moses Mpuria/Sheshi Visual Arts

The President of the Republic of Kenya has hailed Bishop Maurice Anthony Crowley, the first Local Ordinary of the Catholic Diocese of Kitale whose retirement was accepted on 4 November 2022, as “a giant of faith”. 

In his address on Saturday, January 21 during the Episcopal Ordination of the new Local Ordinary of the Kenyan Diocese, Bishop Henry Juma Odonya, President William Samoei Ruto recalled his interactions with Bishop Crowley who had been at the helm of the Kenyan Diocese for 24 years.

“Bishop Crowley is a giant of faith; he is a great man,” President Ruto said at the event that was held at Agricultural Society of Kenya (ASK) showgrounds in Kitale Diocese.

Bishop Maurice Anthony Crowley. Credit: Moses Mpuria/Sheshi Visual Arts

The Kenyan President added, “We are truly grateful Bishop Crowley; you've been a father figure to many of us, many of our schools, many of our institutions.”


President went on to express his appreciation for the candid words of the 76-year-old Catholic Bishop, saying, “I cherish the many moments when I said the not-so-correct things, I found a message on my phone from you, ‘you should not have said this’”.

Credit: Moses Mpuria/Sheshi Visual Arts

“I value the many moments that I was low, I found a message on my phone and you encouraged me. I value the many times that you put a call to me and you always referred to me as William,” Kenya’s head of state said. 

President Ruto thanked the member of St. Patrick’s Society for the Foreign Missions (Kiltegan Fathers) for shaping his journey towards becoming the fifth President of the East African country in the general elections last August.

Credit: Moses Mpuria/Sheshi Visual Arts

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“You now know how I won the elections, with somebody of the stature of Crowley telling people to work with William Ruto, what other outcome did you expect,” President Ruto disclosed during the event that was also attended by other government officials.

He expressed his wish to have the Irish-born Catholic Bishop continue staying in Kenya, saying, “You are going to stay here with us; and I am going to request the Church to allow us to have Bishop Crowley to stay with us in his retirement.”

The Kenyan President who has been in office since 13 September 2022 after Kenya’s Supreme Court declared him winner of the country’s closely contested 9 August 2022 presidential election urged the Bishop Crowley to “Mentor our new Bishop to be better than you.”

Newly Consecrated Local Ordinary of Kitale Diocese in Kenya, Bishop Henry Juma Odonya. Credit: Moses Mpuria/Sheshi Visual Arts

Born in May 1946, Bishop Crowley was ordained a Priest in 1972 after completing his Priestly formation studies. He was ordained as the first Bishop of Kitale Diocese in August 1998.


In his remarks during the January 21 event, the Apostolic Nuncio in Kenya recognized the place of the Kiltegan member in the Kenya Conference of Catholic Bishops (KCCB), saying, “We are closing a chapter because Bishop Crowley is the last missionary Bishop of this conference and we want to thank him for his service.”

Archbishop Hubertus van Megen also spoke about the sacrifices that the early missionaries had to make in their evangelization process, saying, “they really sacrificed their lives for the missions and we need to appreciate it”

Archbishop Hubertus van Megen. Credit: Moses Mpuria/Sheshi Visual Arts

On his part, the Chairman of KCCB, Archbishop Martin Kivuva Musonde, thanked Bishop Crowley for his contribution to the growth of education in the Catholic Diocese of Kitale.

“We cannot forget to thank you, first of all, a man committed as a shepherd, as a Bishop focused on what can save you and me, education, best schools. What a price, congratulations for your contribution to education of this Diocese,” said Archbishop Kivuva of Kenya’s Mombasa Archdiocese.

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At the event, the speaker of Kenya’s National Assembly, Hon. Moses Masika Wetangula, described the Bishop Emeritus as “a dear good friend” and “a solid positive advisor”. 

Credit: Moses Mpuria/Sheshi Visual Arts

“Bishop Crowley has not only been our spiritual advisor but a dear good friend even outside Church circles; he has been a solid positive advisor,” Hon. Wetangula said.

The Kenyan government official said the Irish-born Bishop “has also been a pillar in the growth of spiritual nourishment here in Trans-Nzoia and West Pokot.”

Credit: Moses Mpuria/Sheshi Visual Arts

Hon. Wetangula, a member of the Catholic MPs Spiritual Support Initiative (CAMPSSI) in Kenya, outlined the entity’s initiative in supporting the livelihood of members of the Clergy who are retiring. 

“As Catholic members of parliament we bought 10 acres of land; we bought that land for the Catholic Church to build homes for retiring church leaders including Bishop Crowley,” he said, and added, “We are going to pull together as MPs who are still active with your support to meet this expectation.”

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.