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Bishops who have served in the Diocese of Eldoret

Both missionary and native Bishops have served as Bishops of Diocese of Eldoret from its conception to date:

Before the creation of the Prefecture Apostolic of Eldoret

  • Bishop Gorgonius Brandsma 1933-1935 
  • Bishop Nicholas Stam 1936-1946 
  • Bishop Fredrick Hall 1948-1953 

After the creation of the Prefecture Apostolic and later Diocese of Eldoret

Bishop Joseph Brendan Houlihan 1954-1969

Eldoret was raised to a Prefecture Apostolic in 1953 and Msgr. Joseph Brendan Houlihan was appointed Prefect Apostolic of the Prefecture Apostolic of Eldoret in 1954. Msgr Joseph B. Houlihan was a Priest of St. Patrick’s Missionary Society ordained in 1937.

On the 13th of October 1959, Eldoret became a Diocese and Rt. Rev. Joseph Brendan Houlihan was appointed its first Bishop. Msgr Joseph B. Houlihan was consecrated Bishop on 20th November 1960 by Bishop Fulton Sheen, Auxiliary Bishop of New York and Director of the Propagation of faith in the United States, who had come to Eldoret for that very purpose. His Co-consecrators were Archbishop J.J. Mc Cathy of Nairobi Archdiocese and Archbishop Guido del Mestri, the Apostolic Delegate. The ceremony took place in the grounds of Loreto Convent School. Bishop Houlihan’s motto was Ad Jesum per Mariam (To Jesus through Mary). At this time of inception, the Diocese covered the present Diocese of Eldoret, Nakuru, Lodwar, some parts of Kakamega and Bungoma Dioceses.

Bishop Emilio Njeru 1969-1970

In July 1969, Bishop Emilio Njeru was appointed auxiliary Bishop for Eldoret, but died tragically in a road accident in September 1970 and was buried at Kevote Parish, Meru Diocese. December 1969, Bishop Houlihan left Bishop Njeru in-charge of the diocese, while he travelled to USA to raise funds for the Diocese. Despite the fact that Bishop Emilio served only for one year, he was immensely loved by many. Those who knew him and worked with him remember him for his in-depth listening skills; “It was deliberate, the way he listened; it was respectful and sincere”.

Bishop John Njenga 1970-1988

Bishop John Njenga became the second Bishop of Eldoret Diocese in November 1970 and served for 18 years until November 1988 when he was transferred to the Archdiocese of Mombasa where he also served for 17 years. He retired in 2005 having served as a Bishop for 35 years.

Bishop Njenga’s motto

“Utumishi kwa wote”

was really captivating when communities approached him for help to start harambee or government aided schools.

As personnel both in schools and parishes was needed, he invited the Benedictine Fathers who came in 1972 and opened parishes in Kerio Valley. The Maryknoll Fathers and the Carmelites from Zimbabwe also followed. That same year (1972), the first seminarian, Fr. Peter Kairo (now Archbishop Emeritus), from Mother of Apostles Minor Seminary, was ordained and celebrated largely by all as being the first fruit of the whole Diocese. Fr. Isaac Mbuthia was ordained on 29th June, 1974 as the first Diocesan priest for Eldoret and Fr. George Cheboryot ordained in 1972 as the first priest from Nandi when Nandi Deanery was under Kisumu Diocese.

Bishop Njenga’s major achievements were structuring the Diocese, establishment of about 25 parishes, ordination of 24 Diocesan priests, and building of the Cathedral (Sacred Heart of Jesus).

Very. Rev. Fr. Tom Smith was an Administrator 1988-1990

When Mombasa Diocese was raised to the status of an Archdiocese, Bishop Njenga was transferred to the new Archdiocese of Mombasa as its new Archbishop and Fr. Tom Smith (SPS) who was his Vicar General was appointed by Rome as Apostolic Administrator pending the appointment of a new Bishop. He served as an Administrator for one and half years.


In 1990, Bishop Cornelius Kipng’eno Arap Korir succeeded Bishop Njenga as the third Bishop of Eldoret until his demise on 30th October, 2017 having served the Diocese for 27 years.

Since Bishop Korir took over in 1990, the Diocese grew enormously. By the time he passed on, (30th October, 2017), 23% of the estimated 2.1 million people in the three counties (Nandi, Uasin Gishu and Elgeyo Markawet) are Catholics spread out in about 640 outstations with about 635 catechists. He created 35 more parishes in addition to the initial 26, thus bringing the total to 61 established parishes in the Diocese. Bishop Korir also established Chaplaincies to cater for students, prisons and hospitals, among them: St. Gabriel’s Chaplaincy – University of Eldoret, Sing’ore Chaplaincy, Chepterit Girls Chaplaincy, Marakwet Boys Chaplaincy, Hospital Chaplaincy and Prisons Chaplaincy. He initiated different programs (departments) with a working staff of about 63 people to meet different pastoral needs in the Diocese. These include:

  1. Education;
  2. Health department (with 26 facilities spread throughout the Diocese);
  3. Communication (Print and Radio);
  4. Pastoral department;
  5. Youth department;
  6. Insurance and property department;
  7. Vocation department;
  8. Gender department;
  9. Small Home department;
  10. SILC (Saving Internal Lending Communities);
  11. Education for life department;
  12. Justice and Peace department;
  13. Workshop and Carpentry;
  14. Caritas.

Bishop Korir wished every part of the Diocese to be evangelized and so he invited Religious congregations (Priests) to assist in some parishes. They include:

  • Salvatorian Fathers - Osorongai Parish 
  • Augustinian Fathers - Kapyemit Parish 
  • Missionaries of the Word - Langas Parish, Yamumbi Parish & Kimumu Parish 
  • Benedictine Fathers - Kapkemich Parish 
  • Carmelite Fathers - Tindiyo Parish 
  • St. Patrick’s Society - Kapsoya Parish 
  • Volunteer (Diocesan) - Emsea Parish 

There are also Religious Congregation (Brothers and Sisters) whom he invited to run different institutions in the Diocese. These are: -

  • Christian Brothers (Education for Life programme), 
  • Franciscan Sisters
  • Medical Missionaries of Mary (Kapsoya) 
  • Adoration sisters of the Blessed Sacrament
  • Assumption Sisters of Nairobi (CUEA) 
  • IVREA Sisters (Huruma) 
  • Missionary Sisters of the Catechism (Trinity Hospital, Leseru) 
  • Apostolic Carmel Sisters
  • Social Missionary of the Church (Soy Parish) 
  • Brothers of St. Joseph (Lodwar Farm in Soy) 
  • Sacred Heart Sisters – Chepterit Parish  

One of his major service and mission to the church is his passion in promoting vocation. Until his demise, Bishop Korir ordained more than 150 priests, some of whom moved to Kitale Diocese, others were Missionaries and the rest are Diocesan. He also has professed many Sisters and Brothers in and outside the Diocese.

Bishop Maurice Anthony Crowley 2017-2019

Rt. Rev. Maurice Anthony Crowley served as the Vicar General of the Diocese before being appointed the Bishop of the new Diocese of Kitale in April 1998.

After Bishop Korir’s demise in October 2017, Bishop Maurice Crowley was appointed as an Apostolic Administrator of the Diocese.

Some of the achievements during his time are formation of new parishes from the existing ones. i.e. Selia Parish from Chemnoet Parish, Namgoi Parish from Kapsabet Parish, Ndubeneti Parish from Ol’ Lessos Parish and Kipkaren Salient ‘Selia’ from Chemnoett Parish.

In the footsteps of Bishop Korir, he leaves having ordained 24 Priests and 26 Deacons, and professing a number of Sisters and Brothers.