The Consolata Missionary, Most Rev. Peter Kihara Kariuki, Bishop of the Diocese of Marsabit since January 2007, was first appointed Bishop of Murang’a on 19 June 1999. He was born in 1954 at Thunguri Village, Othaya, Nyeri and joined the Consolata Missionaries in 1976. Once ordained a priest on 17th December 1983, in the following Year Fr. Kihara was sent as a missionary to Colombia where he worked for some time.
After having done a Formation Course in Roma, Fr. Kihara was called back to Kenya and worked as Formator at the Allamano House, Theological Seminary IMC in Nairobi. Then he was appointed to the Consolata Novitiate in Sagana, first as the assistant and later as novice master until August 1998.
In this interview, Bishop Kihara speaks about Marsabit Diocese, its environment, pastoral activities, development and promotion projects and its main challenges. The territory of the Diocese corresponds to the Marsabit County, which is the largest County of Kenya with 78.078 km2 in the North Central part of Kenya and 530 km far from Nairobi, with a population of approximately 350.000 of 14 different ethnic groups. Bishop Kihara’s predecessor in the Diocese's government was the Bishop Ambrose Ravasi, now emeritus living in the “Maria Mfariji Shrine” on a hill next to Marsabit town.
The first bishop of Marsabit for 17 years was the Rev. Charles Cavallera since 1955, a great Consolata Missionary from Centallo-Cuneo in Italy who also had previously been Bishop of Nyeri for 17 years.
Today Marsabit Diocese has 15 Parishes, 15 local priests, and one Religious Sister originally from the Diocese, but there are also 11 Fidei Donum missionaries and 12 religious priests: Comboni, Salesian and Consolata missionaries working in the evangelization as well as 42 Religious Sisters from 8 different Congregation and 10 lay missionaries.
In 2001 Maralal Diocese was created and it took away 20.000 km2 from Marsabit Diocese territory. In the Diocese, evangelization and human promotion go hand in hand. In a region with prolonged periods of drought, animals and water are sources of life and therefore the main concern of the population.
At the end of the interview, Bishop Kihara makes an observation and an appeal. Kenya is a Country blessed with many good vocations, many Priests and Religious Sisters, but despite the invitations, few of them are willing to work in places like the Diocese of Marsabit. “I appeal to those who hear me to think it over and see whether they can join us for at list 3 or 5 years and contribute with their witness. God will bless not only them but also all of us… And may the gospel go ahead and fructify”.