The newly appointed Catholic bishop of Embu Diocese, Anthony Muheria Ngugi, made his first visit to his new area of jurisdiction on Monday, November 17, 2003, to meet the priests, who received him warmly.
Embu's second bishop said that among his top priorities would be caring for and working closely with the priests. He compared them to the players in a soccer match and saw his role as being like that of a captain. The Holy Spirit was the coach.
"A diocese fundamentally depends on its priests working together as a team...I am convinced, my dear brothers, that I can count on you, and I have no fear."
On his arrival at the Embu Diocesan Clergy House in Karurina, the Bishop-Elect met with 55 priests and deacons from across the Diocese who were waiting for him. He was received by the outgoing Diocesan Administrator, Fr Gabriel Muverethi, who thanked God for Muheria's appointment.
"If anyone had told me then that Embu would be my home, I would have laughed!" Bishop-Elect Muheria said, recalling a retreat he held for priests of Embu Diocese in 2001. "Now it has become my promised land. I am grateful to God."
He said his faith that God will strengthen him to discharge his role, and the fact that Embu was already an established diocese, were two things that had helped him to come to terms with his elevation, which he learnt on the night of October 31, 2003.
The news of Muheria's appointment as announced on Saturday afternoon found the Diocesan Pastoral Council in a meeting, led by Fr Muverethi.
There was great jubilation, with both priests and lay faithful saying God had answered the Diocese's patient prayers.
The See had been vacant since May 2002 when the then bishop, John Njue, was moved to Nyeri Archdiocese as Coadjutor Archbishop.
The Bishop-Elect said he had tentatively set his day of consecration for January 10, 2004. His motto will be, 'That We May be Holy.'
The Catholic Diocese of Embu was created on June 9, 1986, by His Holiness Pope John Paul II, having been curved from Meru Diocese. Rt Rev John Njue, who is currently the Coadjutor Archbishop of Nyeri, was its first bishop. The Diocese was inaugurated on September 20, 1986 by His Emminence Josef Cardinal Tomko.
It serves the two administrative districts of Embu and Mbeere, with a population of 500 000, of whom 300 000 are Catholics.
There are 16 parishes in Embu, served by 43 indigenous diocesan priests and 6 deacons, as well as members of religious institutes. Embu has 30 diocesan seminarians in various stages of priestly training.
Among the women religious congregations serving in Embu are the Felician sisters, Elizabethan Sisters, Consolata Sisters, Little Sisters of St Francis, Little Servants of the Sacred Heart, and Good Sherpherd Sisters. Others are the Sisters of St Joseph of Tarbes, Augustian Missionary Sisters, Augustian Contemplative Sisters and Salesian Sisters.
The Diocese is also served by the Salesian of Don Bosco Fathers & Brothers, Consolata Fathers, Augustian Fathers, and Fidei Donum Priests.