However, the history of this partnership goes back to August 2004, when the then Bishop of Kitui (now Archbishop of Mombasa) His Grace Bonface Lele led a delegation to St. Paul and Minneapolis.
For some time back, the diocese of Kitui had been working towards establishing international partnerships with external parishes/ Dioceses.
With support from the Catholic Relief Services (CRS); the diocese found a partner; the archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis, who coincidentally, had been on the same road of Global Solidarity Partnership programmes since 2001.
This saw the formalizing of the partnership on October 14th, 2004, at Cannon falls, which was witnessed by His Grace Most Rt. Rev. Archbishop Harry Flynn of the archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis, and (the then Bishop of Kitui) His Grace Most Rev. Archbishop Boniface Lele, among others.
It was from this formalization of the partnership that led to another visit by a 16 strong - member delegation from the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis Minnesota, led by Fr. James Perkl of St. Elizabeth Ann Seton (Hastings) Parish to Kitui on mid October 2005 in company of Michelle Born, of CRS, and The Catholic Spirit (Archdiocesan Publication) Editor, Joe Towalski.
From the vision and mission statements, the partners then came up with five main objectives; which are:-
To develop closer relationships between the partners
To help each other in strengthening our faith
To share our resources
To create more awareness of this partnership, thus promoting it (intra/ Inter partners)
To visit each other more often, once a year (alternating) Projects and programmes would be developed from the objectives in order to achieve those Objectives.
For instance; in building relationships, the partners would move to interlink the church groups such as establishing pen pals among the children in both sides of the worlds etc.
In strengthening our faith; through Pastoral Programmes, there would be an exchange of catechesis; holding prayer intentions (that may be sent from one partner to the other via channels of communication especially internet); sharing faith experiences such as ways of life in SCCs/ Evangelization Christian Communities, etc
Sharing Resources: major issues
On sharing of resources; it was noted that Education and Water were major problems faced by both partners; For instance, while St. Paul and Minneapolis is endowed with untold water masses, including the largest river Mississippi in the world, the mismanagement of the same has been a problem. On the other hand, Kitui is rocked with lack of the resource. Thus, partners could exchange ideas, programmes and projects on this common front.
In education; both partners would for instance, cover 5 catholic schools and 5 parishes within the diocese/ Archdiocese within next one year in sacramental exchange programme.
The resources need to be material, can also include sharing of cultures, Music etc.
In creating awareness, each partner would undertake means, based on the available technology and structures, to create awareness within the diocese/ Archdiocese.
And between them, they would share publications, and audio visuals, while maintaining constant channels of communication, either directly (through internet/ teleconferencing (if Possible)) or through facilitation of CRS.
Lastly as a way of coming closer to each other, the partners agreed to be visiting each other regularly, once a year, but in alternation. For example, a delegation from St. Paul Minneapolis visited Kitui in 2005, Kitui Delegation would Visited St. Paul and Minneapolis in 2006, and the Diocese hosted visitors from Minnesota in 2007.
In order to achieve the above; Kitui Diocese set up 5 subcommittees based on each objective, who in turn make up the partnership team in Kitui. The sub-committees are:
Planning, sending and receiving delegates
Promotion and awareness
The members of the sub- committee (and thus partnership team) represent various church groups in Kitui, including the secretariat.
The executive committee is made up of 7 members; the chairperson; secretary and the five chairpersons of the five subcommittees.