St. Mark Parish Peoria
The Catholic Bishops of USA are the only Bishops who organize and encourage the Missionary Cooperative Plan where Missionaries come to visit USA Parishes and solicit for financial help and other assistance for the Developing and needy Churches. In the other countries especially in Europe one has to go through Diocesan and Episcopal Conference Charity Organizations, which take the responsibility of soliciting for the needed help in their own churches and institutions.
St. Patrick?s Fathers
Up to Mid-1990s St. Patrick?s Missionary Society used to coordinate the Missionary Appeal Program in the USA. The Diocese of Kitui used to write letters requesting for Churches and St. Patrick?s Fathers who have several houses here in USA used to organize the Mission Appeal Program and invite somebody from Kitui to come and help in visiting the allocated Churches.
In the mid ? 1990s, St. Patrick?s Society said that it was not economical to organize and coordinate the Mission Appeal Program for themselves and the Dioceses where they were working. As a diocese, we were therefore asked to find our own way of participating in the Missionary Co-op. Plan in USA without the assistance of the Society.
Fr. DeoGratias Mutafunya
Through the help of the late Fr. Deogratius, we were able to start our Mission Appeal program. He used to collaborate with the various Mission Office Directors and fix dates for the Mission Appeal. Our Priests only came out to visit the Parishes for three to four months then go back to Kenya until the next Mission Appeal Season which is always during the summer.
After five to six years Fr. Deo also declined to continue being our Coordinator and the diocese had to look for another contact person.
St. Mark & Kitui Connection
In the year 1999, Bishop B. Lele through a friend in Nairobi got in touch with Fr. Ben Reese who accepted to help us set a base for our Mission Appeal Program at St. Mark Parish with Betty offering to be our contact person and coordinator. Fr. S. Musili came out for three years during the summer and established our base at St. Marks in Peoria. After Fr. Sammy, we had Fr. Nicholas Maanzo, Fr. Francis Ngungu and Fr. Joe Mwinzi.
Fr. Ben was very supportive to this program and through him; the people of St. Mark Parish feel that the Kitui Mission Program belongs to them! The current pastor Fr. Charles Klamut has taken very particular interest in the program and has been very supportive.
Diocese of Peoria-Kitui Partnership: Current Program
Towards the end of 2002, the Diocese of Peoria entered into a relationship with Kitui Diocese promising to release a Priest to the Diocese of Peoria for a period of three years. The Priest would be posted to St. Mark Parish as a Residence and at times as associate. He has the duty to oversee the Kitui Mission Appeal Program.
Current Programs at St. Mark- MCP Office
The office has got a group of Parishioners known as Kitui Stewardship Committee. These people work and report to St. Mark Parish Council.
1. Kitui Mission Appeal: The priest running the office coordinates the program through the coordinators of pontifical missionary society in various Arch/Dioceses in USA.
2. Child Sponsorship Program: The Parishioners of St. Mark and a few others from other Churches have supported needy children (especially orphans) at various levels of education.
3. Sea Container: The Parishioners of St. Mark have supported the collection of supplies such as medical equipment to assist the needy cases in Kitui. This has happened almost every year since 2005. We are currently fixing a sea container with medical supplies.
4. Water Project: The Parishioners of St. Mark raised more than $ 7000.00 to support the process of digging earth dams in Kitui.