In a heartwarming gathering at the Parish center, the faithful of St. James Catholic Parish marked a significant milestone – the 75th anniversary since the parish’s official opening in 1948. St. James Parish holds the distinction of being the second parish in Kitui Diocese, following the establishment of St. Patrick’s Mutune in 1945.
The journey to this momentous occasion began in 1946 when Chief Charles Ileli of Mutonguni, a member of Africa Inland Mission (AIM), explored the idea of a Catholic Mission in his region. Fr. Paul White, alongside the newly installed Bishop of Nairobi, JJ McCarthy, played pivotal roles in this endeavor, choosing the Muthale plot as the mission’s location.
On July 25, 1947, the first-ever Mass was celebrated in Muthale by the first resident Priest, Fr. James Giltenan, in honor of the Feast of St. James the Apostle. James Mbandi Kinyungu received the first baptism in Muthale, and the inaugural Sacrament of Holy Matrimony was celebrated on April 23, 1950, between the late Bendict Muthusi and Philomena Mwelia by Fr. Austin Lynch of the Holy Ghost Fathers. The Sacrament of Confirmation followed on May 5, 1952, administered by Bishop JJ McCarthy.
Today, Muthale Parish boasts 18 outstations and a baptized Christian population of 16,777. It has seen several priests and sisters emerge from its midst, with Fr. Dominic Nzoka being the first priest from Muthale to be ordained, on May 26, 1990. This legacy continues with the likes of the late Fr. Justus Mainga, Fr. Benjamin Nzoka, Sr. Raeli Mwendwa, Sr. Eunice Ndana, and Sr. Yovo, among others.
The anniversary celebration was not only marked by the Sacrament of Confirmation for over 300 confirmands but also featured a fundraiser to support the completion of the church and Diocesan Pastoral Projects. It was a day of faith, growth, and community that resonated with the parish’s rich history and bright future.
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