New Parish Opening by Chris

You can't open a new parish if the Bishop can't arrive there due to the terrible road conditions.  That almost happened when the local Bishop was traveling to the new parish that was being split from St. Massimo on January 25th of this year.  The Bishop was traveling with Fr. B in his Land Cruiser and was able to make it through with no issues.  The following HiLux unfortunately slid down into a rut on the side of the road and was stuck.  So, we immediately got out of our vehicle to help out and the following photos are from us trying to get this truck out of the muck.

One, two, three...PUSH!!!!

You can see in the photo to the left just how many of us needed to come together to work to get this truck "unstuck".  It took about 45 minutes to get that truck out and then the next vehicle could go and then the next and then our Land Rover.
The tried and true Land Rover made it through, yippee!!!

Once we all made it through, we headed to the new parish.

This new parish took St. Massimo's 17 prayer houses down to only 7 as the new parish that was created now has 10.  The split was decided by each prayer house and mainly was determined by geography and proximity to the main parish.  We arrived just before the mass was about to start.  The Bishop was able to celebrate mass and during his extended homily, he shared that the new parish needed to be self-sufficient and to survive on the offerings from the new parishioners.  This is a theme that the Bishop has been stressing for many years now.

Bishop Mugambi is technically only the 3rd Bishop of the Diocese of Meru.  The first was a Consolata missionary priest from Italy who served from 1954 until his death in 1976.  The 2nd is still alive, the Bishop Emeritus Silas Njiru, who is 91 years old and now, Bishop Salesius Mugambi who has served since 2004.  This splitting off of new parishes is still ongoing in the Diocese of Meru and there will be 2 additional new parishes created this year.  The same holds true regarding the history of the Diocese of Meru.  It was established in 1953 and 3 years later, Kitui broke off as an apostolic prefecture and later was elevated to a Diocese in 1963.  Then in 1976, parts of the the Diocese of Meru and of Mombasa were split off to form Garissa.  Then in 1986, the Diocese of Embu was split off from Meru and finally in 1995, the apostolic prefecture of Isiolo was split from Meru.  This is normal when you look at the history of any diocese.

Here are some more photos of the event which most local people walked to and with the sticky mud, we have some photos of what the kids shoes looked like.

Bishop Mugambi during his homily
A look at the parishioner's feet covered in mud
We really liked this youth group's shirts that stated, "Together we Build" which was in harmony with the Bishop's message
Every new event means many new kids that haven't met our kids.  Which translates into more crowding around, touching of the hair on your head and arms.  When Michael had enough, he found respite atop our Land Rover with one of his friends.

St. Massimo after the split was a much more manageable size with only 6 prayer houses along with the parish which is also considered a prayer house in the local way of thinking of it.  The good news is that with only 6 "out-stations" the parishioners there could receive mass much more frequently now from the two priests at St. Massimo.  All praise be to God!

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