In April 1998, Rome, under Pope John Paul II, announced that a new Catholic Diocese of Kitale (CDK) had been established comprising the Counties of West Pokot and Trans Nzoia, and that Msgr. Maurice Anthony Crowley, SPS, who was then the Vicar General of the Catholic Diocese of Eldoret had been appointed its first Bishop. Rt. Rev. Maurice Anthony Crowley was ordained to the Episcopate seat on 15th August 1998. He served as the Ordinary of Kitale Diocese until 4th November 2022 when the Holy Father appointed Rt. Rev. Henry Juma Odonya as the second Bishop of Kitale. Bishop Crowley then continued to serve Kitale Diocese as the Apostolic Administrator until 21st January 2023, prior to the Episcopal Ordination and installation of Rt. Rev. Henry Juma Odonya. Rt. Rev. Maurice Crowley has served in Kenya for 51 years; 26 as a priest in the Catholic Diocese of Eldoret and 25 years as Bishop of Kitale.
The St. Patrick’s Kiltegan Missionary and the last of the White Bishops to serve in the Kenya Conference of Catholic Bishops was not just a religious leader but also an educationist, a peace promoter especially in the North rift region, a governance advisor, and a father to Priests and Christians of Kitale Diocese. Under Bishop Crowley, the Catholic Diocese of Kitale established and nurtured some of the best performing Secondary and primary schools in the country. He served as chairman for of the KCCB Commission for Education and Religious Education. Bishop Crowley was also a member of the council of the Catholic University of Eastern Africa, and Tangaza University, representing the KCCB. During his tenure, Bishop Crowley oversaw a lot of peace initiatives which bore fruits in creating and maintaining peaceful coexistence of communities living in the North-rift region within and at the boarders of West Pokot and Transnzoia counties. These initiatives, coupled with other humanitarian programs have contributed tremendously in improving the livelihoods of people in the region. Some of the peace initiatives, some of which were implemented in collaboration with the Bishop of Eldoret include:
– Interventions on cattle rustling in Kamwologon boarder of Pokot and Marakwet through community dialogues. 250 houses that were burnt by bandits were rebuilt in 2019. Bishop emeritus of Kitale Rt. Rev. Maurice Crowley and the late Bishop Cornelius Korir spearheaded this initiative.
– Creation of cohesion and integration platforms through Yearly Peace Mass celebrated very 1st of January at Kapsait boarder of Pokot and Marakwet since 1998. The Mass brings together Marakwet and Pokot communities to pray and share messages of peace.
– Support of livestock improvement through upgrading of indigenous cattle, building and rehabilitation of cattle dips, provision of accaricides and supporting Lelan dairy project to serve Pokot and Marakwet communities.
– Supporting community integration through connector projects including schools, and health centers in the region
– Combating effects of climate change Supporting livelihoods by supporting reformed warriors
Bishop Crowley retired after attaining the retirement age for Catholic Bishops, and upon the installation of his successor Bishop Henry Juma Odonya.