KISII, Kenya, Dec 15 – President Mwai Kibaki has helped to raise Sh20 million for the construction of a seminary in Kisii.
Construction of the Pope Benedict XVI Minor Seminary on a 4.6 hectare piece of land was started in August 2007 and will cost an estimated Sh85 million. The first phase which is under construction is expected to cost Sh35 million.
During the Sadaka maalum collection mass on Sunday, President Kibaki helped to raise Sh20,523,216 including his personal donation of Sh3 million.
The construction of the seminary comes after St John’s Seminary Rakwaro remained in the diocese of Homabay, after it was split from the larger Kisii diocese.
In his address to the congregation President Kibaki commended Kenyans for paying taxes which had enabled the country achieve accelerated rate of development and rehabilitation of key road networks.
He reiterated that no single part of the country would be left behind in the ongoing development programmes lined by the government.
He said that Suneka airstrip would be upgraded while another bigger airstrip will be constructed at Nyangusu to boost the tourism activities in Maasai Mara.
With regard to the construction of the Seminary, the Head of State commended an Italian organisation, Amici Di San Francesco- Onlus which donated equipment worth Sh3million towards the ongoing construction of the institution.
The President promised to visit the area at a later date to address other development issues affecting the area and inspect the progress of the already ongoing projects.
The minor seminary will act as nursery where vocations are nurtured and young men are formed to respond to the vocation of serving God both in church and society.
Presiding over the special mass John Cardinal Njue appealed to Kenyans to renew their love for one another as we usher in the Christmas celebrations and birth of Jesus Christ.
The Cardinal told Kenyan leaders to pursue and uphold truth at all times and urged them to stand in solidarity with other Kenyans particularly during these hard times of increased food prices.
He said that all Kenyans must feel to belong to the same nation without huge disparities and challenged the leaders to lead by example and illustrate their patriotism by paying taxes.
With regard to freedom of the media, Cardinal Njue called for regulations to ensure media houses acted responsibly and refrain from churning out programmes that made the society lose its identity and dignity.
Thanking the Kisii diocese worshippers and their Bishop, Cardinal Njue said that the commencement of the seminary was a landmark sign of safeguarding the heritage of faith to future generations as well as extend service to God and mankind.
The first Bishop of the diocese was the late Maurice Cardinal Otunga while the current serving Bishop is Joseph Mairura Okemwa.
Kisii Catholic diocese, one of the oldest of the 26 catholic dioceses in Kenya, was created in 1960 and covers eight administrative districts with about 500,000 worshippers spread in 16 parishes.