Malindi, Kenya: Newly Appointed Bishop Willybard Lagho Getting Smell of the Sheep

For over three years, the Catholic Diocese of Malindi waited on Pope Francis to give them a new shepherd to head the diocese. Following Bishop Emmanuel Barbara, OFM Cap’s demise, in 2018, Right Reverend Fr. Albert Buijs MHM has been the Diocesan administrator for Malindi Diocese. It is marvelous to see the work he did for these years. Now taking over again as the vicar general, he is on the job and available to take the new Bishop around the diocese.

With a new Bishop just a few weeks after his episcopal ordination, the whole diocese is waiting to know who this Bishop is and what he will become.

On his part, Bishop Willybard Lagho is not wasting any time to know where his sheep are. He has been spotted in the villages, trying to learn his territory and locate his flock. Today 31st March 2021, the Bishop paid a courtesy visit to Witu Kipini Parish to check on his priests and pastoral agents working in the area. In a brief chat with him, I could easily pick out his passion for mission and his desire to have in his fingertips knowledge about his Christians. After a short time in Witu, he then proceeded to some villages around Egerton University and then to Hongwe parish.

Will he smell like the sheep? In his speech during his episcopal ordination, Bishop Willybard gave a lot of hope to Malindi and all people living within his jurisdiction. “I have come to Malindi as a Messenger of peace.” 

The energy with which Bishop Willybard has started His mission, and his presence felt already across the diocese, shows how much he holds the Holy Father’s vision to priests. “The priest who does not go out of himself … misses out on the best of his people, on what can animate the depths of his priestly heart. … This is exactly the reason why some priests grow dissatisfied, lose heart and become, in a sense, collectors of artefacts instead of being shepherds that live with the smell of the sheep. This is my request for you — be shepherds with the smell of sheep.” With the come of Bishop Willybard to Malindi and his enthusiasm in mission, the words of the Prophet Isaiah 9:2 seem to speak so well to the people of Malindi who have been praying for years for a shepherd, “the people walking in darkness have seen a great light; on those living in the land of the shadow of death, a light has dawned”

Long live Bishop Willybard Lagho, Long live Malindi Diocese

 Fr. Alexander Kimbi MHM

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