The SMA involvement in Kenya began in 1992 when the British Province undertook the administration of the Parish of St Joseph the Worker, in the city and Archdiocese of Nairobi, at the request of the then Cardinal Michael Otunga (RIP).
Fr Patrick Connolly SMA (British Province) was the first Parish Priest assisted by Fr Michael B McPartland SMA. Subsequent Parish priests were Fr John Hannon SMA (Clare) and Fr Frank Wright SMA (American Province).
In 1995 the Region of Kenya-Tanzania was established. Its headquarters was in Mwanza, Tanzania.
In 2001 it was decided to divide the Kenya / Tanzania Region into two separate Regions. A suitable house was acquired in Nairobi and it became the Headquarters for the Kenya Region. It serves as a place for missionaries passing through Nairobi from other parts of the country.
In 2009 the SMA African Foundation was divided into three separate units as Districts-in-formation (DF):
Bight of Benin DF – with it headquarters in Ibadan, Nigeria;
Gulf of Guinea DF – with its headquarters in Lomé, Togo
and the Great Lakes DF, which has its headquarters in Nairobi. Members of this DF come from the DR Congo, Kenya, Tanzania and Zambia The present Superior is Fr Thaddeus Mokaya Ogato (Kenya) assisted by Fr Edouard Musiba (DR Congo). Fr Charles Mpundu (Zambia) is the DF Bursar.
House of Studies
In 1993 the then SMA Superior General, Fr Patrick J Harrington, launched a project to seek vocations in Kenya and to establish an International House of Studies in Nairobi. Fr Thomas Hayden SMA (US Province) was appointed to lead the project and Fr Denis O’Sullivan (Cork) was put in charge of vocations.
In 1994 the first phase of construction of the House of Studies was completed. Students from Kenya and Tanzania commenced studies in Philosophy while students from India and Poland began Theology.
The Superiors of the House of Studies were:
Fr John O’Mahony SMA (Dublin, 1994-1995)
Fr Thomas Curran SMA (Wexford, 1995-2001)
Fr Hugh Lagan SMA (Derry, 2001-2004)
Fr John Dunne SMA (Cork, 2004-2007)
Fr Albert Kouamé SMA (Cote d’Ivoire, 2007 – 2010)
Fr Fabian Gbortsu SMA (Ghana) 2010 –
In 2010 there were 40 seminarians and 5 staff members.
2011 / 2012 academic year: There are 43 students, including four Deacons. They are pictured above after their Ordination by Bishop Noel O’Regan SMA, emeritus Bishop of Ndola, Zambia.
Eighteen students – from Kenya and Tanzania – are studying Philosophy; Twenty five – from Kenya, Poland, Tanzania and Zambia – are in the Theology cycle.
Fr Gbortsu is assisted by Frs Emmanuel Andoh (Ghana, House Bursar), Moses Chileshe (Zambia, Dean of Students), Michael McCabe (Mountnugent, Cavan, Spiritual Director & Lecturer at Tangaza College).
SMA presence in 2011
In all there are twenty-six SMA missionaries appointed to Kenya. Some are in pastoral or administrative appointments in one of the four dioceses where the SMA are: Nairobi, Lodwar, Ngong and Kitale. Others are working directly for the Society (House of Studies, Regional or DF administration).
The main focus of our missionary work is both urban and Primary Evangelization as well as providing some specialist ministries.
Nine of the SMA’s are from the Irish Province
Archdiocese of Nairobi
SMA Regional House
Fr Fabian Hevi (Regional Superior) is from Ghana, Gulf of Guinea DF and resides at the Regional House. The Guestmaster is Fr Aodhán McCrystal (Dromore, Co Tyrone).
Frs Anbu Kumar (Deputy Regional Superior, Indian DF) and Emmanuel Mafumba (DR Congo, Great Lakes DF) care for the Parish of St Joseph the Worker, Jericho.
Fr James Clesham (Balla, Mayo) is Chaplain to Nairobi Hospital.
Fr Padraig Devine (Frenchpark, Roscommon) is the Executive Director of SCCRR which works for Conflict Resolution and Reconciliation, popularly known as the Shalom Centre.
Fr Oliver Noonan (Cork City) is the Programme Manager for the SCCRR.
Also living in the Archdiocese of Nairobi are five SMA priests on the staff of the SMA House of Studies and three SMA priests administering the Great Lakes DF (already listed above)
Diocese of ‘Ngong
Frs Reginald Nwachukwu SMA (Nigeria, Bight of Benin DF) and Con Murphy SMA (Kilmichael, Cork) serve in Mary the Mother of God parish, Embulbul. Also in residence is the DF Vocations Director, Fr Isutsi Alex.
Fr Adam Fernandez (Indian DF) is responsible for Kitengela parish, assisted by Fr David Bakamana (DR Congo).
Diocese of Lodwar
Bishop Patrick J Harrington SMA (Castletownbere, Cork) led the diocese since 2000. In March 2011 Rt Rev Dominic Kimengich was installed as the third bishop of the diocese. Bishop Harrington now resides at St Martin’s House which is the neighbouring diocese of Kitale.
Fr Ludwig vanBussel (Dutch Province) and Fr Edwin Mmasi are ministering in the parish of Lorugumu.
Diocese of Kitale
Two Indian DF SMA priests, Frs Peter Pandi and Ashok Saminathan are caring for Chepareria parish.
SMA Regional administration
Regional Superior – Fr Fabian Hevi SMA (Ghana, Gulf of Guinea DF), re-appointed for a second three-year term in 2010. He can be contacted at kenyasma @ gmail.com
SMA Regional House, P O Box 15573, 00503 Nairobi, Kenya
Telephone: +254 20 891912 Mobile +254 712292229
Vice-Regional Superior – Fr Anbu Kumar SMA (Indian District-in-formation)
Fathers Ludwig van Bussel, Adam Fernandez, Alex Isutsi, Oliver Noonan, Reginald Nwachukwu and Fabian Gbortsu (Invitee).
Republic of Kenya
Area: 583,000 sq. km.
Population: 31.6 million.
Population Growth Rate: 1.3%
Head of State:
President Mwai Kibaki
12 December 1963
Ethnic Groups: Kikuyu 22%, Luhya 14%, Luo 13%, Kalenjin 12%, Kamba 11%, Kisii 6%, Meru 6%, other African 15%, non-African (Asian, European, and Arab) 1%
Religions: Protestant 45%, Catholic 33%, indigenous beliefs 10%, Muslim 10%, other 2%.