Presentation of Saint Paul Parish Kabechei
Geographically Saint Paul Parish is located in the Rift Valley area in Elgeyo Marakwet county and Keiyo South sub-county. It’s part of the Catholic Diocese of Eldoret. The distance between Eldoret town and Saint Paul Kabechei Parish is 95.5km. Saint Paul was stated by Father Reinhard Bottner a Benedictine priest in 2000 and it became a parish in 2010. The first parish was Fr. Reinhard, the pioneer of the outstation. He was the parish priest until 2018 the year of his death. After his death, the parish was managed by the diocesan priests. Between 2018 to the beginning of 2023, three diocesan priests worked in this Parish. The Divine Word Missionaries took over from the diocesan priests at the request of the bishop of Eldoret. The official handing over was done on 7th February 2023. The first confreres sent to this mission are Fr. Agre Issere Svd and Frt. Georges Katuka, Svd.
Saint Paul Parish has in total fourteen outstations including the main station. The outstations are grouped into three zones: zone one comprises Saint Paul Parish Kabechei, Saint Benedict Teber, Saint James Enego, Saint John Setano, and Saint Peter Tugumoi. Zone two includes Saint Francis Kasar, Saint Vicent Kabirokwo, Saint Agnes Koimur, Saint Luke Kaborom Saint Peter Yaw-yaw. And zone three Saint Benedict Kiptengwer, Saint Joseph Kabeen, Saint Abraham Chemoibon, Saint Lawrence Ketigoi. The nearest outstation is at 7km and the longest at 35km from the parish.
Every Sunday there is mass in the main parish at 9am. After mass, we proceed to the outstations. In three months we will be able to cover all the outstations. We extend the pastoral activities to the public schools around the parish and its outstations. The parish has four catholic schools both primary and secondary levels but at the moment only one is active due to the lack of funds and management. Our missionary activities here are basically primary evangelization, through preaching, visitations of the small Christian communities, and the outstations.
The biggest challenge we are facing here is a poor road network; the roads are rough and with stones and potholes. This makes it difficult to climb and descend the hills. According to the local community, during rainy seasons, the roads are almost impassible. Because of this and the location of the outstations, we use roughly 400 liters of diesel every month. Another challenge we are facing is water scarcity. The church and the community get water from the rock on the top of the mountain, once there is no rain the spring dries up and affect the whole community. Our Christians find it difficult to be on time for the Eucharistic celebrations on Sundays because the majority live far from the parish. They walk for an hour and thirty minutes before reaching the parish. This makes them come late for pastoral activities. Nevertheless, Saint Paul Kabechei Parishioners and the faithful from the outstations are very welcoming and ready to embrace the Catholic faith.
Saint Agnes outstation
Saint Agnes Koimur is one of the outstations of Saint Paul Kabechei Parish. It’s situated 16km from the main station. The majority of Christians are children, a few youths,s and 5 adults who are the leaders of the outstation.
Every Sunday there is a service presided over by a catechist. They have mass once in three months because there is only a priest and a frater in the main station. Though they are few in number their faith is strong and they are ready to contribute to the development and growth of this outstation.
Saint Joseph Yawyaw school
Saint Joseph Yawyaw school was started by parents around 2000. Some families gave out their land purposefully to educate their children. At the moment, the school has 22 nursery pupils. And there are two teachers (one is being paid by the parents and the other one is paid by the government).
On Sunday the classrooms are used for celebrating Mass. We are planning to buy a piece of land and construct a Church for the outstation.
St Luke station is located 16 kilometers from the parish at KABOROM town center on the hillside. It was started by Fr Reinhard in 2000 just immediately after the parish according to the faithful there. There are very few people there. The whole compound is about 1.5 acres. Three families gave the land to the church. Only 70 people participate in the church when there is a celebration such as Easter and Christmas but during normal Sundays, we have 20 to 30 faithful. St Luke has a Church, a water tank, and a house with two rooms and a kitchen. There are also two toilets and one bathroom which is aside from one of the rooms.
St Luke School
There is an iron sheet constructed ECDE center on the same piece of land at St. Luke Kaborom station. Which is operational. It is not clear how the school runs because the government prohibits the use of religious buildings as schools.
According to the faithful, there is a mango tree planted by the Late Rev. Bishop Conerliis Korrir, the late Bishop of the Diocese of Eldoret. The station sits on an elevated hill point where even from far you can spot it easily. The road is very bad accessible.
As Divine Word Missionaries, our mission is to make the Divine Word, Christ, known to the people of Kabechei so that embracing him, will transform their lives.
Fr. Agre Issere (Roger), SVD and Frt. George Katuka, SVD