Kitale Diocese Catholic bishop-elect Henry Odonya was on Friday given a heroic hand-over to Trans Nzoia in a ceremony preceded by a procession from Eldoret to Moi's Bridge ahead of his ordination and installation today.
Rev Odonya greeted thousands of Catholic faithful who gathered along the roadsides to bid him farewell.
President William Ruto and a host of top government officials are expected to attend today's ordination and installation at Kitale showground.
The new bishop was a priest in Eldoret where he was brought before he was appointed by Pope Francis on November 4, 2022 to head Kitale Diocese. He is replacing Bishop Maurice Crowley who is retiring at the age of 75 years.
Several roads in Eldoret town were closed as the new bishop's convoy snaked its way towards Moi's Bridge, the same spot where Bishop of the Catholic Diocese of Eldoret Dominic Kimengich was received a day before his consecration three years ago.
The convoy that momentarily brought business in Eldoret to a standstill was led by Bishop Kimengich and Uasin Gishu Governor Jonathan Bii.
Budalangi MP Raphael Wanjala, who is Rev Odonya's uncle, as well as Uasin Gishu County Assembly Speaker Philip Muigei, were among the leaders who escorted the bishop-elect to Kitale in readiness for today's ordination and installation.
The new bishop's younger brother David Masiga, who is also a priest serving as a missionary in Ngong, was in Eldoret to bid him farewell.
Moments before the huge convoy left Eldoret, Odonya, who is known for his humility and unassuming nature, said: "I thank you Eldoret for nurturing me. I promise you, as I move to Kitale, I will keep serving humanity and the Church, and we will keep meeting."
Odonya was brought up at the Eldoret's Kenya Railways quarters near the present-day Kambi Samaki where his late father, George Odonya, worked for Kenya Railways.
Bishop Kimengich asked Odonya to work with his Eldoret Diocese in brokering peace among warring communities in the North Rift. The Church is striving to restore calm in areas such as the Kerio Valley, cutting across Elgeyo Marakwet, West Pokot and Turkana.
He reminded Odonya that he was nurtured by the late Bishop Cornelius Korir, a renowned peace icon and that he should try to follow in his (Korir's) footsteps in the restoration of peace in troubled parts of West Pokot, which falls under the Catholic Diocese of Kitale.
"There are problems in areas such as West Pokot and Elgeyo Marakwet. Please ensure that there is peace in the troubled areas. We will work together to ensure our people live in peace. Let us also work together in ensuring the political class takes the lead in bringing about peace and justice," Bishop Kimengich said.
Budalangi MP Raphael Wanjala commended his nephew for living a humble life and serving the Catholic Church with dedication.
The MP said the news of the appointment of his nephew as bishop by Pope Francis took him by surprise.
"I only request you to ask God for wisdom. As your uncle, I prayed for wisdom and that is why I have served as MP for many years. I was travelling when I heard the news of your appointment, and at first, I didn't believe it was you. But here you are - now a new bishop at the young age of 46," Wanjala said.
Several priests who had attended a farewell mass at the Sacred Heart of Jesus Cathedral in Eldoret on Thursday wished the new bishop well. In Moi's Bridge, the new bishop was received by his predecessor, Maurice Crowley, and Trans Nzoia Governor George Natembeya, among other leaders.