Bishop Joseph Alessandro determined to bring Muslims and Christians together

By Rose Achiego

The newly appointed Bishop of Garissa Rt. Rev. Joseph Alessandro is determined to change the perception of Muslims and Christians in Garissa Diocese through education.

In an interview with Waumini Communications in Nairobi on 20th, January 2015, Bishop Alessandro said education is a vital tool in breaking boundaries of religion, tribalism and politics besides being a key to success.

He noted with sorrow that schools in Garissa Diocese suffered a setback in education, health, security and many other sectors due to the Garissa University attack by Al-Shabaab militants that left 147 students dead and many injured in April, 2015.  “Many schools were shut down after parents pulled out their children and teachers withdrew due to fear of similar attacks.”

Bishop Alessandro who is now appealing to well-wishers to support the Diocese financially, materially and with prayers, confirms that the situation has normalised as the number of children reporting back to school this year has tremendously increased. “This is a sign of progress and courage to continue with education, provision of health care and evangelisation. We are planning to build more primary schools, build the first secondary school and to provide houses for priests and sisters willing to serve in the Diocese.” He said

In response to the Bishop’s call through Kenya Conference of Catholic Bishops (KCCB) – Commission for Education and Religious Education, Longhorn Publishers Limited donated nursery and primary school text books worth more than half a million Kenya shillings.

Handing over the books to the Bishop Alessandro in the presence of Commission for Education and Religious Education National Executive Secretary, Augusta Muthigani, Longhorn National Sales Manager Maurice Kahara said his company felt the needs of the diocese and donated the books in an attempt to fulfil their calling to charity, sponsorship and giving back to the society.

Longhorn has exhibited a close working relationship with the Catholic Church through sponsorship of Catholic Schools Principals’ conferences at the Catholic University of Eastern Africa (CUEA), Diocesan meetings and publication of hymn books for Kitui Diocese. They also work with the Dioceses of Bungoma and Mombasa.

The Catholic Diocese of Garissa run five primary and eight nursery schools attended by both Muslim and Christian children, a health centre, clinics and a rehabilitation centre for the physically handicapped. The Diocese caters for maintenance of these facilities by offering financial and spiritual support.

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