The Catholic Diocese of Nakuru (CDN) was once part of the ecclesiastical territory of the Vicariate of the Upper Nile. The Mill Hill Missionaries arrived in Western Kenya in 1904, where the Church grew rapidly among the Luo, Luhya and Kisii people. At the time, the area now covered by the Diocese was occupied by white settlers, migrant labourers and Kalenjin peoples in the Kipsigis and Tugen reserves.
In 1928, the first mission was opened at Nakuru. However, at the time, the mission catered primarily for European and Goan Catholics and their migrant African employees. This mobility of the African population limited progress of evangelization within the white settler areas referred to as “white highlands”. In the reserves, the conservative attitudes of the Kalenjin people coupled with resistance from other Christian missionaries made evangelization extremely difficult.
The Priests of St. Patrick’s Missionary Society were the first missionaries followed by Comboni Fathers. The Spiritan Fathers, Franciscan Friars, and the Contemplative Evangelizers of the Heart of Christ (CEHC), and the Apostles of Jesus successively joined them. These early initiatives have blossomed into a Church that is now predominantly local as a result of the rapid growth of vocations.
The Catholic Diocese of Nakuru (CDN) was erected as a Diocese on 11th January 1968. The Diocese is a suffragan of Nairobi Metropolitan. Until January 1996, the Diocese also covered the area that is now under the Catholic Diocese of Kericho.
When the Diocese was erected, it was administered by an Apostolic Administrator, the late Rev. Monsignor Denis Newman of St. Patrick’s Missionary Society until 1971, when the then Rt. Rev. Ndingi Mwana’a Nzeki Archbishop Emeritus of Nairobi ArchDiocese was appointed the Bishop of Nakuru.
In 1996, the then Bishop Ndingi was transferred to Nairobi as the Archbishop of Nairobi ArchDiocese; and the Very Rev. Moses Muraya (a Diocesan priest) was appointed the Apostolic Administrator until 1997. It is in this year that the then Rt. Rev. Peter Kairo who had served as the Bishop of Murang’a Diocese for thirteen years was appointed the Bishop of the Catholic Diocese of Nakuru.
In 2008, Bishop Kairo was appointed the Archbishop of Nyeri ArchDiocese. Between June 2008-February 2010, the Diocese was under the Apostolic Administration of Rt. Rev. Philip Anyolo, Bishop of the Catholic Diocese of Homabay. On 27th February 2010, the Rt. Rev. Maurice Muhatia Makumba was consecrated as the 3rd Local Ordinary for the Catholic Diocese of Nakuru.