The catholic diocese of Machakos has been administered by three bishops, Two apostolic administrators and one vicar delegate. Their leadership has been as follows;
Arch-bishop Emeritus Raphael Ndingi was the first fruit from Ukambani to be ordained to priesthood on January 1st, 1961 at Kabaa. He got the news of his appointment as the bishop of the catholic diocese of machakos at the beginning of July 1969 while he was completing his studies in U.S.A, Rochester University. On arriving back to Kenya at the end of July 1969, news reporters interviewed him concerning the new appointment and he said “it is my intention to work for the people and with the people of Machakos diocese in the spirit of Harambee. Our greatest need is the personnel to manage the missions and the schools. I am convinced that in the catholic schools there are young men who would make excellent priests, if the grandeur of the priesthood were put before them. I am anxious to avail of the good will of the laity. I shall depend on them to help me to promote the cause of Christ in Machakos” he had a great concern on the personnel to run the mission, and the schools.
On August 1st, 1969, 12 catholic bishops were consecrated by pope Paul VI for various countries and among them was Bishop Raphael Ndingi of Machakos Kenya, diocese. In a very colorful celebration, Bishop Raphael Ndingi was installed as the new bishop of Machakos diocese on October 7th 1969, at Machakos school stadium.
At the time, there were only 35 permanent churches in the 14 parishes. The work in the diocese was being guided by Arch bishop McCarthy who since 1946 had been the shepherd of Machakos. The new bishop projected a spirit of confidence and gave the diocese a local face with the support of the co-worker missionary and local priests, religious men and women and the laity. He put the diocese on a very firm foundation despite the many challenges that faced it. He opened Makueni parish which was split for the expansive Kaumoni parish in 1970. He ordained his first priest Msgr Alfonse Mondiu in 1971.The two events gathered momentum for new parishes to bring the word of God closer to the people and building a diocesan clergy to minister them. He also awakened Christians to be faithful to their vocation and support the church generously towards the spirit of self-reliance. In 1970, the new bishop Raphael Ndingi and Sr. Damiana C.P.S visited Austria, Germany to seek for donations and the exercise was so successful and this enabled the diocese to get started. On September 7th 1971, Bishop Raphael Ndingi celebrated his second Episcopal anniversary and there were notable achievements and progress in terms of evangelization, education, health.
The diocese was growing with vigor and on October 9th, 1971, the radio Vatican announced that bishop Raphael Ndingi had been transferred to Nakuru. This news was met with a lot of disbelief. Then an attempt to block the transfer through a protest march to the nunciature, sending a letter of appeal to the holy father and sending a delegate of priests to Rome was organized but all in vain. Bishop Ndingi had to humbly accept the transfer and he left Machakos for Nakuru on January 1st 1972.
The Holy Ghost fathers who had evangelized the diocese still formed the majority of the clergy.Fr. Jim Kavanagh was one of the Holy Ghost fathers were left as the apostolic administrator of the orphaned diocese. At the end of 1972, Fr. Kavanagh fell sick and retired to Ireland his home country.
After Fr.Jim Kavanagh left, Fr.Tiernan took charge of the diocese with the tittle of vicar delegate until new Bishop was installed.
Joy returned in the diocese on July 20th 1973 when it was the announced from Rome that Fr. Urbanus Joseph Kioko had been appointed to become the new bishop. By then, Fr. Urbanus Joseph Kioko had served for 12 years as a priest and he was 45 years of age at the time of his appointment. The consecration of the new Bishop Urbanus Kioko took place on October 7th, 1973 at Machakos Stadium grounds. After his installation, he launched the annual diocesan collection in 1973 which was embraced by the faithful as the main funding for capacity building. The first diocesan collection netted Ksh. 50,000 and it has increased tremendously to Ksh. 11,000,000 during Bishop Kioko’s retirement in 2003. The realization was expanded notably to build our lady of Lourdes Cathedral- Machakos, St.Joseph pastoral center, Pope PaulVI seminary and other religious institutions for the formation of priests and religious vocations as well as Bishop Kioko catholic hospital.
The number of the parishes increased from 15 to 42 and administered by 95 diocesan priests. 85 of them had been ordained by the late bishop Urbanus Kioko. Education and health had become a great desire for the people and so a good Catholics and 22 dispensaries and 2 hospitals all over the diocese were begun. The number of brothers and sisters rose tremendously and by the time the late Bishop Kioko was retiring, the diocese had accommodated sisters’ congregations from all the continents in Machakos diocese. The growth of the vocations to priesthood had increased tremendously from 6 to 95 local Kamba priests. Still the diocese had the biggest number of senior seminarians in Kenya. The outstations rose from 135 in 1973 to 1075 in 2003.There was considerable developments in participation in liturgy and devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary. Since the beginning of his term in the office, the late bishop Kioko encouraged the catholic choirs and other liturgical activities leading to lively and interesting liturgical celebrations. Bishop Kioko believed strongly in the participation of the laity in the work of evangelization. The late bishop Kioko taught firmly that the church should be self -supporting, self- propagating and self- reliant and that is how the faithful learned very fast on how to support in the work of evangelization.
The health of the late bishop Kioko deteriorated by the beginning of 2003. Therefore the Holy Father asked Bishop Boniface Lele who was by then the bishop of Kitui to take over Machakos diocese as its apostolic administrator. For six years, the late bishop Kioko bore with a lot of courage and faith a lot of sufferings due to his sickness. In such a state, he never despaired nor complained but was steadfast in prayer. He passed on March 2nd 2008. May he rest in peace.