The seminary’s history can be dated from around 1962, when Mill Hill priest Fr. Kuhn was asked by the Bishop of Kisumu to start a parish in Tindinyo. Fr. Kuhn invited the Xaverian Brothers from Mumias to establish their house and serve Tindinyo parish. These brothers built a school, Our Lady of Perpetual Help secondary school for form I and II for their aspirants.
By around 1968-69 there were hardly any aspirants joining the school, and it was converted into a high school for forms V and VI of St. Peter’s Minor Seminary, Kakamega. During that time it was unofficially referred to as “Tindinyo College”. Among the prominent students of the then Tindinyo college are Bishop John Oballa Owaa, the ordinary of Ngong diocese and the late Bishop Linus Okok Okwatch, Bishop Norman King’oo Wambua, ordinary of Machakos diocese. This college was phased out with the introduction of the 8-4-4 system of education.
Meanwhile, the Catholic bishops of Kenya were contemplating beginning a Second theologicum to serve as home for African Christian theology and inculturation, and Tindinyo provided a fertile ground for such an enterprise. On 27 January 1989 the new theologicum opened its doors to 79 students, a resident staff of three priests (the founding rector was Fr. Sylvester Sulwe) and served by the Assumption Sisters of Eldoret. It was named after the oldest Uganda Martyr, St. Matthias Mulumba Kalemba. On 22 February 1989 the seminary was officially inaugurated by the Apostolic Nuncio to Kenya Archbishop Clemente Faccani accompanied by all the bishops of Kenya, including Maurice Michael Cardinal Otunga. Later the Seminary was affiliated to the Pontifical Urban University in Rome and was hence able to offer the baccalaureate degree in sacred theology in addition to its internal diploma in theology. Bishop Michael Otieno Odiwa of Homabay diocese was a student in the pioneer class of St. Matthias Mulumba Senior Seminary, Tindinyo.
The seminary provides a four year course in theology for seminarians who have completed philosophical studies at St. Augustine’s Senior Seminary, Mabanga. Oher seminaries such as St. Joseph’s Meru Philosophicum, Nairobi also send seminarians to Tindinyo. In the academic year 2020-2021 there were 116 students at various stages in their study of theology.
The formators who are qualified in various Church disciplines are 15 in number, 12 of whom are resident while 3 are visiting. We also have lay instructors who teach Church accounts, sacred music and computer sciences.
The seminary is located in the Diocese of Eldoret in the Western Region of Rift Valley Province bordering Kisumu Archdiocese and Kakamega Diocese. It is a distance of 380 kilometers west of Nairobi, the capital city of Kenya.
The Seminary Rule of life is based on the Apostolic Exhortation, Pastores Dabo Vobis of Pope St. John Paul II. In this exhortation the Holy Father writes: “And he went up on the mountain and called to him those whom he desired: and they came to him. And he appointed twelve to be with him, and to be sent out to preach and have authority to cast out demons” (Mk. 3:13-15). “To be with him”, it is not difficult to find in these words a reference to Jesus “accompanying” the apostles for the sake of their vocation. After calling them and before he sends them out, indeed to be able to send them out to preach, Jesus asks them to set aside a period of time for formation. The aim of this is to develop a relation of deep communion and friendship with himself. In this time, they the benefit of a catechesis that is deeper than the teaching he gives to the people (cf. Mt. 13:11; also he wishes them to be witnesses of his silent prayer to the Father (cf. Jn. 17:1-26; Lk. 22:39-45)” (PDV 42). Our main responsibility as formators is to accompany the seminarians as they discern their vocation to the priestly ministry.
St. Matthias Mulumba Seminary celebrated its Silver Jubilee on the of 14th February 2014. The occasion was attended by all Bishops of the Kenyan Episcopate. His Excellency Archbishop Charles D. Balvo, Apostolic Nuncio to Kenya, who was the guest of honor, reminded the formators, seminarians and the lay faithful of the obligation that each one has to support our seminaries without relying on external donations. He noted: “It is a divine duty of every Christian to be actively involved in the integral formation of future priests”.
The Seminary’s first Rector was Fr. Sylvester Sulwe. Others include Fathers Benjamin Kiriswa, Patrick Maliti, John Philip Odero, Boniface Kariuki, Maurice Muhatia Makumba (later Bishop of Nakuru), Dominic Kimengich (later Bishop of Lodwar before his appointment as Bishop of Eldoret), Daniel Nakameti, and, as of 2014, Douglas Mwija.