Monday, October 19, 2009

Funeral mass held for Malindi bishop

By NATION Correspondent

Thousands of Catholic faithful from Malindi Diocese thronged the St. Anthony Cathedral in Malindi for a funeral mass for Bishop Francis Baldacchino.

The Rev Baldacchino was the first bishop of Malindi diocese, which was established in 2000. He died on October 9, in his homeland Malta, after suffering liver and heart complications.

The mass, conducted by Bishop Philip Anyolo of Homa Bay, was attended by more than 100 priests and nuns from all over the country.

Faithful shed tears as verses and songs were presented by choirs and various groups.

Mr Joel Mburya moved the congregation to tears with his poem Our Bishop, Goodbye, Sleep In Peace.

Carry on work

In his sermon, Bishop Anyolo urged the clergy and laymen to carry on with the work the bishop left undone in the diocese.

“Bishop Baldacchino was a true missionary who was at home away from his home. The best tribute we can offer him is to continue with the work he left so that evangelization which he stood for, may continue,” he said.

Although the diocese expected the bishop to be buried in Malindi, Bishop Anyolo said it did not matter “because his spirit was and is here in Malindi with us”.

Bishop Anyolo urged young men to join priesthood, just as Bishop Baldacchino advocated in his lifetime.

Pope Benedict XVI, Ivan Cardinal Dias, the prefect in Vatican City, and John Cardinal Njue were among those who sent condolences.