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  OBITUARY  

January 22 - 28, 2010

 

 Coastweek   Kenya


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Bishop Francis Baldacchino

Catholics Mourn Death
Of First Malindi Bishop

Coastweek -- Bishop Francis Baldacchino, OFMCap, of Malindi (Kenya) passed away on October 10, 2009.

Born in Malta, on July 6, 1936, the Capuchin Friar and missionary worked in Africa for over 40 years (Lamu Island, parish of Mpeketoni, parish of Ruiru in Nairobi and Garissa) and was appointed Bishop by Pope John Paul II in 2000 and called to lead the new Diocese of Malindi, which also includes the districts of Magarini, Garsen, and Lamu.

It was no easy task, as a result of the vast territory and the large number of faithful (nearly half a million).

However, Bishop Baldacchino was soon loved by all and showed great concern for local problems, leaving behind important initiatives in the area of healthcare (six clinics)

Coastweek -- Bishop Francis Baldacchino PHOTO - LWANGA MOMBASA

and schools, pastoral centers and parishes, many of which were made possible with support from the Pontifical Society for the Propagation of the Faith, with which he maintained a close contact.

His home was Africa, where he also established a relationship with the community of Italians in Malindi.

The funeral service was held in Floriana (La Valletta-Malta), on October 13, 2009 .

Archbishop Boniface Lele together with Cardinal Njue and Archbishop Sulumeti attended the burial in Malta, in between attending the Synod.
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Masses In Malindi Diocese For
Bishop Francis Baldacchino

Coastweek-- It was in the loving memory of their late Bishop that the Malindi Diocese organized two Masses; Tuesday 13th October 2009 , which was said concurrently with the late bishop's requiem Mass in Malta where he was buried on the same day.

The second Mass was on the Sunday 18th October 2009 , at St. Anthony Cathedral in Malindi.

This Mass was organized so as to give chance to parishioners of the Diocese and friends who could not attend the previous one to pay their last respect to their loving father and friend.

That Sunday by 9.30 am the Cathedral was packed to the brim with parishioners following the proceedings even from the outside.

Bishop Philip Anyollo of Homabay was the main celebrant assisted by Malindi Diocese's Vicar General Fr. Albert Buijs, priests from the diocese, the Episcopal vicar of Mombasa;

Fr. John Correa, priests from other dioceses and  deacons, together with several seminarians, nuns, and brothers who had come to pay their last respects.

After the beautiful Eucharistic celebration befitting a fallen hero among his people, there was a procession to the altar by two representatives of;

priests, seminarians, the religious, St. Joseph, Anne, St. Monica, Catholic Men Association, Missionary Children, Wana Maria and altar servers to light a candle at the table that was beautifully decorated with flowers and there lay the portrait of the late Bishop.

The choir led the congregation in singing the Salve Regina with all its solemnity and hence changing the mood of the celebrations to that of adoration and prayer.

Different representatives later presented their speeches; Fr. John Correa read Archbishop Boniface Lele's encouraging and consoling speech and the condolences on behalf of the people of Mombasa Archdiocese.

Archbishop Lele was away in Rome attending the Synod meeting while the death occurred.

The late Bishop Francis served in Kenya for more than nine years and was an active member of the AMECEA.

To Malindi Diocese, from us your brothers and sisters of the Catholic Archdiocese of Mombasa;

"you shall never walk alone, our father shall be your father and together we shall remain strong in the Lord's vineyard".

- Report by Lilly Japanni   lwangacm@wananchi.com

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