Following the death of Rt. Rev. Francis Baldacchino, the Bishop of Malindi and the subsequent burial in Malta, His Lordship Philip Anyolo, the acting Chairman of Kenya Episcopal Conference, presided over Holy Mass at the newly renovated Cathedral of Malindi on Sunday 18 October, 2009.
The solemn Holy Mass was attended by a large number of the faithful of the diocese who, since they didn’t have the opportunity to go to Malta,(where the late was buried on October 14, 2009) came to celebrate the life of the late Bishop Baldacchino.
The liturgy was organized very well. At the end of the Mass there was a great joy as the sadness that had clouded the faithful was lifted up. It was for them like the funeral Mass they never attended and at the end of it all they commended their late Bishop into the Hands of the Lord.
On behalf of all the bishops in Kenya, Bishop Anyolo, who was accompanied by Fr. Dominic Kimengich, the acting Secretary General Kenya Episcopal Conference, encouraged the faithful to be firm in their faith and to cherish the time the late Bishop shared with them as their shepherd.
“The motto of Bishop Baldacchino was: they may be closer together and therefore it becomes an incentive for them to remain united as one family of Christ,” he said.
He exhorted the clergy, the faithful and the religious in the diocese to continue the good work that Bishop Baldaccchino had left behind.
“Also, pray so that the Good Shepherd, Jesus Christ, may give you another shepherd when the time comes who will carry on with the mission of the Church in the Diocese of Malindi,” said Bishop Anyolo.
The faithful of Malindi are now anxiously waiting for the shepherd who will be their administrator during this time of “Sede Vacante”, since even the office of the Vicar General ceased with the death of the Bishop.
Bishop Anyolo assured them that the Church will take care of that concern as soon as possible.
The late Bishop Baldacchino is well remembered for many spiritual, pastoral and social development developments he initiated, since he became the Shepherd of the newly established diocese of Malindi in 2000.
From the seven parishes that were there when he took over as the Bishop of Malindi, now there are seventeen parishes that make up the diocese. From the one local clergy that was there, now there are ten diocesan priests together with missionary priests ministering in the diocese.
A very modern pastoral center and the diocesan secretariat bear testimony to the legacy of a hard working bishop that had great vision for the diocese of Malindi.
Vicar General Rev. Fr. Albert Buijs, Fr. Ambrose Muli and Fr. Peter Karanja, the assistant Parish priest of the Cathedral have continued to work tirelessly to ensure normalcy of things following the untimely death of the Bishop.
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