Archbishop Ndingi Mwana A’Nzeki is buried at Holy Family Basilica
On Tuesday April 7, 2020,
Archbishop Ndingi Mwana a’Nzeki died on Monday March 30 after a long sickness was rested at Holy Family Basilica Crypt. A crypt is from Latin crypta meaning a mausoleum. It is a pebble chamber underneath the floor of a church that contains coffins.
Late archbishop is the second bishop to be laid at the Crypt after the late Mombasa Archbishop John Njenga. The idea of the crypt is drawn from the persecution of Christians compulsory to worship in caves which were later termed as catacombs. Archbishop Ndingi's burial was attended by only 100 invited friends and family.
The Christians who perished at the caves were buried there and the idea was preserved and brought into the modern day. Burying the Former archbishop in the crypt is in line with the long standing Catholic Church traditions where many cathedrals over the world have crypts holding the remains of their bishops and cardinals.
Nobel laureate Wangari Maathai and Archbishop Ndingi Mwana a'Nzeki campaigned for multi-party democracy. It was when he helped Nobel Peace laureate Prof Wangari Maathai evade the security forces during a brutal government crackdown on human rights activists in the early 1990s.
Archbishop Mwana a'Nzeki was part of the plan with Fr Ndikaru wa Teresia and Fr Francis Mirangoh saw Prof Maathai disguise herself as a sick Muslim Somali woman, before being driven by Fr Ndikaru Wa Teresia some 200km (125 miles) through several security force checkpoints to his home in Nakuru town in Kenya's famous Rift Valley region.
Prof Maathai, a prominent human rights and environmental campaigner, wore the Muslim hijab, and stared blankly at security officers after her driver - a priest - was forced to stop at a roadblock. "Is she sick?" the officers asked Fr Ndikaru. The priest replied in the affirmative, and the officer allowed them to drive on. Prof Maathai then emerged alongside the archbishop to address a meeting the next day. The authorities blocked it from going ahead but the archbishop was undeterred - their political guile and defiance had gained huge publicity, to the embarrassment of then-President Daniel Arap Moi's government.
Life in the Catholic Church
- 1961:Ordained as a priest at age 29
- 1969: Became Kenya's youngest Catholic bishop at age 37
- 1997:Consecrated as Archbishop of Nairobi at age 65
- 2007:Retired at age 75
- 2020: Died at 89 years
Archbishop Mwana a'Nzeki will be most remembered for the help he gave them when ethnic violence swept through the Rift Valley in the early 1990s. Tens of thousands of people were displaced, and he hired Lorries to take them to churches where they were given refuge. Archbishop Mwana a'Nzeki remained outspoken, accusing the-then ruling party, KANU, of fueling the violence in an attempt to drive out opposition supporters and retain its grip on power.
In an interview in 2000, Archbishop Mwana a'Nzeki said that was the most difficult period in his life. "I saw innocent people being persecuted… and killed. Houses were burnt while people denounced the comments I made," he said.
Other than his credentials as a fighter for justice and peace, Archbishop Mwana a'Nzeki also championed African culture and customs within the Catholic Church. He often wore a distinctive cap that had been given to him by an Ethiopian colleague. Its appearance was unlike the skullcap normally worn by Catholic bishops. Father Prof Lawrence Njoroge, who worked with him, says the bishop enjoyed "African and classical music, with a special liking for Fadhili William, Fundi Konde, W Amadeus Mozart and Ludwig van Beethoven".
Archbishop Ndingi was also known for his strong opposition to the use of condoms, despite the World Health Organization (WHO) encouraging the use of contraceptives to tackle the HIV/Aids pandemic. "Aids... has grown so fast because of the availability of condoms," he told his congregation in 2003, causing an outcry among activists who said they had been prevented from distributing condoms because of the Church's opposition.
Source: Kenyan media