ALL AFRICA REPORT: Catholics have marked the 7th anniversary of the death of the late Maurice Cardinal Otunga, who passed on September 6, 2003 at the age of 80 and after having pursued his pastoral service for more than fifty years.
The colourful memorial service was held at Nairobi's Holy Family Minor Basilica and presided over by the Apostolic Nuncio to Kenya, Archbishop Alain Paul Lebeaupin. A huge congregation including the clergy, religious men and women, as well as family members of the late Cardinal Otunga, attended the occasion.
Also in attendance were Archbishop emeritus Ndingi Mwana a'Nzeki and Auxiliary Bishop David Kamau of the metropolitan archdiocese of Nairobi.
In his sermon, Archbishop Lebeupin urged the gathering to pray hard for the soul of the late Cardinal, and in particular now that a process to have him beatified has been accepted by the Vatican.
He described the late Cardinal Otunga as one who had lived his religious life to the fullest.
"His preoccupation was not just his personal spiritual future but he wanted that through him God be recognized as a Father who loves us in spite of our failures," stressed the Apostolic Nuncio.
"Each of us without exception today and where we are living and working, we have a mission to be instrumental of the love of God," he further told the huge congregation.
He added that the late Cardinal Otunga carried his own Cross just as Christ carried His Cross.
"The Cross of Christ is not just the sufferings of His body, but His Cross is also the sufferings for the salvation of humankind," the Apostolic Nuncio pointed out.
"Our Cross is to be with Christ in His mission and in this collaboration the first thing we have to do it is to convert and to change our life being dedicated to the mission of salvation," he further stressed.
And addressing journalists after the memorial service, Postulator of Cardinal Otunga's process, Fr Anthony Bellagamba said the process was at its second stage, where the committee is studying written works of as well as on the late Cardinal Otunga.
"We have covered the first stage, where the Vatican has accepted the late Cardinal Otunga as Servant of God," he explained.
The late Cardinal Otunga was ordained a priest in 1950 and consecrated at bishop in 1957. He was appointed archbishop of Nairobi archdiocese in 1969 and created a Cardinal by the late Pope Paul VI in 1971.