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100 to attend Ndingi Mwana a’Nzeki’s funeral at Basilica

Retired Catholic Archbishop the late Ndingi Mwana a’Nzeki will be buried at a basement crypt at the Holy Family Basilica in Nairobi on Tuesday.

Nyeri Archbishop Anthony Muheria, in a statement on Wednesday, said the late cleric’s remains would be interred inside a room next to Archbishop Emeritus John Njenga’s.

Archbishop Njenga was the first person to be laid to rest at a special place created at the Holy Family Minor Basilica in Nairobi.
“Funeral Mass for the late Archbishop Emeritus Most Rev. Raphael Ndingi is scheduled for Tuesday at 10.00a.m. and the Burial Rite thereafter at the same venue,” Archbishop Muheria added.

A crypt (from Latin crypta “vault”) is a stone chamber beneath the floor of a church or other building that typically contains coffins or religious relics.

With his remains interred within the church, Ndingi will join other top Catholic prelates who have been buried inside churches where they served.

The tomb, similar to a cabin with two opening doors, will accommodate the remains of the archbishop inside a coffin.

Inscriptions of his personal details, including his date of ordination and the date of his death, will be written on an adjacent slab.

The world over, many catholic cathedrals have crypts holding remains of their bishops and cardinals.

Following Covid-19 outbreak and to adhere to the government’s directive on social distancing, the Catholic church has said the funeral will be private.

Only about 100 people will be allowed to the ceremony, locking out politicians and even Catholic clergy and faithful, whom the late archbishop mentored and led for more than 60 years in priesthood.

According to a statement released Wednesday, a requiem mass will be held at the Holy Family Basilica from 10am followed by the burial thereafter.

“It will be a private funeral ceremony. Nor more than 100 persons will be allowed at the funeral,” the press statement said.

“Those participating will include representatives of the Mwana a’Nzeki family from Mwala area in Machakos County, Kenya Catholic Conference of Bishops, Diocese of Machakos, Diocese of Nakuru and the Archdiocese of Nairobi,” the statement added.

In Kenya, few bishops have been buried inside a church since most of them die after their retirement.

Clerics buried inside a church include former Nyeri Diocese Bishop Gatimu Ngandu (1987), his successor Nicodemus Kirima (2007), Tiberius Mugendi of Kisii Diocese (1993), Archbishop Njenga and Bishop Longinus Atundo of Bungoma (1996).

Archbishop of Nairobi Maurice Cardinal Otunga was buried in accordance with his wishes at Saint Austin’s cemetery in Nairobi in August 2015.