Hundreds of Catholics, led by their bishops today thronged at Nairobi's Holy Family Minor Basilica to a memorial service for the Maurice Maurice Otunga, the country's first cardinal, who died on September 6, 2003. The anniversary service was concelebrated by Archbishop Ndingi Mwana a'Nzeki of the metropolitan archdiocese of Nairobi, Bishop Alfred Rotich of Military Ordinariate Diocese and former archbishop of Mombasa archdiocese, The Rt. Rev. John Njenga. In his address, the Archbishop said that the proposed process of making the late Cardinal Otunga a saint had not yet began, contrary to local press reports. "We intend to see the Vatican's ambassador to Kenya over the issue. Normally, the ordinary bishop has to apply to the Holy See for the process to begin. We have not done this yet, but we intend to," he told the huge gathering. And he would not rule out that the process could begin earlier than the time allowed by the church canon law, which stipulates that such a process would only begin five years after the death of the person. There has been exceptions such as of the late Mother Teresa and the late Pope John Paul 11. We must as well apply for this, ahead of the stipulated five years as per the church canon law, but this will depend on what reactions we shall get from the Holy See, he explained. "Cardinal; Otunga died three years ago; hence we still have two years more before we can officially apply for the process to start. But this does not bar us from applying for the exception of the rule as the case has been with the late Mother Teresa and Pope John Paul 11," stressed archbishop Ndingi. In his homily, Father Professor Lawrence Njoroge praised the late Cardinal, saying: "he lived what he preached, simply life, full of honesty, dedication and commitment. A life worth to emulate".
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