Respected clergyman – Ndingi Mwana a‘Nzeki, mourned
The Catholic Church fraternity has been thrown into mourning following the death of respected retired Archbishop Raphael Ndingi Mwana a ‘Nzeki. He died in Nairobi yesterday aged 89.
Nairobi Catholic Archbishop John Cardinal Njue announced the passing on of the bishop at the Mater Hospital.
“A sombre morning as His Eminence John Cardinal Njue has announced the passing on of His Grace Archbishop Emeritus Raphael Ndingi Mwana a’Nzeki,” the Catholic Archdiocese of Nairobi said in a Facebook post on Tuesday, adding: “Let us pray for the repose of his soul.”
According to Fr David Njau, the communications coordinator at Archdiocese of Nairobi, the retired bishop “rested in the early hours” of yesterday morning.
The emeritus bishop was residing at Clergy Home in Ruaraka which is owned by the Catholic Church to host elderly priests. He has been suffering from dementia.
“He was taken ill on Monday night before he was moved to Mater Hospital where he was pronounced dead,” said the priest.
Fr Njau said there would be a meeting today to be chaired by Cardinal Njue involving select bishops and priests to organise Ndingi’s funeral.
“The emeritus will be buried by the church. He will likely be interred at the Holy Family Basilica like the case of the late Bishop John Njenga,” said Fr Njau.
Humble but fearless, Ndingi who retired from the Church in October 2007 after serving for more than 50 years, retreated to a quite life in the Catholic church facility.
Voice of reason
Confined to a wheelchair for the most of the period, he is said to have suffered loss of memory and speech.
He has been under the care of nurses while two priests have been praying for him daily.
Cardinal Njue has been a frequent visitor to the Ruaraka home to monitor Ndingi’s welfare.
Eldoret diocese Catholic bishop Dominic Kimengich yesterday described Ndingi as a “mentor, fearless priest, voice of reason and spokesman of the poor.”
“He is the one who ordained me as priest in 1986 while serving as the bishop of Nakuru and sent me to Rome for studies.
He was a wonderful man,” said Bishop Kimengich who also serves Lodwar.
“Ndingi served in Nakuru which is a political hotbed. He was unifier and a courageous bishop who would tell off politicians inciting the people against each other,” said the bishop alluding to Ndingi’s stance against the 1991, 1993 and 1996 politically instigated clashes in Nakuru which saw thousands of people killed and others displaced from their homes.
Ndingi was once a star swimmer, specialising in backstroke, and a believer in the Latin adage Mens sana in corpore sano (a healthy mind in a healthy body).