Archbishop Njenga was ‘full of wisdom, honour’

Reuben Mwambingu @reubenmwambingu

The Catholic Church and the country is mourning the demise of Archbishop Emeritus John Njenga of Mombasa archdiocese who died on Sunday at Mater Hospital after a short illness.

Retired President Kibaki said the late Njenga held a delicate transitional period between 1976 and 1982 when he served as the head of the Kenya Episcopal Conference, a period that called for solemn introspection and judicious leadership.

“Archbishop Njenga has etched his footprint in the history of the Catholic church in Kenya and departed honourably as a remarkable servant of God,” he eulogised.

On the other hand, Central Organisation of Trade Unions (Cotu) secretary general Francis Atwoli described the late bishop as a man who inspired his (Atwoli) spiritual journey when he served as a priest at Our Lady of Visitation.

“We shall remember him for development of schools and for the construction of many churches in areas such as Mpeketoni and  Kenya in general. His life is an example of an honourable man of God whose development is to be emulated by both the government and the private sector to create an  environment that gives every Kenyan a platform to reach their full potential,” Atwoli said in his statement.

Various Catholic clerics at the Coast led by Mombasa Catholic Vicar General Fr Wilybard Lagho spoke fondly of the bishop’s life, describing him as an epitome of wisdom and humility.

In an interview with People Daily at the Catholic Archdiocese of Mombasa secretariat in Tudor yesterday Fr Lagho described the late Njenga as  a man “who had a very strong passion about education,” a quality he said saw him establish schools in Eldoret and Mombasa to his name.

“He would look for scholarships all over…It was during his time that I actually got scholarship for Islamic studies. So he was not a narrow-looking person. He was a far-sighted leader,” he said.

The deceased was also a founding member of Coast Interfaith Council of Clerics which came about after the Kaya Bombo clashes in Likoni in 1997 during which victims sought refuge in churches and mosques. Lagho said plans for the funeral will be communicated at a later date.

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