BLANTYRE--Thousands of Malawians, led by Pres Joyce Banda, on Wednesday buried Bishop Emeritus Felix Mkhori at Mtimawoyera Seminary cemetery in Chikhwawa district.
Mkhori, who last served as Bishop for Lilongwe Diocese, was buried at Mtimawoyera because it was his wish to be laid to rest there where he became the first bishop of Chikhwawa and had chosen Mtimawoyera as his retirement home.
The bishop, who was 81, died on Sunday at Mwaiwathu private hospital in Blantyre, from undisclosed causes.
But Banda asked Malawians to emulate the life and stewardship of the bishop, one of the signatories of the famous 1992 pastoral letter that criticised the socio-economic disparities of the government of the founder president Kamuzu Banda and led to democracy a year later.
“This is a man who dedicated his life to serving God as evidenced by the life that the Bishop lived. I asked Honorable John Bande on why the Bishop had to be buried here in Chikhwawa when he was not from here, and the answer I got showed me the late Bishop’s utter dedication to the work of the Lord that made him a man without borders,” said Banda, in a speech broadcast on state radio.
Said Banda: “Most of the times when a person dies their relatives always ask government or their employers to bury them at their home villages even when they haven’t built a house there.”
The late Emeritus Bishop was the Chairperson of the Episcopal Conference of Malawi (ECM) during the time the Catholic clergy wrote a pastoral letter during the Kamuzu Banda era that helped bring about political change in the country.
In view of this, the president said she was reminded of what Bishop Zuza said during the late president Bingu wa Mutharika’s era that ECM wouldn’t stop criticizing government and other stakeholders when necessary.
“As Malawians, there is need to accept criticisms leveled against us when we are in the wrong and to celebrate if we are moving in the right direction together as a nation with hope and faith,” she explained.
Chairperson for ECM Joseph Zuza said Mkhori was an "initiator of development programmes in the Church."
Born on 24th August, 1931, and ordained priest on 8th September, 1961, he was consecrated Bishop on 8th January, 1978 and served as Bishop of Chikwawa until 23rd January, 2001 when he became Bishop of the Diocese of Lilongwe.
He retired from the pastoral office of Bishop of Lilongwe on 4th July, in 2007 and lived at St. Montfort, Nchalo until his death.
Former 'Official Hostess' Cecilia Kadzamila and DPP president Peter Mutharika were key figures who attended the funeral which saw scores of bishops, priests and nuns celebrate Mkhori's life with a High Mass.
(c) The Maravi Post 2012. Reproduction without acknowledgement authorised