SECTIONS

Catholic Priest walks away in protest, refuses to preside over a burial in Kakamega

Hopes of a grieving family in Kakamega County to give their dead a descent send-off were dashed after a Catholic Priest sulked and refused to preside over the burial service.

The funeral of the middle-aged woman had been peaceful until a drunkard relative messed it up. The visibly grumpy man of God downed his tools and walked away in protest, claiming that his conscience doesn't allow him to preside over a sham of a funeral.

This was after one of the grieving kin, who had arrived late and drunk, wreaked havoc. The drunkard, identified as Henry, had travelled all the way from Nairobi only to find the requiem mass half-way.

A fact that he had missed the body-viewing session of his dead aunt angered him and he vowed to do so, come hell or high water.

"I must view auntie Lydia's body mpende msipende (whether you like it or not) and pay her my last respects," hissed the tipsy Henry, as he bulldozed his way to the casket.

A fierce argument ensued and quickly degraded into a wrestling match, with an enraged Henry directing his anger at ushers and relatives who tried to stop him from disrupting the mass and accessing the coffin.

The drama was too much for the man of God and in what seemed a fit of self-righteous rage; he quickly packed and walked off in a huff.

"Henry arrived from Nairobi at about 2 pm when the body was ready for burial and there was no way the priest was going to allow him to interrupt the sermon and view it. But Henry insisted that he must view it and pay last respects," said David Shikala, a mourner who attended the funeral.

"There was no way the ushers were going to allow him access the coffin. It was in the middle of a sermon and there he was forcing his way toward the coffin, making everyone panic. He tried to shove away ushers who tried to shield him. But before he knew reinforcement had been called and the whole thing turned into a fine mess," added the mourner.

Some mourners left after the disruption. The grieving kin had to apologize, urging locals to calm down and proceed with the burial.

"We had to prevail upon him to stop messing the funeral. It was an ugly scene, but was beyond some of us," said Sore a close relative of Henry.

The family of the deceased was forced to proceed with the burial after pleas to calm down the man of God and get him to preside over the funeral fell on deaf ears.

But one thing they did was to ensure that Henry could not have his way by confining him in a closed room until the burial was over.

"That boy should not bring his Kawangware madness to this village; he is drunk and arrived here very late. Where was he from Thursday when this body came from the morgue? In fact, he was not in the funeral committee and contributed nothing towards the same," said a family member.