Castel Gandolfo ( Fides Service) – Cardinal Maurice Michael Otunga, emeritus of Archbisop of Ottunga, died on Saturday 6 September at the age of 80 in Mater Misericordiae Catholic hospital in Nairobi, Kenya. His health had declined rapidly in recent times. After retiring from the pastoral care of the diocese, the Cardinal chose to reside in a Home for the Poor in the outskirts of Nairobi. This was in keeping with his whole life style, in fact the Archbishop was strongly against all forms of luxury and material as an obstacle to Christian witness. Pope John Paul II, at the news of the Cardinal’s death, sent a telegramme of condolence to Archbishop Raphael S. Ndingi Mwana’Nzeki of Nairobi, expressing his profound grief and assuring the archbishop and all Catholics in Kenya, his prayers, “ that the Good Shepherd in his tender love will bring this dedicated servant speedily to the place prepared for him at the heavenly banquet”. I join you in giving thanks to Almighty God for the many graces bestowed on the Church through Cardinal Otunga’s long years of generous service as priest and bishop”.
Cardinal Maurice Michael Ottunga, emeritus archbishop of Nairobi and emeritus military Ordinary for Kenya was born at Chebukwa in the diocese of Kakamega, January 1923. He prepared for the priesthood at Kakamega seminary and then at the national seminary in Gaba Kampala in Uganda. He studied also in Rome at the Pontifical Urban College of Propaganda Fide as was ordained a priest in the college chapel on 3 October 1950. On returning to Kenya he was professor of theology at Kisumu major seminary, as well as vice-chancellor of the diocesan offices. On 17 November 1956 Pope Pius XII appointed him auxiliary Bishop of Kisumu and he was ordained a bishop of 25 February 1957. Pope John XXII moved him to the new diocese of Kisii where Mgr Otunga remained until15 November 1969, when Paul VI appointed him coadjutor of the archbishop of Nairobi and on 24 October 1971 archbishop of Nairobi. At the concistory on 5 March 1973 he was made Kenya’s first Cardinal by Paul VI. He resigned as archbishop of Nairobi on April 21, 1997. SL (Fides Service 8/9/2003 EM lines 28 Words: 390)