It has emerged that it could take more than 10 years to bury the late retired Meru Catholic Diocese Bishop Silas Silvius Njiru at St Joseph’s Cathedral in Meru.
Bishop Njiru who retired in 2004 died on April 28th in Turin, Italy after contracting Covid-19.
Until his death, the 91-year-old was living at the Blessed Joseph Allamano house in Alpignano, Italy. The facility is run by Consolata Missionaries Superior.
His body was set to be airlifted to Kenya for interment in accordance with the Catholic traditions but citing Covid-19 restrictions, Italian authorities said the earliest this could happen is in 2035.
“We were very keen to bring the bishop to the seat of the diocese – the cathedral where he should rest alongside his predecessor, Bishop Lawrence Victor Bessone.”
“But the Italian Covid-19 protocols prohibit either the airlifting of the body or cremation until 15 years lapse,” Father David Kaberia, who is in charge of the Meru Cathedral parish, said as quoted by The Standard.
Njiru’s remains were temporarily buried in Turin after Meru Bishop Salesius Mugambi wrote a deed to the Consolata Missionaries Superior and the Holy See in Rome.
“That was only because it was not possible to bring the remains immediately for internment in the seat of the diocese,” Kaberia added.
The Catholic traditions require bishops to be buried in crypts below the churches they served. The Meru Cathedral has 12 crypts in honor of the past bishops who passed away.
The practice dates back to the early persecution of Christians who were buried in caves when they died. It is believed that the first churches were built over these graves in order to pay tribute to the martyrs.