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Kenya: Funeral Mass held for 32 choir members of the Mwingi bus tragedy.

As the forensic identification continued, bodies of the choir members who perished in the River Enziu tragedy were being released to their families for burial.

Vatican News English Africa Service.

On Thursday, Kenya’s Diocese of Kitui held a joint requiem Mass for the victims.

The joint requiem Mass for the victims of the River Enziu tragedy was held at St Joseph’s Seminary grounds in Mwingi. The local Bishop of Kitui Diocese, Joseph Mwongela and the Nyeri Archdiocese Ordinary Archbishop Anthony Muheria led mourners in the solemn Eucharist attended by religious, local, regional and national leaders. Many Mwingi residents also participated at the Mass.

The choir members on their way to a wedding

The 32 choir members perished Saturday, 4 December, on their way to a wedding ceremony. Their bus plunged into the flash-flooded River Enziu. Minutes earlier, the choir members had shared videos, on social media, of themselves singing and dancing near the river. They had been waiting for the waters to recede.

According to Kenyan media, on the fateful Saturday, the Mwingi Catholic church choir members boarded the St Joseph’s Seminary bus to attend a wedding at Nuu. While attempting to steer the 54-seater-bus on the bridge, the driver lost control midstream, and the vehicle tipped over into the surging waters. Local residents described the bridge as a well-known accident blackspot that has claimed many lives.

Both Bishop Mwongela and Archbishop Muheria consoled grieving families, friends and the Catholic faithful. The prelates spoke of their pain at the needless and incomprehensible tragedy.

Pope Francis praying for the faithful of Kitui

As the bodies were being recovered from the river last week, Bishop Mwongela thanked the community for coming together at a difficult time.

“It is a challenging moment for us as a diocese, and I thank those who have contributed and for the condolence messages received: From the political leaders, religious men and women and Bishops. Pope Francis through the Apostolic Nuncio sent a message that he is together with us and praying for us. May we continue being one in communion,” Bishop Mwongela told the Diocesan Radio, Thome FM. He added, “I urge all the faithful to join in prayers, to pray the Rosary for the survivors … Let us also pray for the souls of the departed so that they may rest in peace,” said the Kitui prelate.

In his condolence message, Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta said the country had lost young people of great promise. “It is particularly sad to note that young children lost their lives during the tragedy,” he said.

12 December 2021, 11:55