Several individuals, organizations and churches have been paying tribute to the late Catholic Archbishop Emeritus Michael K. Francis for his good works to humanity and the nation. President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf who visited the Sacred Heart Cathedral on Wednesday to sympathize with the Catholic Church said the late Archbishop was the conscience of the society.
The Liberian leader lauded the late Archbishop Francis for his advocacy which propelled the peace process as well as his contribution to health, education and the spiritual growth of the nation.
The Bishop of the Episcopal Church of Liberia, the Rev. Jonathan B. B. Hart in remembering the late Archbishop Francis said, “He was a great man.”
Bishop Hart who is also the President of the Liberia Council of Churches (LCC), a religious grouping which was once headed by the late Archbishop said, “ the late Archbishop Michael K. Francis was a leader of trust, a strong crusader for social justice and a man who feared God.”
Bishop Hart said because of the late Archbishop’s ideal; the selfless life he lived; and what he accomplished for the Catholic Church, the Christian Community, the Inter Religious Council and the entire country, Liberia will always remember him.
The Episcopal Bishop said Liberians will especially remember Archbishop Francis for being an outspoken person against the ills of the society.
The Pastor of the Providence Baptist Church, the Rev. Dr. Samuel Reeves, Jr. said the Archbishop will be remembered for the advocacy role played in the creation of an environment of social, political and economic change which contributed to the holistic transformation of Liberia.
Rev. Dr. Reeves said the torchlight of the late Archbishop will never be forgotten but emulated by all well-meaning Liberians.
A release from the Providence Baptist Church described Bishop Francis as one of Liberia’s most influential social justice advocates who spoke on issues affecting the lives of Liberians.
The Christian Media Center, a faith based media group for its part said Liberia has lost a voice in response to the death of Archbishop Francis.
The Center said Archbishop Francis was not only a preacher but a soldier of social justice and a humanitarian with great passion for people of all faith.
Rev Dr. Kortu Brown Pastor New Water in the Desert and General Overseer, Apostolic Pentecostal Church and first Vice President of the Liberia Council of Churches in a tribute to the late Archbishop said, “The death of Archbishop Emeritus Michael Kpakala Francis is a blow to not just the church but the nation as a whole because his life was dedicated to the cause of humanity.
“He was concerned about the sick, inmates, depressed, hungry, etc, in accordance with St. Matthew 26:31-41. He was selfless, fearless and desperate to see the country move forward. No wonder his voice for social justice stood so strong until it resonated across and beyond our borders.” Rev. Brown wrote in a note to the INQUIRER.
Rev. Brown said as a founding member of the Liberian Council of Churches, he was concerned about all churches in the country.
“ I remember during the last rounds of exchange of gun-fires in Monrovia, it was the late Bishop Francis who called me to ask about the status of New Water in the Desert Assembly facility in Brewerville, Montserrado County and if I had the rumours he heard – that it was burnt down. I told him that it wasn’t burnt down but looted,” Rev. Brown explained.
“The Most Reverend Michael Francis established the first Catholic Church in western Liberia where I hail from through Father Jenkins Garry, a tiring servant of the Lord, that one effort came at the time of the closure of the erstwhile Liberia Mining Company (LMC) in 1977 and led to countless other church stations in that region to the glory of God.
His ailment brought sadness but his work was over. The Lord God Almighty seized on His glory the reason for which righteous people suffer at times, a study in Theodicy, a branch of Theology focused on that subject. We all loved him but God loved him best. He has taken him home to rest,” Rev. Brown concluded.
Meanwhile the Catholic Archbishop of Monrovia has announced that the funeral of the late Archbishop Emeritus. Michael K. Francis is slated for Saturday, June 1, 2013.
In a statement issued yesterday in Monrovia, the Archbishop said the remains of the late Archbishop Emeritus will be removed from the Samuel Stryker Funeral Parlors on Friday, May 31, 2013, and taken to the Secret Heart Cathedral on Broad Street.
Reception of the remains at the Cathedral will be at 12 noon, the statement said. A vigil funeral mass is scheduled for 18:30 and the solemn mass of the resurrection is on Sunday, June 1, 2013, at 10 a.m. Interment follows immediately.
The Book of Condolence was opened on Wednesday at the Sacred Heart Cathedral. Anyone wishing to sign the book may do so between 11 a.m. and 5 p.m., Monday through Friday.