Bishop Francis Lay To Rest Saturday
By Morrison O.G. Sayon
Catholic Archbishop, Michael Kpakala Francis is expected to be buried on Saturday, the Catholic Archdiocese has announced.
The remains of the late Catholic Archbishop Emeritus will be removed from the Samuel Stryker Funeral Parlors today, May 31 and taken to the Sacred Heart Cathedral on Broad Street.
The Archdiocese further announced recently that the reception of the remains of Bishop Francis at the Cathedral will be at 12 noon. A vigil funeral mass according to the Archdiocese is scheduled for 6:30 p.m., and the solemn Mass of the Resurrection will take place on Saturday, June 1, at 10 a.m. Internment follows immediately.
Meanwhile, thousands of Catholics including guests from the Vatican, the holy city of the millions of Catholics around the world have begun arriving in the country to attend the vigil mass of the late Catholic Archbishop.
Guests from the United States and Italy, Germany, Nigeria, Ghana and the Inter-Religious Council of Liberia (IRCL) and Religions for Peace International, based in New York, will be in the country to attend the vigil mass of the home-going of the late Bishop, Michael Kpakala Francis.
Recently, the Religions for Peace International expressed sorrow over the demise of Archbishop Francis, whom they described as a great leader and advocate for peace in Liberia.
In their condolence message to the Catholic Church in Liberia, Rev. Kyoichi Sugino, Deputy Secretary General of RFP Intl., said they received the death news of Archbishop Francis with sorrow; describing him as a great leader in Religions for Peace and a champion of interreligious work in Liberia.
Archbishop Francis of the Catholic Archdiocese of Monrovia was highly respected among Liberian clerics for his outspokenness against the ills in the Liberian society. He was President of both the Liberian Council of Churches (LCC) and the Inter-religious Council of Liberia from 2000-2004 when he became ill and incapacitated. During and after Liberia’s years of war, the late Archbishop was a strong voice for peace and tranquility.
“To achieve genuine and authentic peace, there must be reconciliation and therefore peace must bring justice. If there is no justice and if the fundamental rights of our people are not respected, it will be impossible for genuine peace and reconciliation to come about in our country. Faith-based organizations can and should play a pivotal role,” Archbishop Michael Francis’ presentation in Washington D.C, November 22, 1999.
He died on May 19, 2013 following a stroke in 2004. Born February 12, 1936 in Kakata, Margibi County; Archbishop Francis became a priest in 1963 and eventually became Archbishop of Monrovia in 1981, before resigning due to his ailing health.
He did his graduate studies by cross registering in three Universities in the Washington D.C. area. Late Archbishop Francis studied Moral Theology with emphasis in Bio-ethics, Medical Ethics and Formation Psychology at the Catholic University of America, Bio-ethics and Medical Ethics at the Georgetown University and Ecumenical Theology at the Howard University School of Religion.
He was ordained Deacon and Priest in August 15, 1962 and August 4, 1963 respectively in Liberia.
After thirteen years, his Holiness Pope Paul VI appointed Father Michael Francis Vicar Apostolic of Monrovia and subsequently ordained the fallen Bishop on December 19, 1976 by Archbishop Dermot Carroll, SMA, former Bishop of Monrovia and Nuncio Apostolic as principal Ordaining Prelate.