Farewell Bishop Francis

THOUSANDS OF LIBERIANS including Catholics from across the country and other parts of the world yesterday turned out in mass at various street corners and major streets to pay their last respect to fallen Catholic Archbishop Emeritus Michael K. Francis who died recently in Monrovia.

BISHOP FRANCIS WHO died on May on May 19, 2013, following a stroke in 2004, remains was removed from the Samuel Stryker Funeral Parlors yesterday morning and taken to the Sacred Heart Cathedral on Broad Street. He was 77 on February 12, 2013.

A VIGIL FUNERAL mass was held last night for the Archbishop at the Sacred Heart Cathedral with high profile individuals and officials of government in attendance. Members of the Noble Order Knights and Ladies of St. John International and the Knights of Marshall were in full control of the ceremony.

MEMBERS OF THE Catholic Women Organization (CWO), Catholic Young Adult Association (CYAA), The St. Mary Catholic in Sanniquellie, Nimba County, The St. Joseph Catholic Hospital Staff, Missionaries Sisters and Brothers, Seminarians from the St. Paul Major Seminary including Priests and Bishops from the Diocese of Cape Palmas and Gbarnga.

THE LATE BISHOP Francis’ remains was under a heavy escort from the funeral home led by the Liberia National Police (LNP) patrol vehicles and the Armed Forces of Liberia (AFL). Students from few Catholic Schools in Monrovia and the Students Unification Party SUP) from the University of Liberia were also in full gear during the parade of the Bishop’s body in Monrovia.

AS HIS REMAINS was being escorted to the Cathedral Parish, Liberians and onlookers on the walkway grieved but jubilantly bid farewell to a “Peace Activist” an advocate who spoke fearlessly against ills in society, justice and equality for his fellow compatriots.

TODAY, WE JOIN thousands of Catholics as well as other Liberians in bidding farewell to the fallen Catholic Archbishop for the indelible footprint he left on the shore of Liberia which Liberians now enjoyed. Indeed, Bishop Francis was a true son of Liberian whose courage and commitment brought peace and tranquility to the country following years of conflict.

ARCHBISHOP FRANCIS’ HISTORY of service to Liberia as an educator, human right and Peace activist is replete with massive successes. He has left a mark that will never be forgotten. It is a known fact that Archbishop Francis died as a hero and an unwavering nationalist, who place his life on the line against hostile and tyrannically forces.

WE STILL REMEMBER that when the nation was engulfed with several challenges from the hands of backward and reactionary regimes who kept the critical voices and the masses of our people in the corridor of fear, the Archbishop was among those few vices who stood up to the faces of those perpetrating such impish act and question the abuse of power and the wrongful running of the state.

WE STILL CONSIDER you as a national hero and the lone voice in the Liberian society for your fearlessness in challenging brutal regimes. Your contributions to the nation brought an end to the senseless civil unrest that engulfed our dear country that claimed the lives of thousands of Liberians as well as foreign nationals.

BISHOP FRANCIS, YOUR role in the Liberian society will never be forgotten. As we conclude, we again say farewell Bishop, you have done your part for which you will always be remembered. We love you our dear Bishop, but God loves you the best.