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Bishop Emmanuel Kanyama laid to rest in Dezda

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The body of Bishop Emmanuel Kanyama of Dedza Diocese of the Catholic Church was laid to rest Thursday at Bembeke Cathedral Cemetery in Dedza District.

Kanyama succumbed to hypertension last Saturday at his home in Mchinji, where he had gone to see his mother barely three days after he had celebrated mass.

In the thin shadows of tall pines which had eased the sweltering heat, the smell of burning incense wafted over the cemetery as the white-topped coffee casket carrying Kanyama’s remains got lowered into the misty grave.

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The solemn faces of Kanyama’s fellow episcopes both at the cemetery and Bembeke Demonstration School Ground—where the Requiem Mass was celebrated— served as evidence that even among the elect, the sudden death of a resilient priest, as he was described, may seem impossible.

“He was a man of few words,” Archbishop of Lilongwe Archdiocese Tarcisio Ziyaye said in his description of the late Kanyama. “In our sorrow, there is confidence that death has not destroyed him, but only transitioned him into another life.”

Many others who spoke about the life of the fallen priest said even in moments when his body seemed to be physically failing him, he remained true to his calling.

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And, as the bishops dropped handfuls of wet red earth into the grave, a final mark of farewell, the sombre mood got heightened.

Vice-President Saulos Chilima, who spoke on behalf of President Peter Mutharika at the ground before Kanyama’s remains were taken for interment, asserted that the priest was meticulous in everything he did and said.

“He was humble and always spoke after thinking carefully. He was well educated and kept reading to sharpen his understanding,” Chilima said.

With the diocese now left without a resident leader, Vice- Chairperson of the Episcopal Conference of Malawi, Fr Martin Mtumbuka, urged the Catholic faithful in the bishopric to remain steadfast.

Others who saw off the fallen priest to his final resting place were Fr Andril Yevchuk who represented the Apostolic Nuncio to Zambia and Malawi, Leader of Opposition Lazarus Chakwera, Speaker of Parliament Richard Msowoya and leaders of other faiths.

Born on December 25 1962, Kanyama was ordained as bishop on October 6 2007.

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