Died: January 26, 2008.
Today the Local Church in Nakuru and the Universal Church commemorate and pray for the soul of Rev. Fr. Michael Kamau Ithondeka, fondly called Kadosh (Qadosh – Hebrew @ holy) by his students. His earthly pilgrimage was forcifully and blutterly terminated during 2007/8 PEV in Kenya. This happened on saturday morning of January 26, 2008 at an illegal roadblock set up by armed youth at Muserechi on the Nakuru – Eldama Ravine Road.
He was vice- rector at St Mathias Mulumba Senior Seminary in Tindinyo.
The late Fr Kamau was born in Kiambu, near Nairobi, in 1966 and was baptized at Riara Parish in 1967.
He joined St Mary’s Minor Seminary, Molo, in 1986 (Praepadeutic) and later St Augustine’s Seminary in 1987 (Philosophicum), before proceeding to St. Mathias Mulumba, 1989-1992 (Thelogicum).
Kamau was ordained a priest of Catholic Diocese of Nakuru on January 9, 1993, and sent to St. Francis Lower Subukia Parish.
Between 1998 and 2002, Fr. Kamau studied scripture at the Biblicum (the Pontifical Institute for Biblical Studies) in Rome. Between 2003 and 2005, he served in St. Monicah Mwaragania Parish and as principal at Archbishop Ndingi Secondary School in Naivasha.
In 2005, he was posted to St Thomas Aquinas Seminary, Nairobi, before being moved to St Mathias Mulumba Seminary as Vice Rector.
During the time of the contested election (December 2007), Kamau was visiting Josef Hegenberger and other friends in Diet Dorf in Germany and did not participate in election that came to cost his life.
Upon his return the country (Kenya) was already in flame and many things were delayed like official opening of schools including seminaries. On January 20, 2008, things seem to have calmed down and that is when Kamau and his 15 of his brothers and students from Nakuru embarked on a journey through risky road to Tindinyo.
While leaving Waterbuck Hotel, Kamau led his four students (author included) who were in his Premio Highbreed into a session of prayers and rosary dedicating their lives and praying for peace. (the others 11 were in the Bishop Kairo’s Land Cruiser KAG being wheeled by Fr Chepkuto Vocations Director)
In the car one student (Muriithi Jr) asked if he (Kamau) would throw a party for students since it was his 15th anniversary. He promised and went ahead to said, “During my ordination, I asked Ndingi (bishop) to send me in a parish for five years, then send me for Studies for five years, then I come and teach for five years and my work would have come to the end. We don’t neef to fear death.” This story he repeated it on the eve of this “end”.
Their journey was safe but days later things went back into flame when reiteration began. During the Mass of Conversion of St. Paul, Kamau asked the seminarians to sing the Gloria with joy and while preaching he said no need of rushing over the Celebration jokingly saying who knows it might be last Feast of Convertion of St. Paul some might ever see in seminary.
On January 26, Kamau left the seminary at 04.30Hr heading to meet his bishop in Nakuru and to proceed to pick his long friend Fr. Kamuyu in Isharani, Nairobi. The latter had been appointed by SEC to teach Sacred Scriptures in Tindinyo. His waiting turned into wailing but God gave him strength.
Kamau had covered a good distance and was at home, meaning, home diocese – Ravine Parish. This is a place he had served some times back. At the same time some youths in Nakuru set fire on a lorry transffering milk to Nakuru and the youths at Muserechi decided to erect an illegal road block. Unfortunately, the first vehicle to arrive was non other than Kamau ‘s. The anarchy atmosphere that was with the youths at the area could not allow them to see Kamau was having a Roman Collar or neither to hear him speaking the local language which he was fluent in. He showed them idemtification document with name of Vincent Kitur which he had borrowed from seminarian for security reasons.
His car was set on fire and he fled for his dear life to the nearby butchery but unfortunately the butcher did not welcome him with a piece of nyama choma but with an axe striking his head. He stambled down and on his knees he asked to be allowed to pray but the rain of stones was already decending on him.
News reached the Abba Githara, Murimi Jr and by then bishop Kairo who proceded to the scene of martyrdom to secure the “relics.” These “relic” are laid at a Holy Ground in Bahati besides other relics before him and after him mine included.
His martydom changed the whole nation and PEV came to an end though leaving hundreds dead and thousands acquiring a new name abbreviated as IDPs.
Kamau is also remembered by his Deutch friends. While visiting them, he left a message of encouragement to late Penn Eberhard who was suffering from cancer telling him he might live longer and he (Kamau) who seem health die before him (Penn). This prophesy came to be fulfilled since Penn died two months later.
Kamau is remembered by his students (Tindinyo III) who every year celebrate his life in designated Churches. This 9th anniversary, the memorial Mass was celevrated today by Rt. Rev. Dr. Maurizio and sons of late Fr. Michael at Christ the King Cathedral in Nakuru 10.00Hr.
Also present were his mother, other family members, students of Christ the King Academy and other Christians.
His friend wish to have a foundation under his patronage and also to publish his book posthumously since he left it unpublished.
The Church teaches:
“All who die in God’s grace and friendship, but still imperfectly purified, are indeed assured of their eternal salvation; but after death they undergo purification, so as to achieve the holiness necessary to enter the joy of heaven. The Church gives the name Purgatory to this final purification of the elect, which is entirely different from the punishment of the damned…From the beginning the Church has honored the memory of the dead and offered prayers in suffrage for them, above all the Eucharistic sacrifice, so that, thus purified, they may attain the beatific vision of God. The Church also commends almsgiving, indulgences, and works of penance undertaken on behalf of the dead…” (CCC 1030-1032).
℣. Requiem æternam dona Michael, Domine
℟. Et lux perpetua luceat ei :
℣. Requiescat (-ant) in pace.
– Qadosh Qadosh Qadosh (Isaiah 6.3)
– PEV post election violence.
– CCC Catechism of the Catholic Church
– IDPs internally displaced persons
– SEC seminary episcopal conference
– AMECEA Association of Member Episcopal Conferences in Eastern Africa (Eritrea, Ethiopia, Kenya, Malawi, Sudan, Tanzania, Uganda and Zambia. Djibouti and Somalia are affiliate members).