Fr. Egidio Pedenzini, euologised as a man with a big heart

October 27, 2022

“A big heart has stopped beating”. These were the words of Silvia Lengewa, a young woman from South Horr Parish, when she received the news of passing on of Fr. Egidio Pedenzini, a Consolata missionary who had served in the northern Kenya for over a half a century.  

Fr Pedenzini died on 14th October at MP Shah Hospital, Nairobi. His requiem Mass was celebrated on Tuesday October 25 at the Consolata Shrine, Westlands, Nairobi, where more than thirty-five Consolata missionaries gathered to celebrate the life of this great missionary of the north.

In his sermon, Fr Fr. James Lengarin, the Vice Superior General, who has known Fr Pedenzini for the last 42 years, eulogized him as a great missionary who loved the people he served.

Fr Pedenzini served the people of Samburu with great dedication and zeal for over 50 years. He was eulogized as a missionary who was brave, courageous, eloquent, and linguistically gifted. He has contributed so much to the understanding of the Samburu people by authoring many literary works on their culture. Fr Pedenzini who held a Master’s degree in cultural anthropology focusing on the culture of the Samburu was crowned a Samburu elder. He used to refer to himself as the “King of the Northern Region”

He spent all his missionary life in the north, no wander he was nicknamed, the apostle of the dessert. He served as a missionary in the parishes of Archer’s Post, Baragoi, Wamba, South-Horr and lastly Sereolipi Parish.

Fr. Peter Kariuki, a Consolata missionary who has worked with him in South Horr euolgised him as a “true missionary and a pastoral giant who knew how to mourn with those who mourned”

In his tribute Fr Kariuki said that the late Fr Pedenzini, could easily shed tears. “He could shed tears of joy, tears of pain, sadness. While listening, he could cry with young girls and boys, men and women. He could cry when Samburus attacked Turkana to steal animals. Could cry when the choir sung very well” Fr Kariuki reiterated.  

“I mourn a dear friend that my wife Lili and I, have known for the last 40 years. He was a determined man, with a loud voice, big heart and easy tears” said Mr Edi an Italian friend who traveled all the way from Italy with his wife to attend the funeral. He revealed to the mourners how the late Fr Pedenzini celebrated their wedding in South Horr on February 8, 1998 according to the Samburu culture. “It is an absolutely unforgettable day for us, in which, among other things, the people present gave us indescribable emotions, with testimonies of affection and authentic joy, with the songs and dances of the Morans, and the touching final blessing of the elderly at the end of the celebration that lasted 4 hours”.

The late Fr Pedenzini’s last parish was Sereolipi Catholic Mission. There, he worked with   Fr. Cornelio Lomatukae, a diocesan priest who was his assistant. “I will live to remember and be very proud to be associated and to be identified with this great man of God. I celebrate you Padre Egidio!” said Fr Cornelio in his tribute.

Fr Pedenzini died aged 83. He had completed 61 years as a religious and 56 years as a priest having been ordained a priest on December 17, 1966, in Mori, Italy.

He was buried in Maralal, Samburu County in northern Kenya, among the people he spent all his missionary life.

By Fr Daniel Mkado

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