Burial of the Rev. Fr. Daniel Lesurmat at the Sts.Peter and Paul Maralal Cathedral Parish Cemetry.
Eternal rest grant unto him, O Lord, and let the perpetual light shine upon him🕊.
May he rest in peace. AMEN🙏🕊

 

Eulogy and tribute by the Clergy of Maralal Diocese

Introduction

Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of His servant.

Your Lordship, Hieronymus Emusugut Joya, the Ordinary of the Catholic Diocese of Maralal; Very Rev. Fr. Joseph Lengolos, Vicar General; Rev. Fr. Peter Nderitu, the Chairman of the Diocesan Clergy, priests, Religious men and women; esteemed relatives and friends of Fr. Lesurmat, Government and Political Leaders, and fellow People of God, the Apostle Paul exhorts us with these words: “The saying is sure: If we have died with him, we shall also live with him; if we endure, we shall also reign with him” (II Tm 2:11-12).

In a special way, we greet and extend deeply heartfelt condolences to the entire Lesurmat family, the priests and Christians of Wamba Parish, Fr. Dan’s home parish and the Christians of Lodokejek parish, his last place of assignment. Take heart! We are together in this!

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, we gather in this Cathedral, in spiritual communion with many brethren throughout the diocese and beyond, who are united with us in prayer, some in their privacy and solitude, and many who have joined us through radio and facebook live in this celebration of our beloved priest’s funeral.  We thank you for being with us.

Today not to mourn the loss of a man, but to celebrate the life of a soul who graced our midst as a beacon of light and a vessel of divine grace. Today, we bid farewell to a zealous shepherd of hearts, a courageous guardian of spirits, a tireless witness, a custodian of faith, and a passionate servant of God’s love  – Reverend Father Daniel Ltobikon Lesurmat.

Today we bury his remains in the earth as a seed of immortality – our hearts are full of sadness, yet at the same time, of joyful hope and profound gratitude.

Christian Life

Daniel was baptized on April 21, 1984, and two months later, he received the Sacrament of Confirmation on June 10, 1984. He was ordained a deacon in 1999 here in Maralal. He was later ordained into the sacred priesthood at St. Aloysius Gonzaga Catholic Parish on May 14, 2000. Today marks his 24th priestly anniversary.

Called to the Jumuiyas

Fr. Daniel Lesurmat, the “apostle of the Jumuiyas” as we used to call him was so passionate about the formation of the Small Christian communities. He was always among his people, in their homes, but most especially, in the jumuiyas. He opened, formed and celebrated countless Holy Masses in many Jumuiyas in Suguta Marmar, Maralal Cathedral, Morijo, Archers Post and Lodokejek to mention but a few parishes in which he served.

His priestly ministry was marked with a joyful demeanor, vibrant preaching and a profound understanding of Samburu culture. Serving at the translation committee together with our late Fr. Alois Lempuruk and a host of other dedicated experts, Fr. Daniel bequeathed us with the legacy of the following texts: Misa Ng’ida, Misa Sinyati, Lesionari Lari A, Lesionari Lari B, Lesionari Lari C, Nkoitei e Lmusalaba and Osotua Ng’ejuk. He also contributed immensely in the Samburu Bible while working with the Bible Translation and Literacy (BTL).

Fr. Daniel was a gifted Teacher. He taught catechesis and Church history at the Catechists Training Center (CTC), in his various program and masses in Samburu language at Radio Serian and at our own Radio Mchungaji. We still miss his commanding presence in the air waves.

Ecce Homo (Latin: “Behold the Man”)

Despite his sacred calling, Father Daniel was not immune to the trials and tribulations of human existence. He bore within him the scars of his own wounds, the echoes of his own struggles, and the weight of his own frailty. Yet, it was precisely because of his humanity, because of his willingness to confront his own weaknesses and limitations, that he was able to extend a hand of compassion and understanding to those who suffered.

In the midst of his dedicated service, Father Daniel faced a brief period of illness. He was admitted at Nairobi West Hospital in Nairobi, after complaining of pain and discomfort. There, he received treatment until he was transferred to St. Bridget Hospital for specialized care. It was not long after his admission that he went to be with the Lord on April 5, 2024. His suffering and death, united with Christ, remind us of the words of John Paul II “In sacrificing himself for us all, Christ gave a new meaning to suffering, opening up a new dimension, a new order: the order of love….it is this suffering which burns and consumes evil with the flame of love and draws forth even from sin a great flowering of good” (John Paul II, Memory and Identity, pp 189-190)

Psalm 23, the passage that guided Father Daniel’s life, reminds us of the comforting presence of the Lord as our shepherd. “The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.” These words echoed in Father Daniel’s heart as he ministered to his flock, guiding them through the valleys of life with the assurance of God’s abiding love and provision.

In his eyes, we found the reflection of God’s infinite love, and in his words, we heard the echoes of timeless truths. His homilies were not mere lectures but profound invitations to delve deeper into the mysteries of existence, to explore the contours of our souls, and to embrace the divine spark that resides within each of us.

Father Daniel spoke not from a place of lofty detachment but from the depths of his own humanity. He shared his doubts, his fears, and his moments of despair, inviting us to embrace our own vulnerabilities and find strength in our shared humanity. Through his words, he reminded us that it is in our brokenness that we find our truest selves, and it is in our wounds that we discover the capacity for healing and growth.

In the sacrament of reconciliation, Father Daniel became a conduit for divine mercy, offering absolution and forgiveness to all who sought solace and redemption. He understood that the journey of faith is not one of perfection but of ongoing conversion, of stumbling and rising again, of falling short and being lifted up by the grace of God.

Father Daniel’s life was a testament to the paradox of the wounded healer – a soul who, in his own brokenness, became a channel for divine healing and grace. He walked among us as a living embodiment of the words of the Apostle Paul, who wrote, “But he said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore, I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me” (2 Corinthians 12:9).

Indeed, Father Daniel was a man of peace, even when he spoke the bitter truth, he garbed his words in  humor that brought joy to those around him. In our circles, every time we sat to enjoy some refreshing waters, Fr. Daniel would immediately say “Maapetin bwana,” loosely translated as “let’s go.” He had a nickname for almost everyone of us his brothers.

He was a philosopher and theologian whose contemplations soared to the heights of divine wisdom and plumbed the depths of human experience. He pondered the mysteries of creation, the enigma of suffering, and the meaning of existence with a mind that was both humble and inquisitive. His insights were not confined to the dusty tomes of academia but found expression in the rhythm of daily life, in the laughter of children, and in the tears of the grieving.