Nairobi: Fr. Theodore Walters, SJ was buried at Karen, Nairobi on Saturday 17th August 2016. The mass was presided by Rev. Fr. Joseph Afulo Oduor, SJ, Provincial Eastern Africa Province of the Society of Jesus.
His close life-long friend, Josephat Mwanzi,was present. When he was given a chance to give a short eulogy he revealed his friend’s ‘secret’:
“Once Fr. Ted Walters told me that, “If I pass away, please bury me with my cell phone. You know why? He did not know how to use his cell phone properly.” People laughed.
Josephat continued, “I showed him several times, for example, how to recharge it, how to put credits, but he couldn’t get it right immediately. One day he called his doctor and the reply was, “The number you’re calling is not reachable.” He came to me angry, “Josephat, I’m calling Dr. Cotcha but there’ a woman who keeps constantly telling me that the number I’m dialing is not reachable and…when I ask her questions she doesn’t answer me.”
Because he had a hard time learning how to use this kind of technology, he finally decided that, “If I pass away, please bury me with my cell phone.” His argument was very simple, that in the grave he would have enough time to learn how to use it. I know he joked, of course, but I’m telling you the true story.
He worked in Tanzania for 24 years. He helped and nurtured many people. I was one who benefited most of all. I lived with him for 7 years. I first came in contact with him in 1996 in Mwanza and I asked him to be my spiritual father. He agreed right away. My father died in 1998 when I was in Form Three. I lacked a reliable source of funds to continue my studies. Fr. Walters took me on. I got to know him fairly well during the coming years.
All I can say is that he was a holly man. He was a great priest, very close to the Lord and dedicated to restoring dignity among vulnerable people. I have been receiving hundreds of testimonies from all over the world appreciating his kindness and love to them.
However, I feel sorry for my friend, Ted. His plan to live in the grave to learn how to use the cell phone failed. He will not be in the grave. In fact, he’s with the Lord already right now as I speak. Because he is like St. Paul who said: “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day.”
It appears to be the same day that he departs that he will receive this crown. When forgiven his sins, Jesus told the thief on the cross, “Truly I say to you. Today you will be with me in Paradise” (Luke 23:43). Jesus said surely or truly the thief would be with Jesus in Paradise. When would the thief be in Paradise? TODAY.
I feel sorry for my friend, Ted. His plan to live in the grave to learn how to use the cell phone failed. He will not be in the grave. In fact, he’s with the Lord already right now as I speak. And I envy his death…I’m told he slept in the world and he woke in heaven. He closed eyes to sleep, yes, and that very night as he slept God sent his angels to welcome him home.
Remember “Truly I say to you. Today you will be with me in Paradise” (Luke 223:43).
Fr. Ted, Congratulations. You slept in the world and you woke up in heaven. We love you. We will miss your unique smile and humility. Let’s pray for each other. Thank you.