“There wasn’t much packing to do since the Priest had very few personal items,” Sr. Norah shares with ACI Africa, and adds, “Fr. Adolf lives true to the Spirit of his Congregation. He embraces poverty and he is always willing to share with those who lack.”
The Kenyan Nun shares that the missionary Priest has been buying mobile phone credit for people who live in remote villages where they face difficulties accessing airtime for their mobile phones.
Fr. Alex describes Fr. Adolf as a “a living saint” who has a rich experience of missionary life especially through serving one of the poorest regions in Kenya, which is still experiencing primary evangelization.
“I have worked with Fr. Adolf for five years, and I can describe him in very few words as a living saint. I enjoyed listening to his stories and experiences of the mission,” Fr. Alex says, adding that he was once a student under the Italian Priest’s supervision for two years.
“He was different, and I was interested in things that motivated him in the mission,” Fr. Alex says.
(Story continues below)
After being ordained a Priest in 1966 in his home Diocese of Bolzano-Brixen in Northern Italy, Fr. Adolf left his hometown of South Tyrol to serve as a missionary Priest in Kenya in the Catholic Diocese of Kisii from 1969 to 2000.
On Pentecost Sunday 2001, Fr. Adolf received his transfer to the Coast of Kenya to serve in the Catholic Diocese of Malindi, and 20 years later, on Pentecost Sunday, he celebrated his farewell Mass at Witu-Kipini Parish in the Northern Deanery of Malindi Diocese.
Fr. Alex shares with ACI Africa that when the Italian-born Priest arrived in the Witu and Kipini area, there were barely any structures to start the Catholic Parish.
“Fr. Adolf took over a small glass rental house near the mosque in Kipini and later moved to Witu to start a Parish from nothing,” Fr. Alex says.
He adds that in Witu and Kipini areas, Fr. Adolf identified the people's struggles with poverty and illiteracy and set about helping locals irrespective of their religious affiliations.
When he was in Witu and Kipini, the MHM Priest drilled over 95 water wells for people in the villages and extended to places out of the Catholic Parish, Fr. Alex narrates.
According to the current Parish Priest, one of the challenges in Witu and Kipini has been a lack of access to education, a gap that Fr. Adolf worked hard to fill.
“Fr. Adolf spent every coin he could acquire through gifts to help educate the youths,” Fr. Alex testifies in his interview with ACI Africa, and adds, “He has, over the years, taken hundreds of young people to boarding schools. A good number have been sent to universities.”
For the people who could only manage to take their children to the only day school in Witu, Fr. Adolf constructed a hostel within the church compound to give students a safe environment to stay and to go to school in Witu town.
“At the moment, we are hosting over 50 students in the Parish church compound,” Fr. Alex tells ACI Africa.
Sharing about the origin of the nickname Fr. Alleluia, Fr. Alex says, “When he first came to Kenya, Fr. Adolf had difficulty communicating with the locals the language they could understand. The only word he seemed to communicate well with the people was Alleluia and that’s all he said when people asked him anything. That’s also how people started calling him Alleluia.”
“Having lived with Fr. Alleluia for over five years now, I can confidently say that the Priest not only loves the name, he also lives it. Alleluia! The Risen Christ! He lives it every second of his life,” Fr. Alex testifies, and adds, “He is humble and straightforward, kind, merciful, loving and generous.”
“I take over the Parish from Fr. Adolf without fear,” Fr. Alex says.
The Cameroonian Priest adds in reference to Fr. Adolf, “He mentored me for two years when I was a Seminarian… He has taught me the love of Christ. I know the Holy Spirit will work with me… the People of God in Witu-Kipini Parish will surely miss their beloved Priest.”
Agnes Aineah is a Kenyan journalist with a background in digital and newspaper reporting. She holds a Master of Arts in Digital Journalism from the Aga Khan University, Graduate School of Media and Communications and a Bachelor's Degree in Linguistics, Media and Communications from Kenya's Moi University. Agnes currently serves as a journalist for ACI Africa.