Archbishop Emeritus Boniface Lele was born on the 14th April, 1947 at Kyangwithya, Kituui. He is the son of the late Martin lele and the late Monica Muthembwa Lele. Brother of Benjamin Mwalii, the late Benedict Makau, the Late Christopher Mulwa, Alexander Njoroge, and Margaret Mitau.

  He went to Ithookwe DEB Primary School for Standard 1-4; to Mulutu Intermediate School for class 5-8 and on to St. Charles Lwanga Secondary School, Kitui. In 1969 he joined St. Thomas Aquinas Senior Seminary, Nairobi.

On 8th December, 1974, he was ordained into priesthood together with Fr. Peter Muema as the 1st indigenous priests from the diocese.

As a priest of Kitui, he worked in Mutito, Kabati, Cathedral and Mutune parishes and also served as Education Secretary, Vocations Director and Pastoral Coordinator in the Diiocese of Kitui. He went to Post graduate studies at the Pontifical Gregorian University, Rome, for Spiritual Theology from 1979-1981.

Archbishop Lele was appointed General Spiritual Director and lecturer at St. Thomas Aquinas Seminary, Nairobi between 1981 and 1984. Among his students then were Bishop Cornelius Korir, Bishop Joseph Mairura, Bishop Peter Kihara, Bishop Norman King'oo, and Bishop Philip Anyolo.

He served as the Vicar general for the Diocese Kitui from May 1985 - November 1995. On 16th November, 1995, he was appointed Bishop of Kitui Diocese and was ordained Bishop of Kitui on 2nd February, 1996 succeeding Bishop William Dunne to be the 2nd Bishop of Kitui.

As Bishop of Kitui, he ordained 30 priests for the Diocese, opened four new parishes, initiated the home care Program in the medical office and strengthened the family apostolate. He opened Nyumbani Village Kitui for HIV/Aids orphans, St. Johns Eudes Rehabilitation Centre, and established St. Augustine's Catholic Secretariat in Kitui. He invited Little Sisters of St. Joseph and Sisters of Our Lady of Charity into Kitui Diocese and adopted the congregation of Daughters of Jesus the Good Shephered into the Diocese in 2002. He also established interdiocesan partnerships between Kitui and USA(Peoria and St. Paul/Minneapolis)

On 1st April, 2015; the Holy See appointed him the Archbishop of Mombasa, and he was installed on 25th June, 2005 as the 4th bishop of Mombasa.

As Archbishop of Mombasa, the church in Mombasa grew under his leadership. From 40 parishes, he opened nine new parishes and reopened two dromant ones, bringing to 51 the total number of parishes by until the time of his resignation. The new parishes include: Bangladesh, Customs-Nyali, Kaloleni, Kikoneni, Kitumbi, Lunga Lunga, Maungu, Migombani and Mtwapa. The two that he reopened are Bamba and Ndavaya.

 He created a division of Deaneries from the existing six to eight. He ordained over 30 priests among these 25 being Diocesan. Fr. Timothy Ogutu, a Claretian Missionary was the first priest to be ordained by him and Fr. Moses Erute was the first Diocesan priest he ordained. He initiated the priest's Annual General meeting, and was spearheading the Archdiocesan Pastoral Policy which was to take effect.

Archbishop Lele took part in all kinds of activities of the archdiocese. He was very instrumental in trying to combine the women groups: Mt. Anna and Mt. Monica into one as Catholic Women. He also was a strong supporter of the Men's association, always finding time to be with them during their activities.

He came up with the idea of the Young Catholic Adults stating that there is need to differentiate senior youth from the junior youth as they have different goals in life. He started a group to help widows and widowers in the Archdiocese. Marriage Encounter blossomed in our Archdiocese under his watch. Couples of Christ is another association that started its roots in Mombasa after his intervention. Archbishop Lele was an ardent Focolare member and would always make time for the Focolare Bishops meetings wherever there would be held in the world.

Archbishop Lele worked hard at his Catholic Secretariat office. He had mass every Monday with the secretariat staff and shared his weekly activities with them. He encouraged them to share their challenges with him and encouraged team work. He even introduced an annual staff party, where he would socialise and dine with his staff.

Through him, the Archdiocese twinned with Seattle Archdiocese and formed Friends of Seattle Mombasa Partnership. He revived the Apostleship of the Sea Ministry and strengthened SOLWODI - Solidarity of Women in Distress. He started the Good Shephered Brothers Congregation; invited the Contemplative Evangelizers, St. Patrick Fathers, Srs. of Charity and re-called the Holy Ghost Fathers back to the Archdiocese.

Owing to his compassionate nature; Archbishop Lele started Mahali pa Usalama: A rehabilitation and Rescue center for children who are trafficked. He initiated a project  that takes care of prostitutes; and Tsavo Children's Village for orphans and vulnerable children. He has left on the ground a working project on the establishment of a hospital at Likoni area with some Italian Doctors.

Archbishop Lele was very aware of the different Christian Denominations here and was very supportive of the Christian week of Unity. He was a board member of the Coast Inter Cleric Council Trust. He would speak out for what he believed in, and defend the rights of the human being at all costs.; releasing lots of press statements to back him up.

Archbishop Lele was truly a symbol of compassion and humility. He would give all he had for the sake of the other. He would lead from the front; putting other peoples interests first.

On 1st November, 2013; the Holy See accepted and granted the resignation of Archbishop Lele on medical grounds.

Following his resignation; Archbishop Emeritus Lele has been residing at the Apostle's Villa, Changamwe Parish. He took ill and was admitted with low pressure on Friday 4th April, 2014 at Mombasa Hospital. He suffered a cardiac arrest on Saturday and Tuesday while in the ICU.

Archbishop Lele passed on on the 9th April, 2014.

 

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