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Thousands Bid Farewell to Bishop Patrick
Update on:19-Oct-2014

More than 7,000 people from various religions and walks of life bid tearful farewell to Bishop Patrick Paul D’Souza on Saturday 18 Oct 2014 at St. Mary’s Cathedral, Varanasi.

Bishop D’Souza, the first prelate of Varanasi, died Thursday at a Catholic hospital in Mau, some 120 km north of the ancient city. His body was brought to Varanasi the same evening to allow people to pay him tribute.

On Saturday, Archbishop Abraham Viruthakulangara of Nagpur led the funeral Mass at the bishop’s house, assisted by several bishops and 450 priests.

Dr. Sumedh Thero, president of Indo-Sri Lankan Association, and Professor Gnawang Samdhen, vice chancellor, Central Buddhist University, Sarnath, and several political leaders were among those present at the funeral that began at 1:25 pm.

After the introductory funeral rites in the bishop’s house, the priests of the diocese, vested and carried the mortal remains of Bishop Patrick to Mata Mandir (temple of mother), the cathedral church in a solemn procession.

Fr. Eugene Joseph, administrator of Varanasi diocese, welcomed the assembly. He read out the condolence message from Pope Francis that highlighted Bishop D’Souza’s “long life and priestly service, especially his apostolic zeal” as the founding bishop of the diocese. He further added that bishop was as a shepherd, father and friend; teacher and leader; man on mission indeed.

Bishop Raphy Manjaly of Allahabad, in his homily hailed the late prelate as “a precious pearl that we have lost forever.” Bishop Manjaly, who had succeeded Bishop D’Souza as the Varanasi prelate, said the entire Church in northern India was sad “because we have lost a shepherd of his flock, who gave life to the diocese, in various ways. He was a man of vision who toiled for peace and harmony, national integrity and opened avenues for differently-abled children.”

Bishop emeritus Antony Fernandez of Bareilly, who represented all the bishops of the region, commended Bishop D’Souza’s contribution to the local culture, hymns and language. “Today he has given us a challenge to stride the path as he had done,” Bishop Fernandez said.

Father Maurice D’Souza, who represented the diocesan priests, said the growth of the diocese under Bishop D’Souza was indescribable. “His toil is today’s fruit,” he added.

Fr. Sudheer D’Souza, nephew of late prelate, thanked the assembly for the family.

Jesuit Archbishop William D’Souza of Patna led the funeral rites in the cathedral. Bishop D’Souza was buried in front of the cathedral that he had built to present Christ in the heart of the holiest city of Hindus.

Courtesy: MattersIndia


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