Message of Condolence from Oswald Cardinal Gracias at the Funeral of Bishop Ferdinand Fonseca
Oct. 3, 2015
I saw Bishop Ferdie on Monday evening in the Intensive Cardiac Care Unit of Holy Family Hospital. He looked very weak. The nurses told me he had not taken alimentation the whole day. When I received the news of his passing away as soon as I landed at Rome Airport I prayed for him. We are all deeply saddened at the passing away of Bishop Ferdie. But the news is both sad and glorious. Because I am confident being relieved of earthly pain he is now a powerful intercessor of the Archdiocese of Bombay from heaven.
Bishop Ferdie’s passing away is a big loss to the Archdiocese of Bombay. His contribution to the apostolate of the Archdiocese was tremendous. He was a very successful school principal. Till now his old students speak of the excellent formation he gave them and of how much they owe in life to him. Cardinal Valerian Gracias chose him to succeed Cardinal Simon Pimenta as Rector of the Seminary. After a stint there he succeeded Cardinal Simon Pimenta as Auxiliary Bishop of Bombay.
His contribution to the Archdiocese as an Auxiliary to Cardinal Simon Pimenta and Cardinal Ivan Dias was truly very much. He was the Episcopal Vicar for Religious and for Education. I remember queues of sisters waiting to see him for counselling, advice and guidance. He was a very successful spiritual director. His experience as principal helped him to steer the education apostolate in the Archdiocese, which Cardinal Simon Pimenta left totally to him. He was Cardinal Simon Pimenta’s principal advisor almost throughout his Episcopate.
After retirement he shared with me that he wanted to stay in a parish to do pastoral work and he chose Mulund. When he felt declined he went to Clergy Home, where he was given good medical attention by the Pious Disciples, whom I cannot thank enough for all the care they give to our senior fathers. I enjoyed visiting him in Clergy Home because he had so much to share but recently his memory began to fail him.
While I condole with the family on his passing away, I rejoice that we now have a powerful intercessor in heaven. Do continue to pray for us bishop Ferdie.
+ Oswald Cardinal Gracias
Archbishop of Bombay
October 3, 2015
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