Former Bishop Valerian D’Souza passed away at 86

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Ruchita Naik

Pune, February 26, 2020: Bishop of the Catholic Diocese of Poona, Rt Rev Valerian D’Souza who worked for 32 years since 1977 passes away on Tuesday night. He was 86 years old.

On February 18th he was admitted in the Sahyadri hospital in Hadapsar due to weakness and unstable blood sugar. While he was hospitalized he suffered through organ failure. He took his last breath during treatment on 25th February around 11:15 pm.

Born on October 3, 1933, D’Souza was an alumnus of St Vincent’s High School and Nowrosjee Wadia College before studying philosophy at Papal Seminary here and theology at the Jesuit run faculty Sankt George, Frankfurt, Germany.

He was ordained as a priest on June 29, 1961. He was ordained Bishop of Poona by Cardinal Valerian Gracias at the St Vincent’s school grounds on September 25, 1977.

D’Souza was replaced as Bishop by the incumbent, Thomas Dabre, in 2009, and held the title of Bishop Emeritus since. He was highly popular among the Catholic community and other faiths too. In his school and university days, he excelled in studies and sports. He captained the college soccer and hockey teams and represented Poona University too. D’Souza was known for his powerful oratory skills, good singing and guitar playing.

During his tenure as Bishop, 13 new parish churches and eight new school buildings were built. He also established social work centres for children, women and the marginalised.

In his tribute, Bishop Dabre said, “even after his retirement, he continued to preach retreats in India and he visited the Diocese of Eichstatt for Pastoral ministry. He was actively involved in pastoral ministry in the Diocese of Poona till his death.

He was known as ‘Singing Bishop’ who communicated God’s Word in song; himself playing the guitar. His sense of humour and joy in the Lord touched the hearts of people.”

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