Rawalpindi (Agenzia Fides) - "An authentic Pastor has died, a person with a big heart. Mgr. Rufin Anthony was a priest and Bishop loved by the people because he was a simple, open, humble person. He totally dedicated himself to the education of children and young people, especially in rural areas": this is how Fr. Emmanuel Yousaf, Director of the Bishops' Commission for Justice and Peace", recalls, in an interview with Agenzia Fides, the figure of Bishop Rufin Anthony, Pastor of the Diocese of Islamabad-Rawalpindi, who died yesterday, 17 October, at the age of 76.
Archbishop Anthony was very ill: "I met him two days ago - says Fr. Emmanuel to Fides. He remembered with joy the times when, before becoming Bishop, he lived in the villages of rural areas, dedicating himself to the development of poor people".
The Director continues: "As Bishop, his door was always open for anyone who wanted to meet him, many non-Christians. His approach in carrying out his service in the diocese was all addressed to pastoral care, the sacraments, to helping the poor, to the charism of unity. A special focus was dedicated to the education of children and young people, helping them a lot and promoting school pastoral and educational work", he recalls. "His legacy is that of a Pastor always close to his people, who gave his life for the community and built communion and unity in the Church", said Fr. Yousaf. The funeral will be held tomorrow, October 19 in Rawalpindi Cathedral. Pakistani Bishops and many priests, religious and faithful from around the country will be present.
Rufin Anthony was born on February 12, 1940 in the Catholic village of Khushpur, in the diocese of Faisalabad. He was ordained a priest in 1969, he taught in Quetta and then in Karachi as a lecturer at the Seminary. He held the position of National Director of the Pontifical Mission Societies and was Vicar general of the diocese of Faisalabad. Appointed Coadjutor Bishop for the Diocese of Islamabad-Rawalpindi by Pope Benedict XVI in 2009. He served as General Secretary of the Conference and President of the Episcopal Commission for Youth. (PA) (Agenzia Fides 18/10/2016)