ISLAMABAD, Feb 19: The twin cities lost not only a champion of the faith but a compassionate human being and a friend when Bishop Emeritus Anthony Lobo died on February 18, 2013.
The 76 years old Bishop had been on life support gadgets since the last three years. On February 18, 2010, Bishop Anthony Lobo resigned from his seat as Bishop Rawalpindi and Islamabad because his lungs had collapsed and Bishop Anthony Rufin took over the administrative charge of affairs. Although Bishop Lobo remained the spiritual leader till the day of his death.
For many he was a visionary man and to friends he was the good shepherd and everyone was filled with sadness at the death of the man who loved the people.
Michelle Chaudhry, daughter of late Group Captain Cecil Chaudhry, remembered Bishop Lobo as being there for her in testing times.
“He could not go around without an oxygen cylinder because of his weak lungs. Yet he drove all the way to Lahore when my mother passed away last year. He could not come up the steps, so he would sit outside the church until the ceremony was over,” said Michelle Chaudhry, adding how Bishop Anthony Lobo supported her father Cecil Chaudhry when he was ill.
“This says a lot of a man who loved other fellow human beings,” said Michelle who described the Bishop’s death as a loss of a family member.
Father Bonnie Mendes who went to the same school with Bishop Lobo back in 1954, also remembered Bishop Lobo as a strong figure who would go out of his way to help his students.
“I remember the efforts he used to make and the pain he would undertake to get scholarship programmes for his students, whether they were Christians, Muslims or Hindus,” said Bonnie Mendes who was a Father in a church in Toba Tek Singh, adding, “He was a firm man and when he wanted something, he simply made it happen.”
Anthony Lobo, a Roman Catholic Bishop, was appointed Auxiliary Bishop of Karachi by Pope John Paul II on June 8, 1982. On May 28, 1993, he became the Bishop of Islamabad and Rawalpindi.
Born on July 4, 1937, in Karachi, to parents of Goan origin, Bishop Lobo received his early education at Saint Patrick's High School and his religious training at the Christ the King seminary in Karachi.
He was ordained as priest in Karachi on January 8, 1961. He also had degrees from the University of Karachi, Harvard and Paris.
Like most of his friends, Brig Simon Sharaf, Rector St Mary’s College, Lalazar, Rawalpindi, remembered him as a passionate promoter of education, especially for the people of his community.
“He believed that education was the only way for the uplift of the Christian community,” said Simon Sharaf who particularly admired Bishop Lobo for taking right decisions at the right time.
The Rector, who had been with Bishop Anthony Lobo since 1995, said that his death only strengthened the resolve to make a difference in the field of education, just the way he (Lobo) had struggled for it.
Bishop Lobo made important contributions to education in the country. He was Principal of St Lawrence's Boys School, Karachi, and later of Saint Patrick's High School, Karachi.
In November 1986 he founded St Michael's Convent School. He was the author of many books on education.
In recognition of his services to the cause of literature and education, the President of Pakistan conferred on him the President’s Pride of Performance Award in 1990.
He was also on the Board of Governors at the Foreman Christians College Lahore and the Kinnaird College.
Missing his old friend was Father Jacob Dogra, who was the Vicar General (principle deputy for administrative operations) of the late Bishop.
“Preaching came to him naturally. It was like a gift for his people,” said Jacob Dogra who is also Director Pastors Centre Lalazar in Rawalpindi, a centre that was established by Bishop Anthony Lobo.
Father Jacob Dogra said that he could think of nothing else but to follow in the late Bishop’s footsteps to promote education throughout the country and work for the uplift of the Christian community.