A moving farewell to man of peace and honour

Wenceslaus Anthony was a rare gift of God and a permanent tribute to him is due for announcement shortly.

Venkat Raman

More than 700 men and women attended a Holy Mass and Condolence Meeting in memory of Wenceslaus Anthony held at Christ the King Catholic Church in Mt Roskill on Wednesday, August 23, 2017.

It was exactly a month (July 23, 2017) after he passed away after losing a brief battle for his life at Apollo Hospital in Chennai, India. He was due to return to New Zealand three days later after a two-month tour which took him to various cities in India, Sri Lanka, Jerusalem (the Holy Land) and Egypt.

Unique attributes

During his life as a businessman, community worker, and a servant of the Catholic Church, Mr Anthony touched the hearts of thousands of men, women and children and eventually resided in them. He was known for his friendly and helpful disposition and people reached out to him for comfort, solace and peace of mind. Each of them received these and were grateful to him for his selfless involvement with them.

These qualities were highlighted at the Holy Mass and Condolence Meeting. It was a deeply emotional engagement as Readings from the Holy Bible, songs rendered by Jeffery Nathan and his Church Choir and speeches by people were heard.

Mr Anthony left behind his wife Susan, daughter Sneha and son Akash who, like us in the Indian Newslink family are trying hard to come to terms with the cruelty of reality.

Susan, whose loss, after 34 years of married life, was the greatest, was in silent prayer throughout the evening, while Sneha, who was sobbing incessantly, managed to deliver her speech and render a song in memory of her father, who always addressed her as, ‘My Doll.’

Akash was more composed, and his speech, punctuated with sentiments and subtle humour, was endearing.

Papal Honour, an opportunity

Among the most satisfying things that people do is to ensure that honour and citation are bestowed upon people who deserve by people who are in respectable positions on the world stage. Queen Elizabeth honoured Mr Anthony in 2015 by admitting him to the Membership of the New Zealand Order of Merit (MNZM) and Pope Francis this year by approving the nomination of Mr Anthony to receive the ‘Pro Ecclesia Et Pontifice,’ the highest civilian medal awarded by the Roman Catholic Church in recognition of his services to the Church.

Personal gratification

Nominating Mr Anthony for the Papal Honour lifted my spirits.

On June 16, 2016, I wrote to Bishop Patrick Dunn, justifying my proposal for a ‘Papal Award’ to Mr Anthony.

After several paragraphs that substantiated my reasoning, I said, “The services of Mr Anthony to the Roman Catholic Church and the young Catholics have been a source of inspiration to all of us, including those of other faiths. He considers himself a ‘Servant of Servants,’ in the true Christian spirit. He is the Chairperson of the Divine Retreat Centre Movement in New Zealand and Advisor to the Vailankanni Committee to celebrate the feast of the Birthday of Mother Mary (on September 8) and Director of Conquest Club, which aims to shape the character and personality of young boys in the 8-14 age group.”

Eight months later Bishop Dunn called to share the good news that Pope Francis had agreed to honour Mr Anthony but none of us knew that the Felicitation Ceremony that we had organised on May 21 at St Mary’s Church in Avondale would be his last public appearance.

No one would be able to fill the void of Mr Anthony’s absence in some of our lives. We will certainly meet him some day, but until then, it would be memories and tears.


Photo Caption:

  1. Auckland Bishop Patrick Dunn (Centre) leading the Holy Mass
  2. Sneha, Susan and Akash at the Service

(Pictures by Creative Eye Fotographics)

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