Intolerance to injustice made him fearless

Father N Casimir Raj SJ

In March 2017, I was delighted to hear that Wenceslaus Antony was honoured by Pope Francis with the ‘Pro Ecclecia and Pontifice’ Award.

It is a rare award to a lay person, but Antony deserved it fully.

I was happy to join his brother and sisters and their families in rejoicing on this honour. His parents joined the heavenly choir and sing ‘Maginificat.’

Leadership traits

From childhood, he has exhibited traits of leadership. The All India Catholic University Federation honed those traits. Whenever and wherever there is injustice, he will fight it. He is a faithful and loving person but never tolerated injustice.

Soon after his studies at the Loyola Institute of Business Administration (LIBA), he was made Deputy Director, because I noticed his leadership qualities from the beginning. He did a marvellous job. He built up LIBA and LIBA gratefully congratulates him.

My contact with him started at LIBA but our relationship continued to grow day by day. Distance, time or age did not matter. We loved each other. He was a brother to me and my family and I am one of their family. I was happy that I participated in almost all the family events- both happy and not happy.

Man of the people

I admired him as a Manager in India. When he migrated to New Zealand and became an entrepreneur, I was worried but prayed for him. I thank God that he has become a successful business person with the excellent support given by his wife Susan.

His zest, the genuine way he moves with people, and genuine interest he has for the people, readiness to help and above all positive outlook and love for others have helped him to come to this level.

From the day he became the citizen of New Zealand, he loved his country and asked like Kennedy, “What can I do to my country?” and did a lot.

He built up relationship with India, was in many trade delegations of the Prime Minister and New Zealand recognised him with a high award a few years ago.

Serving the Church

His involvement in the Church activities and many initiatives are noteworthy. He brought the Charismatic Leader Father Augustine Vallooran to New Zealand. He organised the feast of Our Lady of Vailankanni and St. Mother Teresa lecture. He was a devout person and used to make many pilgrimages.

He was a loving husband to Susan. In the initial days, both struggled a lot, but both came out of it successfully and they were an admirable couple. Susan understood him and supported him fully. He was a loving father of Sneha and Akash.

When he received the Papal Award, I congratulated him and sang with him, Susan, Sneha, Akash, his sisters, his brother and parents ‘Te deum,’ the traditional Catholic hymn of thanksgiving.

I vividly remember someone saying in the 1990s, “Wency would go abroad, become rich and famous. His service will be recognised by many with great awards.” Those words came true.

His death on July 23, 2017 at Apollo Hospital, Chennai took away a loving man from us. Like his family and friends, I will cherish the memories of association with Antony forever.

Father Casimir Raj SJ is Founder and until recently Director of Loyola Institute of Business Administration Loyola College, Chennai, India. The above article, written for Indian Newslink (March 15, 2017 issue)  has been modified to suit this Tribute.

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