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Hyderabad Catholics Bid Tearful Farewell to Archbishop; Funeral At Vijayawada Today

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HYDERABAD, 29 AUG: Over 3,000 Catholics bid a tearful farewell to their beloved Archbishop here Sunday Aug. 29 at St. Mary’s School grounds, Hyderabad.


The memorial Holy Mass was presided over the Guntur Bishop Gali Bali with Bishop of Vijayawada Prakash Mallavarpu, Bishop of Nellore MD Prakasam, Bishop of Kurnool Anthony Poola, Bishop of Gulbarga Robert Miranda and Bishop of Bellary Henry D’Souza concelebrating with him along with about a hundred priests.


The Holy Mass was preceded by a procession from St. Mary’s Basilica to the venue.


At the end of the memorial Mass, Fr. Bernard read out the last will of Archbishop Joji.


Hyderabad Archbishop M. Joji, in his last will, stated that he wished to be buried beside his guru Bishop Thumma.


“I wish to lay close to him even in death. In the event of my death, bury me next to the tomb of Bishop Joseph Thumma at St. Joseph’s cemetery in Gunadala. He ordained me as priest, consecrated me as Bishop and handed over his staff to me as his successor in Vijayawada.”


Archbishop Joji wrote the last will and testament on October 7, 2000, a few months after he was appointed Archbishop of Hyderabad.


“I brought nothing into this world and I go out of it taking nothing with me. All material goods, money, books, Episcopal insignia and everything else which had been at my disposal for use during my lifetime and which may stand in my name after death, I leave to the diocese and my successor. Neither relatives nor friends have any claims to any of these things,” Archbishop Joji’s will stated.


Special prayers were conducted continuously from Friday night and hundreds of priests and nuns from all over the state came to St Mary’s Church to have a last glimpse of their beloved Shepherd.


The Chief Minister of Andhra Pradesh, Mr K. Rosaiah, laid a wreath on the coffin of Archbishop Joji and wrote “My deepest condolences,” in the message book.


The former chief minister, Mr N. Chandrababu Naidu, said, “He used to show special affection to me. For every Christmas I used to invite him. He was always concerned about the problems of the poor.”


The mortal remains of Archbishop Joji were later taken to Kammam enroute to Vijayawada. His funeral will be held at 3 pm on Monday at St. Joseph’s cemetery.



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