Father Archilles “ Archie D’Souza” The priest who did not go gentle into the good night. By Mahim Maher

Image

In the early 1950s there was one place in the city where Hindus, Christians and Muslims would bump into each other for one purpose. This place was the D` Souza family wine shop in Saddar where a young Archie D`Souza first experienced the way the people of these three faiths interacted. Small wonder then, that when he was 18 years old, he decided that he wanted to become a priest. And over the years, Father Archie went on to become one of the strongest proponents of interfaith harmony. In fact, not only did he pursue a B.A. in Islamic studies at Jamia Millia, Malir, in 1969 but he also went on to do an M.A. in Islamic Theology from the University of Edinburgh, Scotland, and later a Ph.D. in Islamic Theology at Gregorian University, Rome, in 1976. With his death last week, the Christians, Muslims and Hindus of Karachi and Pakistan have lost a valuable diplomat.
Fr. Archie passed away on March 25 in his room at the age of 64 and at the time of his death he was the parish priest of Our Lady Fatima Church off Randall Road. He was also the former vicar-general of the Archdiocese of Karachi.
According to The Most Reverend Evarist Pinto, who was ordained at the same time as Fr. Archie in 1968 at St. Patrick`s Cathedral and who lived in the same place for a while, the late priest was outgoing, an extrovert and made friends easily. "This was reflected in his presence during sermons; he was a showman," Rev. Pinto told Daily Times on Friday, while referring to Fr Archie`s ability to command a parish`s rapt attention.
The real focus of Fr. Archie`s life began to shape due to a change in the Vatican`s policy in the early 1960s when the Church decided to open its doors to people of other faiths in terms of dialogue, interaction and understanding. It was a policy meant to encourage the people of the world to look beyond their fear.
"As long as I worked by his side I never heard Fr Archie talk to anyone about converting," said Shamran Khan, who was the priest`s secretary for 15 years and his colleague at the interfaith harmony council. "He believed that people should not focus on the differences between their religions and instead on the commonality. For Muslims and Christians, for example, there is one God and Jesus and Hazrat Issa (AS) and Hazrat Marium or Mary.
Fr. Archie was instrumental in organizing inter-faith meetings throughout Pakistan, frequently came on television and spoke at many seminars. In 1999, he invited, for what is believed to be the first time, 200 Muslims, Hindus and Parsis to attend the Christmas midnight mass at St. Patrick`s Cathedral. Maulana Azad from England, Dilpat Sonuwaria, Dr Jaypal Chapria were among the speakers, according to Shamran Khan.
Fr. Archie also ran the Rabita centre for Christian-Muslim dialogue at Malik Manzil in Saddar. He was also a lecturer in Christian philosophy at the Aga Khan Academy from 1976 to 1980, professor of Islamic studies Propoganda Fide College, Rome and the dean of studies at Christ the King Seminary, Karachi, from 1982 to 1992. From 1996 to 2002, he was on the editorial board for weekly The Christian Voice.

You May Also Like

Image

Islamic Jihad Not Hamas the Most Prominent Threat to Israel from Gaza. By Manish Rai

The ceasefire between Israel and the Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) has taken effect in the Gaza Strip after days of cross-border fighting trigger

Image

If US-religions don’t up-date & proselytize developing world (as per religious freedom), world doesn’t have any future at-least through USA. By Hem Raj Jain

As the age-old wisdom goes, the most difficult thing in the world is to take money from someone because generally people give money after deliberat

Image

USA can count on Tibetans (through India) to put China at its 'proper place'. By Hem Raj Jain

Lip service to democracy by the USA / Pelosi would fool no one (ii)- Strategic retreat over Taiwan legitimate only if USA launches new global organ

"Trial of Pakistani Christian Nation" By Nazir S Bhatti

On demand of our readers, I have decided to release E-Book version of "Trial of Pakistani Christian Nation" on website of PCP which can also be viewed on website of Pakistan Christian Congress www.pakistanchristiancongress.org . You can read chapter wise by clicking tab on left handside of PDF format of E-Book.

nazirbhattipcc@aol.com , pakistanchristianpost@yahoo.com