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Fr Brian Kevin Diamond, great missionary for India passed away

By Fr Frank Freeman, SDB

Melbourne, Australia, 18 September 2018 -- Thus, spoke Fr Brian Kevin Diamond, who passed to his eternal reward on Sunday 1st September at Don Bosco Alaknanda, New Delhi. He was a genuine missionary, who loved his adopted land and its people. He lived with dedication and love consistently throughout his 64 years of missionary life.

Father Brian was born in Melbourne, Australia in 1933. After responding to the call of the Lord, he took his first religious vows as a Salesian in 1954 and then, as a 21-year-old, was sent with a group of 13 from the Australian Province for initial formation at Sonada, India. After visiting some of the missions of Assam and Meghalaya, especially Guwahati and Shillong, witnessing the wonderful technical training being imparted to the poor tribal youth, he decided to volunteer for a missionary life. He wrote “I found myself warmly accepted and even welcomed by the Indian people. Over the years I have imbibed their culture and friendly ways. In short I found myself much at home in their midst.”

So he, with his friend Fr Leo Heriot, requested permission to remain in India. While Fr Leo was involved with the formation of young Salesians as novice master for many years, Fr Brian always had a keen interest in technical education. Such interest had been influenced by Don Bosco, who began his apostolate running trade schools for poor and abandoned youth; technical education. This proved to be Fr Brian’s main missionary apostolate in India: Over the next 30 years, apart from 12 years involvement in the formation of aspirants, he would be actively involved in technical schools and colleges in North India in Kolkata, New Delhi, and Ranchi.

Many past pupils of these technical schools eventually emigrated to Australia and on Fr Brian’s visits would gather in numbers to welcome him with enthusiasm: an experience which he always found affirming and encouraging. “They are extremely grateful for the opportunities which have enabled them to ‘come up in life’. They show deep appreciation for Don Bosco’s all-round human and Christian formation which together with an academic or technical education has enabled them to take a meaningful place in church and society. For this reason, he wrote, “I will always follow Don Bosco to my last breath! He has been responsible for a vast multitude of dedicated disciples not only Salesians but also laypeople who have perpetuated and lived his spirit throughout the world.”

In 2015 he visited Australia to see his ailing sister Beth. During that visit he suffered his second stroke at the community table and was hospitalised. It was suggested to him that he could remain among us but nothing would keep him from his beloved India. After three months of rehabilitation, he returned with some difficulty to his Alaknanda Community, Delhi “to be at home”. And at home he was.

Despite the impairment of his stroke, He remained cheerful, resigned and prayerful and spending as much time as he could with his confreres and sitting with the students in recreation time.

A truly great Salesian and Missionary. He was buried in the Salesian Cemetery, Don Bosco Provincial House, Okhla. May the soil of his beloved country, India, forever rest gently upon him.v

May his soul rest in peace!

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