Quetta, Pakistan, 17 December 2020 -- Don Bosco Quetta mourns the first bishop of the Quetta Apostolic Vicariate, who passed away on the morning of 12 December 2020. Sri Lankan (Jaffna-Tamil origin) missionary, OMI religious, Bishop Victor Gnanapragasam (1934-2020) was ordained priest in 1966 and since 1973 started his zealous, humble and committed missionary life in many different missions of Pakistan. In 2001 he was appointed as the Apostolic Prefect of Quetta and since 2010 as the first Bishop heading the Apostolic Vicariate. Under his humble, hardworking leadership 19 new Churches have been opened, some diocesan priests ordained and a good framework of different commissions in the large Vicariate (territory of Baluchistan region) has been built up.
Bishop Victor Gnanapragasam, OMI, was a good friend of the late Fr Peter Zago, one of the pioneering Salesians in Pakistan. Both worked in close coordination for the establishment of the Don Bosco Mission in Quetta since the early days. The Salesian community of Quetta has lost a kind fatherly figure who was always available for them (NB - distance between the Bishops House and Don Bosco). His death was unexpected and a shock as the Salesians were planning the celebration with him of the death anniversary of Fr. Peter Zago, just four days before his own sudden death.
Bishop Victor has blessed all the endeavors of the Salesians in Quetta since the time he took office as Prefect Apostolic in 2001. He shared the missionary zeal of the Salesians working for the young and a great devotion to Our Blessed Mother.
He was laid to rest in the Holy Rosary Cathedral of Quetta on 15 December 2020 (freezing temperatures in Quetta) by Cardinal Joseph Coutts (Karachi Archbishop) who presided at the funeral rites. The Don Bosco Community joined the bishops from all over the Pakistan, some clergy and the Catholic faithful who flocked together to bid farewell to their loving Bishop Victor.
Fr. Sami (Samuel Adnan Ghouri) the rector of Don Bosco Quetta, said, “It is difficult to for any one to fit in the shoes of Bishop Victor, since he was so down to earth and meek that he was always ready to visit you day in or day out in spite of his deteriorating health.”
We gratefully remember and pray for Bishop Victor for his tireless services for the development of a very young Apostolic Vicariate for the past 19 years. His fatherly accompaniment of the Don Bosco Mission in Quetta founded in 1999 will be always remembered with deep gratitude.
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