Fr. D'Arcy De Souza celebrates 90th birthday at Karachi. By Robin Fernandez. PCP Report.


KARACHI: June 6. Top church officials assembled Wednesday at a local seminary to celebrate the 90th birthday of the oldest diocesan priest in the archdiocese.

Fr. D'Arcy De Souza was born on June 4, 1913, a year before the First World War began. In the same year the Archdiocese of Karachi got its first locally ordained priest, John Fernandez, who later became a monsignor.

Fr D'arcy's birthday celebrations opened with a special mass at the Christ the King seminary. The Archbishop of Karachi Simeon Pereira, his deputy Bishop Evarist Pinto and four other senior priests, including Fr D'Arcy, concelebrated the mass. In his homily message, Bishop Evarist Pinto alluded to Fr D'Arcy's idea that the laity ought to play a greater role in the church. According to the bishop, the Vatican Council II advocated just such a role much later.

Declaring individualism as a great threat to the Christian community in Pakistan and elsewhere, Bishop Evarist said laypersons must come out of their stupor and take their rightful place in the church and the community. "It's important to not be caught in the trap of individualism, which makes us forget others. Because whatever we achieve as individuals may be great sometimes but remember there is nothing permanent about such feats," the bishop said. "Your strength is in the community and sharing your time with others." Another priest present said this was essentially what Fr D'arcy had strove for much of his priestly life. Fr. D'Arcy, who is by training an engineer, has been a priest for more than 55 years.

A large number of people attended Wednesday's service, which was followed by a short musical programme, a long public tribute session and dinner.

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