Former president of India, APJ Abdul Kalam, who passed away on 27th July had endeared himself to the whole nation beyond cultural and religious barriers. His demise was mourned all over India, with both prominent personalities and commoners expressing their sorrow on media and social media. Leaders of Catholic Church in India also expressed their profound sorrow in the sad demise of one of the most inspiring citizens of India.
Paying tribute to Dr. Kalam, Bishop Henry D’Souza of Bellary said, “All the Catholic youth and the entire Catholic community is in solidarity with the nation in mourning the death of a great son of India who was a statesman, a scientist, a visionary and a great motivator,”. “Dr. Kalam had a great appeal to children and youth – he aimed to ‘ignite young minds’. He fired their imagination.” Bishop D’Souza added.
In fact, Dr. Kalam, who studied in Catholic College, had said that he is indebted to his alma mater, St. Joseph’s College, Tiruchirappalli. He was also influenced by Father T. N. Sequeira, during his academic period.
Major Archbishop Cardinal George Alencherry said that APJ Abdul Kalam was a great man who imparted the Indian society with great vision rich with righteousness. He added that Kalam was indiscriminate in his attitude and loved all equally.
Bishop Thomas Dabre of Pune also mourned the demise of India’s former president. He recalled his encounter with Kalam while at Delhi and Surat, where he could a glimpse of the great social consciousness of the scientist-president.
“Abdul Kalam will be remembered forever as a great scientist, the missile man of India, the 11th president, and so on … but as I see him, he will forever be an icon for the youth of India, a trend setter, as well as a model for every Indian – his demise is a great loss to the country.” Bishop George of Miao said.