Farewell Msgr Willie Nazareth...
The passing away of Monsignor Willie Nazareth is a very sad moment for all of us. It is a tremendous loss for all associated with him: the Archdiocese of Bombay, our Presbyterium, our parishioners, his friends and the very many he assisted: canonically which was his field of specialization; spiritually with his guidance and advice; and materially which was the expression of his great love for the poor.
Msgr. Willie was one of the most outstanding canonists of our country. He single-handedly set up the Matrimonial Tribunal of the Archdiocese; which went on to become a model and one of the best anywhere. He was the Canonical Advisor to Cardinal Valerian Gracias, Cardinal Simon Pimenta, Cardinal Ivan Dias and latterly myself. To all of the above he was the first one we turned to for advice in administration of the Archdiocese. He served as Chancellor, Judicial Vicar and Vicar General of the Archdiocese and was often the Acting Head of the Archdiocese when the Bishops were out. He was a much-loved pastor with a big heart for his people. Particularly as Parish Priest, he went around systematically visiting the people: educated and unlettered, healthy and sick. To all he was a Father figure, one they could turn to with love, trust and confidence.
Msgr. Willie understood Jesus’ teaching to love the poor and his generosity to all those in need was proverbial. There was always a stream of needy people waiting to meet him. None went away empty-handed.
I could say so much more about Msgr. Willie. Words are not adequate to pay tribute to this holy, dedicated priest. We can only pray for him and pray that our lives are touched by his.
I very much regret that I cannot be present for the Funeral Mass as I am attending the Synod of Bishops in Rome. I offered mass for him as soon as I heard of his passing away. I continue to pray for him. I am sure he will intercede for all of us. I convey my sincerest and heartfelt condolences to his dear people. I expect to do so in person soon.
Oswald Cardinal Gracias
Archbishop of Bombay
October 12, 2019