Archbishop Emeritus Henry Sebastian D’Souza who served the Archdiocese of Calcutta from 1986-2002 passed away peacefully at 14:00 hours on Monday 27 June 2016 at Vianney Home, 9/3 Middleton Row, Kolkata – 71 where he was spending his retirement life. He was 90 years old and died of cardiac arrest.
Archbishop Henry was born on January 20, 1926, in Calcutta and was ordained a priest on August 24, 1948 after completing his Philosophical and Theological studies at Papal Seminary, Kandy, Sri Lanka. He was ordained as the first Archbishop of Cuttack-Bhubaneswar on May 5, 1974. Because of his intellectual acumen, Archbishop Henry was elected as the Secretary General of the Federation of the Asian Bishops’ Conference (FABC) for 9 consecutive years. In 1985, he was transferred to Calcutta as the Coadjutor Archbishop. He succeeded Cardinal Lawrence Trevor Picachy SJ as the 7th Archbishop of Calcutta on April 5, 1986. He has served the Catholic Church in India as President of the Conference of the Catholic Bishops of India (CCBI), Secretary General of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of India (CBCI) and Chairman of CARITAS INDIA.
Throughout his life as a priest or Archbishop, he was known for his commitment, joy and love for the people. He always had a pastor’s heart and had great concern for those afflicted by poverty, for the victims of injustice and orphans. He revolutionized educational scenario in the Archdiocese of Calcutta through proper policies and by ensuring that the poor received education. Archbishop Henry was a voracious reader, prolific writer and eloquent orator, yet always remained a humble man of God. At the same time, he loved to be with people and lived an active life even after his retirement working very specially for the aged and the elderly. His close association with Blessed Mother Teresa increased in him love for the poor of all categories.
He will be much missed, not only by the Catholics of the Archdiocese of Calcutta, but by many people of different faiths and denominations who knew him