Friday, December 30, 2016

Fr Joseph Louis, "activist for Lahore’s poor", has died Joseph Louis, considered by Lahore Christians as an activist for the poor, died on Tuesday (27 December) at the age of 66 following a heart attack. He had been battling diabetes and a heart condition for years.
Yesterday, some 2,000 people took part in his funeral celebrated by 60 priests at the Sacred Heart Cathedral in Lahore.

"He had a vast pastoral experience of working in villages. The dedicated priest knew the context of grassroots and remained a social activist throughout his life", Mgr Joseph Arshad, archbishop of Faisalabad, told AsiaNews.

Addressing those present, Fr Emmanuel Asi, executive secretary of the Catholic Bible Commission Pakistan, said, "We have lost a genuine priest who spent his life working for human welfare both in private as well as through Church platform.”

In 40 years of priesthood, Fr Louis served twice as the executive secretary of Caritas Lahore.

In 1997 he set up the UMEED Trust (Urban Mobilisation for Education and Environment Development), which provides loans, non-formal child education, adult literacy courses, health and hygiene education as well as vocational skill development courses in the archdiocese’s rural areas.

The clergyman also founded ‘Louis Town’, a housing colony for poor Christians, on the outskirts of Lahore, and a rehabilitation centre for the blind.

Nadeem Yousaf, Disaster Risk Reduction and Emergencies national coordinator for Caritas Lahore, noted that Fr Joseph promoted youth leadership in the social arm of the Catholic Church in Pakistan. "Most of the people he appointed are now on top positions," he added.

He also funded many students who depended entirely on him for their studies. 

However, it is sad,” Yousaf noted, “that the ten adult literacy centres, based in Lahore’s Christian slums, discontinued after he retired from Caritas Lahore, last year.”

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