Thousands of his ‘believers' pay last respects to the departed soul

Thousands bade tearful adieu to Archbishop of Hyderabad Marampudi Joji here on Monday.

The 68-year-old Archbishop died of a massive heart attack at the Bishop's House in Secunderabad on Friday afternoon.

The mortal remains of the departed soul were laid to rest at the Catholic cemetery adjacent to the Mary Matha Shrine at Gunadala, as per his will.

The sprawling premises of Bishop Grassi High School in Gunadala teemed with vast crowds of Christians and non-Christians, who gathered there to pay their last respects to the Most Rev. Bishop.

People spilling all over the open area outside the shrine sat in gloom, recalling the passion and commitment with which the “Lord's servant” served the poor and the needy.

The body of the Archbishop was brought to St. Paul's Cathedral on Sunday midnight and was kept there till Monday afternoon to enable people to pay their last respects to the departed soul.

Hundreds of ‘believers' walked in a procession showering petals on the mortal remains of Archbishop Joji placed in a vehicle bedecked with flowers. Speaking at a special mass in Mary Matha Shrine, the Bishop of Vijayawada, Mallavarapu Prakash, said that a true Christian must not forget that death was a ‘doorway' to the second life. “The Archbishop was prepared for his exit since a long time. Doubts lingered his mind ever since he had a heart surgery in 2002. He left a note for his successor,” he said reading aloud the contents. “I am undergoing a heart surgery. I don't know if I will be alive after this. I am leaving behind a few articles.”

‘Life continues'

Bishop Prakash said the late Archbishop had left a gold chain, a ring and a stick. “The journey has stopped…but life continues,” he said.

Besides K. Mariadas, Abraham and Chinnappa, archbishops of Visakhapatnam, Nagpur and Chennai, respectively, 12 bishops and hundreds of pastors and nuns attended the memorial service. MLAs -- Malladi Vishnu, Devineni Umamaheswara Rao, Yelamanchili Ravi and T. Prabhakar Rao -- former MP Gadde Ramamohan, Commissioner of Police P.S.R. Anjaneyulu, Municipal Commissioner G. Ravi Babu and others paid their last respects to the departed soul.

Keywords: Marampudi Joji

More In: Vijayawada