“I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith” 2 Timothy 4:7
On 10th September 2017 Bishop Patrick Nair drove his car and went to St. Francis Monastery, Barlowganj, Mussoorie to make his annual retreat with the priests of the Meerut Diocese. On 11th September the first day of the retreat he had a multiple brain hemorrhage and was rushed to the nearby Max Super Specialty Hospital in Dehradun. He was unconscious and was supported with the ventilator. On 13th September night his condition became very critical and the doctors almost gave up. At midnight I anointed him and then in the morning he became somewhat stable. On 17th September he was shifted to Shri Mahant Indires Medical College Hospital, Dehradun for better medication under the care of Dr. Pankaj Arora one of the best neurologist in Uttarakhand. On 7th October the Feast of Our Lady of the Rosary, our Blessed Mother knowing that Bishop Patrick had great devotion to the Rosary and propagated the devotion by distributing rosaries to all whom he visited, took him with her at 7.59 p.m. to Jesus her son for whom he was a priest and Bishop, accompanied by them to meet the Heavenly Father.
Bishop Patrick Nair was born on 15th August 1932 and had his schooling in the prestigious schools of Delhi, Mussoorie – Presentation, St. Columbus and St. George’s College. In his school days he had been a bright and intelligent student, excelling not only in academics but in every other activity that was held in school or otherwise, be it be debates, declamation, dramatics, singing or games. He won the All India Singing contest held in Delhi twice. He sang in the foreign service of All India Radio in the late 40’s. His sculpture was selected for U.P. state exhibit. Since young days he had been a person of deep faith, naturally inclined to God and Religion, a calling he was divinely inspired by. Then he joined the seminary to pursue his priestly studies. He completed his Philosophy in St. Joseph’s Seminary, Mangalore and Theology in Papal Seminary, Pune and was ordained Priest on October 3, 1959. He also had the degree of M.A.
As a priest he was appointed as Rector of St. John’s Minor Seminary at Sardhana, Administrator of the Shrine of Our Lady of Graces and later Vicar General of the Diocese of Meerut. From Sardhana he was transferred to Sacred Heart Church, Tajpur as Parish Priest. While he was parish priest of Tajpur he was appointed Bishop of Meerut to succeed Most Rev. Archbishop Joseph Bartholomew Evangelisti and was consecrated on October 2, 1974 as the Second Bishop of the Diocese of Meerut. As a Bishop he worked tirelessly for the development of the diocese especially in villages with emphasis on Hindi Medium Schools. There were 45 such schools in the diocese when he retired. He invited religious both men and women to assist in the work of the diocese. There were 94 religious houses when he retired. The Catholic population doubled and after rendering 35 years of dedicated service as bishop his resignation was accepted in 2009. Then he chose to stay in Dehradun Parish and assisted the Parish in all capacities till his last breath.
As a bishop he had served the National Church as a member of the commission for clergy and religious. Regional level when the Agra Regional Priests Council was instituted. He became the Chairman of it. Presently he held the post as President of the Ex-Students Association called the Ex-Manorites. He was also an affiliated member of the Patrician Brothers. He was a perfect liturgist. He guided and directed FSLG Congregation after the death of its founder Archbishop J.B. Evangelisti. He assisted in framing the Ad Experimentum Constitution of the FSLG’s. He also took keen interest in obtaining the Pontifical status for them in 2003.
He began the diocesan bulletin in English “Our Lady of Graces” and continued to write and edit for many years which has become the diocesan magazine today. He was a great admirer and beloved son of St. Teresa of Calcutta because of which Mother Teresa opened six M.C. Communities in the diocese. In 1971 while playing basketball with the minor seminarians one of the seminarians’ finger nail plunged into his right eye and his sight was irreparably lost forever. For the rest of his life he very well managed with one eye. Later when the left eye began to give him trouble he was miraculously cured by touching the cotton swab of the blood of St. Teresa of Calcutta. He was a member of the Focolare movement, a movement he liked so much and lived its spirituality. He was a very adventurous person. Walking, cycling, driving and photography were some of his many hobbies.
He was a Retreat Preacher. He has written so many articles on various topics to several magazines. He cherished a special love for the orphans, poor and the MC Children and Tajpur Children. He had a very good memory for names and facts. He always trusted in Divine Providence. As a person he was simple in life, very approachable, unassuming in conduct, totally dedicated to his work. He was certainly the most revered member of the community, much loved by Priests, Religious and Laity for his genuine goodness and generosity. He lived his life in conformity with the word and will of God, living every Christian virtue like austerity simplicity, charity, poverty and humility in his day to day life, preaching it more through self example than through the pulpit.
For the Diocese of Meerut it is an irreplaceable loss but we console each other with the firm belief that he is in heaven and is interceding for us. May he rest in peace!
This Eulogy has been prepared by Bishop Francis Kalist, Bishop of Meerut